How Subletting Works in NYC

You may choose to sublet an apartment from a tenant who temporarily leaves the city plans to return to the same apartment after a period of time. Instead of moving out of the apartment, this person may choose to sublet it to another person. This means that someone else (a ‘subtenant’) can live in this apartment and use the furniture and kitchenware until the original tenant returns. You can also sublet an unfurnished apartment.

Subletting is very common in New York City, but you should be cautious if you decide to sublet. A subtenant’s rights are not as clear as those of a primary tenant. You should be sure that you are dealing with a reliable person and that you, too, are reliable. A reliable tenant follows legal procedures when subletting an apartment to you.

To sublet an apartment to you, the tenant must first obtain permission from the landlord. In general, a landlord is obligated to give permission unless he can prove that you would be a ‘bad’ subtenant. For example, the landlord may require information about you and your ability to pay the rent. Generally, you will pay the rent to the tenant, who will then forward the rent to the landlord.

Another item a landlord may request from the tenant is a copy of the sublease. The sublease is a written contract that states: 1. the condition of the apartment and its furnishings, 2. the duration of the sublet, and 3. your responsibilities as a subtenant. Be sure to keep a copy of the sublease for your records. The primary tenant should remove all valuable items from the apartment before you move in. If it is a short-term sublet, the tenant should make specific arrangements with you about mail delivery and telephone messages. The conditions of the tenant’s lease cannot be changed while he is away without his consent.

If you are subletting a furnished apartment, the primary tenant is allowed to charge you more than 10% above the legal rent (this can be verified by looking at the primary lease). You will probably have to pay a security deposit of 50% to 100% of one month’s rent. This amount may vary depending on the duration of the sublet and the furnishings provided, as well as the condition of the apartment. The money should be deposited into a savings account at the bank and returned to you when you vacate the apartment IF the tenant’s home and furnishings have been left in good condition.

Skyline with apartment skyscrapers over lake in Central Park in
Information on how to use Airbnb and Craigslist

How to Navigate Airbnb

  • Start with a specific, narrow search
    • Go to
      • Search for listings in New York, NY
      • Select date of stay and number of guests
    • Click ‘Search’ to view available listings
    • Select room type (‘Entire home/apt’ or ‘Private room’ recommended)
    • Use sliders to select price range
    • Click ‘More Filters’
      • Select the number of beds required (otherwise, you may be sleeping on a couch for your stay)
      • Select the ‘Superhost’ option for verified hosts
  • Look for verified listings
    • Verified listings can be photos or hosts determined legitimate by AirBnb
    • Consider ratings and read reviews posted from past tenants
  • Message the host before booking
    • Introduce yourself and explain your reason for travel to NYC
    • Their response will give you a sense of who they are and how they will be as a host during your stay
  • Consider properties with more house rules, not less
    • Properties with more rules tend to be higher quality and more comfortable
    • These listings may be slightly more expensive, but you may have a more enjoyable stay
  • Check for reduced extended stay rates, which may not be apparent from the initial listing
    • Be sure to click on listings that interest you, as the price may drop when you look at the listing in more detail
    • Consider messaging the host to discuss the price and see if there are any discounts available
  • Read ALL the details on a listing before booking it!!!
    • Make sure that everything you need for a comfortable stay is included
    • Do NOT assume that things not explicitly listed in amenities will be available to you, no matter how basic the amenity
    • If you have ANY questions or concerns, email your host and clear them up BEFORE booking
  • Listen to your gut and avoid listings if they
    • Do not have pictures and/or reviews
    • Are significantly underpriced
    • Are new listings – this is not the time to take a chance

