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JonnyCeltics's avatar

Is it OK to say 'no' to my roommate who wants to sublease his room?

Asked by JonnyCeltics (2690 points ) February 8th, 2012

My roommate and I get along very well. He has been gone for over two months now, and did not anticipate that a job elsewhere would take him away for so long. Now, knowing that he will most likely be out there another month, he has asked that I sublease his room.

On one hand, I understand where he is coming from and totally empathize. On the other, it would be me that would have to do all the work to find one, and, most importantly/affecting, live with a complete stranger who would exist within feet of my most dearly possessions…

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23 Answers

gambitking's avatar

Firstly, as far as permission, the owner of the property, or landlord is the one you would get to say “yes or no”.

I think in this scenario, your roommate needs to take full responsibility for all the efforts involving the sub-leasing of the room. If he’s the one that left, and he doesn’t want to come back, and he doesn’t want to pay the rent for his portion in his absence, then yes he should certainly bear the entirety of the burden for the sub-lease.

He’s gotta pull his weight somehow, he should have no excuse for putting that on you.

And for a direct answer to your question, sure it’s “OK” to say no to your roommate, although I’m not sure why you would say no to him wanting to sublease it. It sounds like you want to say “no” to doing all the work for him. But it seems like you dont have much of a choice either way.

JonnyCeltics's avatar

Well – you’re right @gambitking – we technically can’t according to our lease. But he’s a friend and a fine roommate. We communicate well. He is away, as in across the country, so him finding a subleaser is probably out of the question…

CWOTUS's avatar

If he’s going to be gone for one more month, and has already been gone for two (presumably paying his share of the rent for those two months), how likely are you to find someone to sublease a room… for just one month?

That’s “crash pad”, not “rent”.

I would tell him that you’ll make “reasonable efforts” to help find a temporary tenant, and then do that. You can make your own judgment about what constitutes “reasonable effort”, and be certain to tell prospective tenants about the short term nature of the rental. I doubt that you’d find such a tenant. And since you would naturally have “right of refusal”, you could refuse to accept anyone who was crazy enough to accept, on the grounds that they must be nuts to sign on to such an agreement.

Peace is preserved, and the room remains vacant.

JonnyCeltics's avatar

I live in NYC and I imagine someone would be up for it. But you bring up a good point, the idea of a ‘crash pad’ vs. rent…evoking different sorts of people…

JonnyCeltics's avatar

The thing is, he kind of hung something above my head, saying something along the lines of, ‘youve already had the apt to yourself for a months…..’ as though I planned on it that way….

marinelife's avatar

@JonnyCeltics That’s on him not you. It is his actions that have caused that.

JonnyCeltics's avatar

@marinelife – can’t I be a doll and be nice and find someone for him? (the answer, of course, is yes) But, I just don’t want a stranger in my apartment…and he is asking for a favor…and I am unsure how to respond. Well, technically, I have responded by saying I wasn’t comfortable…to which he has taken issue…it’s hard to stand by my word when, if I were in his position, I’d love the help as well.

wundayatta's avatar

I think it all hinges on the relationship you have with this person, and the future relationship you wish to have. He may hope you will help him out, but in my opinion, he is asking an awful lot. I think that at the very least he should offer to pay you to find another roommate. That’s a lot of work, in my opinion. He’s asking you for a HUGE favor.

Are you lovers? Because I think the only one I would do a favor like that for is a lover. Possibly a best friend ever. But if he didn’t offer to compensate me for my work, I would say I would try, and I’d put the word out with friends. If nothing happened, I’d leave it at that.

If he’s a very good friend, then I’d tell honestly what kind of position he’s putting me in, and you’ll do the best you can, but you’re busy with whatever and school and all, and you’ll just do the best you can. Also, you didn’t want the apartment to yourself. You wanted it with him. So you aren’t happy about him leaving. Life will be a lot worse without him. Guilt trips go two ways, baby. He better not try that trick again if he wants you do to anything at all useful.

marinelife's avatar

How long is he going to be gone? Does he know? Unless it is at least six months, the effort that you would have to expend is not worth it.

Who is going to pack up his stuff?

