I Love the Freedom (and Power) in Subletting — Here’s Why

published Jul 15, 2023
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I’ve lived in New York City for just over two months now, and I’ve moved three times in that time. It’s not because there’s anything wrong with the apartments that I’m living in or that I’m too indecisive to stay in one spot. Rather, I’m subletting — and I love the power and freedom it gives me. 

Before moving to the U.S., I knew that I would be subletting for at least the first few months. In short, getting a lease as someone who is brand new to the country is something that’s quite difficult and requires a lot of patience. To combat this, I’ve been advised by friends and those in a similar position to sublet for a while to help build up a good reputation with renters and landlords, as well as acquiring reference letters that can be passed on for lease applications

While it may be a little inconvenient having to haul my suitcases around the city with me every four weeks or so, I am enjoying the flexibility it gives me. I don’t have to splurge on any furniture or home essentials, as I’m stepping into a fully furnished space with everything I need to feel right at home. Although some renters do charge their subleases for their utility bills separately, this is something I’ve not experienced yet. It’s one fewer thing to think about (but I am certainly conscious of how much water or electricity I’m using).

Subletting allows me to test drive life in neighborhoods that I may have otherwise never considered. I’ve lived in three of New York City’s boroughs since being here — starting off in Queens, then on to Brooklyn, before settling in Manhattan for a while — and I am loving exploring the different areas and comparing each place. Queens is somewhere I never would have considered before moving here, but I loved the modern feel of Long Island City. Spending one month in Park Slope allowed me to live out my quaint Brooklyn townhouse dreams and made me feel like I was living every day in a romantic comedy. Heading across the bridge to Manhattan is giving me the experience that I longed for since I knew I wanted to spend a portion of my life in NYC after I watched 13 Going on 30 for the first time at age 10. 

Most importantly, what I truly love about subletting is the community I have met through this exciting journey. Each new place allows me to meet interesting and inspiring people that I probably wouldn’t have crossed paths with — whether it’s a successful musical theater actor who I was introduced to through a work contact and welcomed me for a month in their eclectic home, or a British creative who I bonded with over a Facebook housing group and now call a friend. Subletting has been a saving grace during a time that could have proven extremely overwhelming. And while it does have its ups and downs — moving around often, not having your own homewares, and weeding out scammers through social media, to name a few cons — it’s something that I would recommend everyone do for at least a short time when moving to a new place. For me, it’s helped me figure out where I truly want to be while experiencing more of New York than I thought was possible in such a short time.