Off Campus Housing
Many students live on their own in off campus apartments and houses. If you're looking to rent, you must know your rights!
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- A landlord must give prior notice (typically 24 hours) before entering your premises and can normally only do so to make repairs or in case of an emergency.
- A landlord cannot legally change the locks, shut off (or cause to have shut off) your utilities, or evict you without notice; eviction requires a court order.
Below are a collection of tips for things to consider when signing a lease and renting an apartment or home:
Consider your options and preferences. Know the type of person you are and what your ideal living situation would be. As yourself these questions:
- How close do you need to be to campus?
What is the rental price range you will consider? Consider financial aide, income from a job, etc. Rent should not be more than 1/3 of your monthly income.
- For example if you make $5,000 per month before taxes, your rent should not be more than $1,666.
- Do not go over budget.
- Have you considered the cost of utilities such as gas and electric in determining your housing budget? Which of these (if any) utilities are included in rent.
- How much is needed for a security deposit? Do they need the first month's rent or last month's rent up front as well?
- Is there an application fee? This may cover your background check.
- What is the penalty for terminating the lease early? Can you sublet?
- Do you want privacy or would you prefer to share space and living expenses?
- Read the lease and then read it again - This is a legally binding agreement you are signing!
Below are a few other things to consider, but may not be a deal breaker when signing a lease:
- Who does the apartment maintenance and are they on call 24/7?
- Do they have a pool, work-out facility or pet policy?
What about your car?
- Is parking included? If not, how much is a parking spot per month?
- Are parking spots assigned?
- Is there a permit from the city required to park?
- What are the policies for guest parking?
- Who plows when it snows?
- Is there a history of car break-ins or thefts in the area?
The University of St. Thomas has some additional resources for students looking to live off campus as well as approved rental listings for the neighborhood.