How to Navigate Craigslist

  • Start with a specific narrow search
    • Go to
    • Check off the option to display posts with images by clicking ‘has image’
    • Enter in price range with minimum and maximum – including a minimum range will help sort out fraudulent posts
    • Select the number of desired bedrooms
    • Consider further limiting the number of posts by localizing the search to just Manhattan, Queens, or Brooklyn
      • Find the drop down lists at the top of the page where it says ‘CL new york > all new york > housing > sublets & temporary’
      • Select ‘all new york’ and choose a more specific location in the drop down menu
    • Consider viewing the listings on a map rather than in a list to more easily determine the apartment’s location and proximity to SUNY and public transit
      • Under the ‘search sublets & temporary housing’ box, find the gray box that says ‘thumb’ and click it
      • Select ‘map’
  • The golden rule for Craigslist: ‘If it’s too good to be true, it probably is’. Apartments or subleases that are extremely cheap or offer luxurious amenities for an average price are almost alwaysfraudulent
  • MESSAGE YOUR SUBLETTER EXTENSIVELY! Confirm that the sublease has been approved by the landlord, and confirm that the landlord is actually the landlord
  • Use Google search to research everything and everyone you work with when looking at an apartment – this includes and is not limited to the real estate agent and or/broker, the landlord and/or management company, the property itself, and the listing itself
  • BE EXTREMELY CAUTIOUS if renting an apartment without seeing it first – see if the current tenant will Facetime or Skype you to give you a tour if you cannot see the property in person first OR see if a friend can view the apartment for you
  • NEVER pay with cash
  • NEVER wire funds through any wire service including Western Union or MoneyGram
  • Nothing on Craigslist offers ‘buyer protection’ or ‘seller certification’ so posts including these phrases are to be avoided
  • NEVER give out your financial information
  • TRUST YOUR GUT – do not follow through with a sublease unless you are 100% confident in its validity

(Sources: ‘How to Avoid Being a Victim of a Rental Scam in NYC’ from March 30th, 2015 and The Denver Post: ‘Simple Craigslist Precautions Ensure a Fun – and Safe – Website Exchange’ Lifestyle from May 11th, 2012)

Temporary Housing Resources

Summer prices start at $3450 for about 10 weeks – prices vary by location and the number of bedrooms. Tenants must be students currently taking classes or taking classes the following semester and currently enrolled in an experiential program. International students accepted. Offers housing by semester (fall, spring, summer). Housing for shorter periods or one month may be available as well as group reservations with special inquiry.

NYU Summer Housing
Max rent ~$1600 for 4 weeks. Group options available (10 to 75 people, 18 years and older, 3 week minimum stay). First come, first serve basis for non­NYU, non­affiliated applicants. Some housing requires purchase of meal plan. Applications for summer housing close by mid-May – apply early.

Chelsmore Apartments
$3950 for small 2-bedroom; $3200 for studio. Flat rate of $250/month for utilities (gas, electric, heat, hot water, cable, internet, and telephone line). Furnished bedrooms for minimum one month stay.

AFI Property Management
$3100 for 1 bedroom studio,$3500 for 1 bedroom suite, $4350 for two bedroom suite (average prices; vary by season). All apartments located in UES around 77th St and 2nd Ave. Furnished bedrooms for minimum 30 day stay.

$1450 per person for small double room, $2000 for large single room. $250 application fee. Dormitory style student and internship residence. Private or semi­private furnished rooms with common kitchen and bathroom. List of amenities can be found by clicking the link above. Located in Yorkville within a close walk to the subway.

International House
$976 to $1561 for dormitory style options, $1788 to $2447 for apartment style options. Dining services charge of $145/month. Offers housing for graduate students and people coming to New York to study in other programs. Short-term stay (under 20 days) and long-term stay (few months) available.

Prices vary. Offers a wide range of options. Use with caution and refer to ‘How to Cautiously Navigate Sites Like Airbnb and Craigslist’ for helpful tips.

Prices vary. Offers a wide range of options. Use with extreme caution and refer to ‘How to Cautiously Navigate Sites Like Airbnb and Craigslist’ for helpful tips.

Literarti Housing NYC
Affordable co-living option. $900-$1450 monthly rent, per furnished single room with utilities throughout NYC. Flexible lease terms, 1 month minimum. Roommate housing with easy subway access and opportunity to live with other medical students. Please mention or sunyopt to get preferential placement/rates.

Prices vary but they allow you to specify the desired period and length of stay in a flexible date search. You can also filter by desired amenities, accommodation types or properties you can book immediately. Use with caution and make sure to examine all details carefully before booking. This site is similar to AirBnb.