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Monday, June 17, 2024

If subleasing in Gainesville was a club, it would be the type of club where you have to know someone to get in.

Subleasing is a good option for students who sign long leases, especially in the summer when many students leave Gainesville.

The leaser signs a contract with someone to take on the responsibilities of the lease, including rent, utilities and any damage caused.

But if the leaser can't find a subleaser, the rent is still due.

Grace-Anne Stimpson, a UF nursing sophomore, met Genae Wilburn, a UF biochemistry senior, one night when she was visiting a friend who lived with Wilburn.

Wilburn, who was moving to Jacksonville for a summer internship, needed someone to sublease her room, and Stimpson needed somewhere to stay because her lease did not begin until August. So they signed a mutual subleasing contract.

According to the contract, Stimpson can use all of Wilburn's furniture, the bathroom and half of the closet.

Stimpson said she doesn't feel awkward living in Wilburn's room.

"It's not like I'm living here for free," she said. "I'm paying for it."

Stimpson lives among all of Wilburn's stuff, she sees all of Wilburn's pictures on the wall, she sleeps in Wilburn's bed, she brushes her teeth in Wilburn's sink, and she stores her clothes in Wilburn's closet.

"It doesn't really bother me," she said. "I have my own pictures up too."

Wilburn was able to find a subleaser, but many leasers with summer plans outside of Gainesville don't get the same opportunity.

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Finding someone to sublease is a daunting task, said Jon Adcock, assistant general counsel for UF Student Legal Services.

"The biggest problem seems to be finding someone to sublease," Adcock said, "because we have so many people that get stuck with leases or are trying to get out for one reason or another, and that's usually the only sure way to get out."

Landlords often make renters believe that subleasing is an easy way out of a lease, he said.

"Well, next summer comes along, and there is nobody to sublease," Adcock said. "The numbers just don't add up. There's hundreds and hundreds of people who are stuck with leases compared to people who are looking for a place just for the summer months."

Students who can't find someone to sublease are forced to pay rent for a vacant apartment or stay in Gainesville.

Danielle Johnson, a UF nursing junior, originally planned on taking summer courses, so she signed a least that would extend through the summer.

But when Johnson's plans changed, her lease did not.

"I wish that I would have been able to sign a shorter lease," she said.

Johnson thought it was going to be easy to sublease for the summer, but the few prospective subleasers who called said her rent was too expensive.

She is currently at home in Panama City and still paying rent for her apartment in Gainesville.

Her rent check is $595 a month, and she is willing to let someone sublease her place if they will pay even a percentage of the bill.

Elsie Laguerre just graduated from UF after majoring in health science and planned on moving to Orlando to start her career, but she couldn't because of her 12-month lease, she said.

When Laguerre signed the lease last year, her complex told her the apartment would sublease quickly. But that was not true, she said.

"They never really explained the whole truth of things," she said.

Laguerre began offering the sublease in January and her price has decreased from $509, to $450, to $400, to its current price of $380, a loss of $129 a month.

She even offers the lease in her all-girl apartment to guys - anything to get someone to sublease, she said.

"I'm ready to start life," Laguerre said, "but it's just so sad that this apartment is holding me back."

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