Campus Area Housing Subletting Information




(608) 263-2452 -- Campus Area Housing
(608) 263-2400 -- Campus and Visitor Relations

Suite 329, Union South
1308 W. Dayton Street
Madison, WI 53715

What is subletting?

Subletting is an arrangement between a current tenant (sublessor), a “substitute” tenant (sublessee), and the property owner/manager. A sublessee takes the sublessor’s place and resides in the unit, paying either part of or all of the rent. 

It is important to note that the sublessor (original tenant) is still liable for any damages or unpaid rent.

Things to know when considering subletting

  • Not all property owners/management companies permit subletting. For those who do, ask about and follow their subletting process.
  • If you have roommates, be sure you have their support. Your roommates should feel comfortable with the new sublessee and may have to sign the sublet agreement. Roommates can also be one of your best marketing strategies; helping you spread the word to their network of acquaintances.
  • Advertise your rental early and often, and make sure it is competitively priced. Please note that there are more sublets available in the campus/downtown area than there are interested renters, and only about half of advertised sublets are filled. Remember that taking on a small ‘loss’ each month may be better than paying 100% of your rent while you are away.

Ways to promote a sublet:

  • Advertise with Campus Area Housing at a cost of $15 for up to 5 months.
  • Share information with friends, classmates, co-workers, acquaintances, and your roommates’ networks if applicable.
  • Spread the word via social networking, other advertising websites, and/or e-mail.
  • Post flyers on/near campus (be sure to ask for approval when using bulletin boards in campus buildings).

Other things to consider:

  • If you find a sublessee, you and any co-signers on the original lease may still be responsible for timely rent payments and any damages. Damages incurred by a sublessee can be taken from your original security deposit.
  • As the current tenant, you may ask for and hold a deposit from your sublessee. Please note that you are required to return their deposit in a timely manner at the conclusion of their stay. 
  • Complete a written sublet agreement with your sublessee, including the deposit details if applicable. If your property owner does not provide one, an example can be found on the Tenant Resource Center’s website at, where you can also find more information about the legalities and specifics of subletting.

Sublet Scams:

The City of Madison and UW-Madison campus continue to be a target for rental scams, with college students who advertise sublets frequently being tar­geted.

Frequently what happens is someone will email you to express interest in your available rental. After a few email exchanges, the person will commit to your sublet sight-unseen. The person will offer to send you a deposit. The deposit (usually a cashier’s check) arrives and it’s for twice or even three times the needed amount. You e-mail the new renter and they apologize for the mistake. They ask that you wire the excess money back to them. Later, your financial institution will learn that the original check or money order is not valid. The bank will seek to recoup those funds from you – including the amount you have already wired back to the scammer.

Here are some clues that may indicate the email inquiry is probably not legitimate:

  • The original inquiring message will come to you by way of ‘BCC’ or blind-copy.  This generally means that you were not the only recipient (they send these emails to hundreds of people at the same time).
  • Also, the grammar and spelling will usually be poor.
  • In addition, they will not say anything specific about your home or apartment - they’ll only speak in very broad terms.
  • They’ll ask about things that are already in your advertisement – number of bedrooms, rent amount, etc.

If you think you have received one of these emails, the best course of action is to simply delete it and not respond. 

It’s important to stress that not all international messages are scams. If you are unsure if an email correspondence is valid, please forward the email to The CAH staff  will be happy to review it and give you their feedback.