To sublet or not to sublet?

By Leila Hashemi Source:Global Times Published: 2017/11/7 17:18:39

How would you feel if a stranger started living in your apartment? For me, I wouldn't like it much.

Having roommates can be tricky, and personally, one of the things I still haven't gotten used to is the idea of subletting a room. As the October holidays approached, my roommates and I were making our out of town plans, and one of my roommates wanted to sublet her room. I know this is a common practice in China, but what I don't understand is why. The only one who benefits is the person who is leaving town. The other roommates have to live with a stranger with no perks.

What if the person is a party animal? What if they are dirty? What if they have visitors sleep over every night? Something about the whole situation puts me on edge. I was gone for 16 days over the past October holiday, and I never once thought about subletting my room.

For one, I feel weird having someone I barely know sleeping in my room with full access to all of my stuff. What's to keep them from pocketing something that I wouldn't notice until they are long gone and I am just another blocked and deleted account on their WeChat.

Also, I don't want to be responsible for my roommate's things. What if this person decides to grab everything in the apartment and disappear? There's nothing to stop them. It doesn't even have to be them. They could invite someone over who sees my apartment as the opportune place to do some early Christmas shopping.

I think the biggest challenge is that you can't really judge a person from one quick meeting, and if the "temporary tenant" is going to be in the apartment alone, it's hard to say what this person will do when there is no one around.

In the US, I have never once had a roommate go out of town and put their room up for rent, even if it was for over a month. I know there is more of a transient lifestyle here, and sometimes it's nice to be able to rent a room. It's a win-win situation. The tenant gets a cozy place to sleep, and the roommate gets some extra pocket change for their trip.

Although I was wary, I gave in. Luckily, the renter was my roommate's friend. However, the person canceled in the end. Good for me but not so good for my roommate, I guess.

This article was published on the Global Times Metropolitan section Two Cents page, a space for reader submissions, including opinion, humor and satire. The ideas expressed are those of the author alone, and do not represent the position of the Global Times.


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