Helping a friend sublet

I have a semi-friend* who is normally an investment bank-based accountant but has been called out of the Reserves for a tour in Iraq. He’s been there since January, and isn’t sure when he’ll be back in NYC – sometime between October and February. The sublettor for his studio apartment on the upper eastside of Manhattan is leaving earlier than expected and he has asked for my help replacing him. I totally anticipated this request and have been prepared with an immediate “yes” when the request came, because while he may have other friends to help him out, I have the most experience in assessing strangers for situations involving a certain level of trust. However, there are a few things about this favor that will make it a bit more difficult than it has to be…

  1. The problem is, his apartment is a bit – how to put this gently – neglected. Admittedly, I’ve only ever been there once and that was 3 years ago, but I’d guess it hasn’t been painted since he moved in a decade ago. Lots of scuffing, and marks from old plumbing leaks. I’m tempted to treat him to a paint job by yours truly, but I think he has high-ish ceilings and likely no ladder. 
  2. He plans to sublet it unfurnished, which I think will be problematic – while there is a market for such an arrangement, it’s much smaller than the market for furnished ones. He is willing to pull his bed out of storage if necessary, but there will be nothing else. Not that there’s a whole lot of room for much else, but you need some kind of chair and a table/desk/bureau. I may try to solve this through Freecycle and Craigslist if the need arises, or perhaps through people I know who are moving away.
  3. One small point of stickiness: he describes his studio as “large”. It is not. It’s small. Not tiny by NYC standards, but you’d be hard-pressed to even classify it as medium. I’m planning to avoid this awkwardness by listing the square footage if he knows it, or the dimensions of the main living space (taken by yours truly) if he doesn’t.
  4. There is no working air conditioner, and summer is nearly upon us. I think this will put off the better tenants out there. If that’s going to be a point of contention, I’m going to suggest that he have the tenant make out half the security deposit to me so I can take care of this and any other little things that arise.

He is just looking to rent it for what it costs him (rent + electricity), and has offered that I can keep anything over and above that if I’m able to get it. If it is rented furnished, he can legally and legitimately charge more, and since I’d be taking care of the furniture situation, I think this is fair. And that half-month’s deposit I’d get would probably cover any cut I might earn for the 5-8 months of the sublet, so that’s convenient. Generally speaking, I’m not looking to make a profit off him, but he has in the past acted strangely “deserving” of me paying for things (like his taxis, and I don’t mean shared rides), so I’m glad his sense of decency in fiscal matters has returned.

Hm, I wonder if there’s a sideline to be created out of handling absent people’s subletting woes….

* Semi-friend = a male friend who would opportunistically jump my bones in a weak moment. A real friend wouldn’t.


7 Responses

  1. OMG! I have 2 semi-friends then… 1 who is really REALLY on the edge of semi-friend extreme.


    Well, subletting is a business that is potentially untapped.

    We had to find a place for a month before moving into another 12-month lease. Luckily, a friend was JUST moving out that month to a new home he takes possession of, so it worked out perfectly, we got a temporary place for a month

  2. Hey if you need an air conditioner, we have two that we are not taking with us to the new house, and would happily sell for a good price. Both of them have only been used for 1 season.

    Lemme know

    • Oh sweet! I was just looking at one in the Target circular for about $95 – holy cow, a/c’s are ridiculously affordable! If you’ve got one around 5000 BTU, let’s talk 🙂

  3. Haha, I *love* your “semi-friend” reference. I’ve had several of those over the years. Since Tim and I got together, fewer are around. Since we married, none. Which is a good thing.

    But let’s be frank: most of the guy friends we have around would qualify as semi-friends. I have always had good friendships with men, but there’s almost always sexual tension between two people of opposite sex (assuming heterosexuality in both). And, well, guys are kind of… not necessarily sleazy or opportunistic. But most guys will happily take sex if it’s offered. Or if they think there’s a good chance it COULD be offered. Maybe it’s just that they’re not too choosy.

    That isn’t, of course, to imply that this guy is non-choosy. I’m sure he’s just showing his extreme good taste in being a sleazy, quasi-opportunist. Because we PF bloggers rock. Who *wouldn’t* want us? That’s the real question.

    I hope you make a little profit off him, if he really acted that way though (expecting you to pay for things of his) because I really can’t stand entitled people — male or female. I just want to slap them upside the head and tell them to get over themselves. But I believe that’s technically assault. Sigh.

    If you have any trouble renting the place, depending on the price range, you should consider posting notes at various local schools. Summer is around the corner so kids will be getting kicked out of dorms for the next three months and will be looking for something. Most schools even have a small housing affairs section, so you can even check for people whose needs match up with what you have to offer.

  4. My son and his girlfriends, students at the University of Florida are doing internships in NYC for the summer from June 17th thru August 23rd. They would need something with some furniture though, at least enough to get by. Where is the apartment located? Do you think this might work for them?

    My son is very handy, he owns his own home here in Florida which he currently rents out. He and my husband completely renovated the place when he bought it. Maybe something can be worked out on that end.

    Just a thought. What do you think?

    • Wow, I never thought that my blog would generate interest in a sublet. As it is, I’ve got someone lined up to move in on June 1 for 3 months. Thanks though!

  5. correct that, I meant “girlfriend” dont get the wrong idea, that was not meant to be plural, lol

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