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Penn students have faced multiple difficulties in attempting to sublet their apartments. 

Credit: Julio Sosa

The search is on for students trying to find subletters for their residences over the summer.

Students advertise sublet options ranging from small one-bedroom units to entire Domus apartments, and are often posted on the Penn Facebook groups Housing or Free & For Sale. Prices vary as well, as renters attempt to find equilibrium amongst their peers and offer the most competitive deal.

But most students looking to sublet do not make money on their summer housing — rather, they are trying to minimize the gap between the rent they pay to the landlord and what they receive from the subletter.

“[I] definitely won’t be breaking even, but [I’m] just trying basically to get as much as I can,” Wharton sophomore Dave Mathews said. Mathews, who is looking to rent out a bedroom in his off-campus fraternity house, said that he priced his room based on what he saw other people were listing similar rooms for online.

Engineering freshman Alex Evelson, who was looking to sublet his bedroom on the second story of a house at 41st and Locust streets, set an initial subletting price of $600 per month for his residence. However, he acknowledged that he would have to drop this price if demand was not high enough.

“I’m open to negotiation, so if people reach out to me, maybe towards the end I’d be more willing to discuss,” Evelson said. “But I’m not going to straight up lower [the prices] to begin with.”

Pricing is not the only struggle students run into when attempting to find subletters. College junior Tia Yang ran into multiple frustrations with property owners and subletting websites when trying to list a residence for subletting this summer.

Yang, who initially planned to rent out a multi-bedroom residence at Hamilton Court Apartments with friends for the upcoming academic year, ended up canceling her plans to live there after becoming frustrated with the complex’s difficult subletting process.

“There were a bunch of fees involved that we just couldn’t afford,” Yang said of the reletting fee that she said Hamilton Court charged just for renters to sublet their house.

Combined with a wilting demand for “housing near campus” over the summer, she decided she was losing too much money in the process and went to lease a place elsewhere.

“We ultimately found it was easier for us to find a completely different place [under University City Housing],” Yang said.

Yang also faced issues with putting up a listing on PennLets, a website run by Penn students where those looking to sublet can find renters. After she posted her initial listing for the Hamilton Court residence, Yang said, she received around ten “spam” emails that proclaimed to be interested in renting her residence, but never followed up.

Though most sublet exchanges occur between Penn students, Mathews said he was looking beyond the campus bubble to find potential subletters for a bedroom in his off-campus fraternity house.

“I reached out to a couple of companies that have interns that are going to come stay in Philly, [and found] a couple leads there,” Mathews said. “I used a friend of mine to put my name on a list for Boeing, [which] has a bunch of interns who are subletting in Philly.”

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