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Sublease Stress in Gainesville

Fingers frantically scroll through endless Facebook pages as the burdensome hunt for a sublease looms over students’ shoulders.

“I’ve messaged about 40 people over the last two weeks,” said Rhiana Suarez, a junior psychology major at the University of Florida.

With plans to study abroad in London during this spring semester, Suarez said she stresses about the inability to find a sublease for her room at The Courtyards apartments, located at 1231 SW 3rd Ave.

She said she doesn’t know if someone will sublease her apartment for the total amount of time she plans on being away or for the price that she wants.

To accommodate the additional rent payments she would have to make while being away, Suarez has been looking at cheaper housing options in London.   

Some attribute the difficulty in finding a sublesse to the disproportion of students selling their apartments and students looking to move into an apartment.

“I see a lot of people posting,” Suarez said. “Very few people are actually looking.”

Many students sublease their apartments independently, without the help of outside businesses or apartment management. According to the 2016 to 2017 UF Off-Campus Life annual report, the off-campus life staff only helped 8% of its clients with subleases.

At The Courtyards, only about 13% of its residents subleased their apartments last year, said leasing agent Alejandra Villa. The remaining residents either paid the rent themselves, including their months absent or subleased independently.

Residents may be more inclined to sublease their apartments independently in order to avoid subleasing fees issued by management.

The Courtyards residents are charged a $200 sublease fee, said Villa. The fee can be divided amongst the sublessor and sublessee, she said.

Social28, located next to The Courtyards, issues residents a $300 transfer fee and sublessees a $50 application fee, said leasing professional Noemi Martinez. While Martinez said that the apartment helps match residents with sublessees, it is not guaranteed that they will find someone. The apartment complex advises residents to search via Facebook. 

At The Standard, fees are even higher. The apartment complex does not offer subleases, and instead issues lease takeovers, said leasing agent Morgan (who did not want to share her last name for personal reasons). The resident leaving the lease must pay a $250 fee, and incoming residents must pay the $300 application fee. 

Caitlynn McCahill, a second-year student at Santa Fe College, has been trying to rent out her apartment at West 20 for about one month. Not many people responded after expressing an interest in her sublease, she said in a phone interview. It’s a challenge to get people interested as well as to get them to commit.

Rebeca Sandor, 22, is trying to sublease her apartment at Gainesville Place Apartments after recently getting married. She originally subleased the apartment from someone else in January and renewed the lease under her name in July. Sandor said she’s much more desperate as a sublessor than when she was a sublessee last winter.

“When you’re waiting for people to contact you,” Sandor said. “It’s out of your hands.”

Searching for a sublease will always be a struggle. Get your advertising hats on, and make sure to start early. Fingers crossed yours will be as painless as possible. Good luck!

Lauren Rousseau is a senior editor for Her Campus UFL. She's also a junior journalism major at the University of Florida, and her writing has appeared in Rowdy Magazine, WUFT News and the Independent Florida Alligator. When Lauren's not starring at a phone or laptop screen, she enjoys starring at her screen even more by watching ridiculous reality television. When all else prevails, catch her baking and listening to music.
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