SpatzieLover's avatar

He signed a legal contract @JonnyCeltics. He is responsible to abide by that contract.

Yes, it is more than okay for you to say no to him subleasing his room.

All of the other info regarding the reasons why he left, where he is, when he’ll be back, is white noise as far as I’d be concerned.

JonnyCeltics's avatar

Yes, and maybe I’m considering being a pushover. But he’s a friend, and a darm good roommate, and I imagine he’d do the same for me. He wants me to sublease it for a few weeks, or 1 month. I don’t want to burn any bridges here….

wundayatta's avatar

It’s ok to say no. It’s also ok to honor your friendship and find someone. Up to you, man. No one is going to look down at you, either way (except him).

nikipedia's avatar

It’s ok to say no. You are legally entitled to it and it is entirely reasonable to set boundaries with housemates.

But if I were your friend and you were unwilling to help me out, I was be pretty pissed off and it would seriously damage the friendship. Finding a temporary housemate is not difficult in a large city like NYC. I have probably done it a dozen times in my life.

Most people are all right. He is asking you to share living space with someone for 1 month, not blow them. If you do the picking, you have complete control over the situation, and could end up living with someone great who becomes a new friend.

JonnyCeltics's avatar

@nikipedia yes. “and now blow them.”

nromstadt's avatar

Tough situation. If he expects you to find yourself a new roommate – which will save HIM money and inconvenience YOU – you better work out a payment plan. I would not do that for free, and he shouldn’t expect it.. so if you do find someone to cover his rent, I don’t think it would be completely unreasonable to get a discount on your rent, at his expense.

Is he gone for an undefined amount of time? If so, that’s going to make it even harder to find someone.. generally, I think a subletter either has a set amount of time that they need a place for (which might be shorter than the duration that he’s gone) or would like a definite amount of time established ahead of time. I’d be hesitant to rent a place, only to potentially be kicked out at any moment.

WestRiverrat's avatar

@JonnyCeltics tell him you asked the landlord and the landlord said no.

Typically if a roommate leaves you can collect 3 months rent from them, after that the court assumes you have had plenty of time to find a replacement. That can be altered if the landlord does not approve any new tenants.

mrrich724's avatar

If he’s in a lease then I think you are in your right to deny him. If you signed a commitment with HIM then he should honor that commitment for the term agreed.

I’ve been in the position and was VERY grateful that my roomie allowed me to leave and sublease my room.

But I can see too, as I explained to my roomie, that if he only agreed to sign the lease b/c he knew it was me that he was living with, that he might say know and it would be reasonable.

Make sense?

AshlynM's avatar

It all depends on how long your roommate is going to be away for. If it’s just for a month, then no, the subleasing thing isn’t worth it. If it were a little longer, then maybe you could just put up with it for a while.

But technically, it’s the landlord’s decision on whether subleasing is allowed. If it’s not allowed, then I don’t even know why your roommate is bothering to ask you.

JonnyCeltics's avatar

If we are talking technically, then the new tenant would pay up-front and not officially be on the lease…

jca's avatar

I know I’m late to this party but want to put my two cents in. The effort you are going to expend to find a roommate, and the chances of finding a decent person that needs a place for the one month period he is going to be away seems not worth it. Maybe worth it to him, because he’s not putting out any effort, you are. For you to advertise, meet someone, show them the space, bargain money or terms, all effort on your part, for one month? Nuts.

Can you post an update, if you will, as to how things turn(ed) out? Thanks.

JCA
The Update Lady

JonnyCeltics's avatar

We agreed not to have anybody; thx for the responses…

jca's avatar

Thanks for remembering the update!

wegeedee's avatar

SERIOUSLY??!!!
Anything can happen.. and most likely will.. You’ll be on the spot when it does. You’ll be the bad guy. If for some reason I’m wrong, and best comes to best, and it never does, think of all the fun you’ll have worrying and wondering if and when and what will happen. WHO WILL MAKE OUT THE RULES?? It takes MONTHS to iron everything out BEFORE you even THINK about living with someone. Would you get married to someone YOU HAVEN’T EVEN MET YET??!!! You’d be better off paying for it yourself.. seriously??!!

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