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?