To sub­let or not to sub­let?

Global Times – Metro Beijing - - TWO CENTS - By Leila Hashemi

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.

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