Maybe you are moving to New York for only a month or two and need short-term housing; or, maybe you lack the income or credit history requirements to qualify as a primary tenant.

Whatever the reason, you are looking for a sublet in NYC.

Finding a sublet in NYC can be an agonizing process. The info in this guide will help you get a leg up on the competition as well as avoid risks.


Finding a Sublet in New York City

The tips in this article will help you:

  • Navigate the hyper competitive NYC sublet market
  • Avoid apartments that are complete crap
  • Protect yourself from scams
  • Avoid illegal sublets and the risk of eviction
  • Use your time most efficiently, and get the best deal out there

Read on for tips to make your sublet search as painless as possible!

#1 Do not use a paid service

Many people that have tried, easyroommate, roomster and many similar have been dissatisfied with these services.   Many people report that these services use deceptive practices (such as misleading emails) in order trick you into paying subscription fees.

Judging from user reviews around the web, (here, and here) you will be unlikely to find a sublet, or roommate, or anything other than wasted money and frustration by using any of these services.

When looking for a sublet, there are a number of services that are free to use, which do an excellent job-be very skeptical of any service that wants you to pay to view listings, or pay to contact people about an apartment. 

*disclaimer – this viewpoint is constructed entirely from reviews found on the internet (at the above links, and other places) I have not personally tried these services.

#2 Never send money blindly

Craigslist is a great resource for finding a sublet apartment, but you need to be careful.  As useful as Craigslist is, it is also full of scammers.  Never send money to someone in advance, be very suspicious of anyone that asks for a money order or wire transfer (these types of payments cannot be cancelled, or reversed) and generally keep your wits about you.

Looking for a summer sublet?

Summer is when demand for sublets and short term housing is greatest in NYC.  The influx of people with summer internships and recent college grads means that any available sublets are quickly snapped up.  If you want a summer sublet in NYC, you would do well to secure one a few months in advance—before others have even started to look.

Do not rent housing without seeing the interior

Never commit to renting a sublet without first seeing the interior.  Seeing the inside of an apartment first, and meeting the person who is offering the sublet, are great ways to make sure that you know exactly what you are getting, and avoid scammers.  (Airbnb sublets may be one possible exception to this rule- more on this later)

Your three best friends for finding a sublet in NYC

Craigslist – The most popular option for people looking for sublets, or practically anything else, in NYC.  If you don’t know many people in the city and are on a tight budget, Craigslist is going to be your biggest ally.   Craigslist NYC.

Airbnb – is a relatively recent player, but it has quickly become a powerhouse on the NYC sublet scene.  Not only does Airbnb have plenty of sublet listings for a variety of durations, its listings are all vetted by Airbnb.   Additionally, Airbnb acts as a payment intermediary, meaning that scammers are not much of a problem (as they are on Craigslist).  Because Airbnb is more trustworthy, and hassle free, than Craigslist- you should expect to pay a premium for sublets listed on Airbnb vs. those found on Craigslist or through other means.

Friends— If you have a large network if friends in NYC, then you are in luck.  Putting the word out to your friends can be the quickest, most trustworthy, and most hassle free way to find a sublet in NYC.   If you don’t already have a strong network of friends in NYC—you should probably work on getting one (how to make friends in NYC, building a social media safety net)   If you have a large network of friends, this is definitely how you will find the best deals.

Are you made of money?

If you belong to the black town car executive set, wield a black card, or are generally insensitive to price- you may want to consider NYC’s furnished & corporate housing options.   Finding a nicely appointed apartment- complete with furnishings and hotel like amenities can be as simple as a short phone call.

Check if your sublet is on the level with the landlord

In NYC, landlords cannot unreasonably refuse the right of a primary tenant to sublet an apartment.  However, there are certain procedures that must be followed to ensure that the sublease does not violate the lease, or the landlord’s rights.  An illegal sublet is grounds for immediate eviction—make sure you are protects by getting proof that the landlord is aware of the sublease and has given their approval.
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