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Off-campus Housing

Dormitory life is not for everyone. Privacy and space are benefits of apartments and houses. and individual rooms can be less expensive than dorms. Of course, your friends living in the dorms may want to have parties at your place.

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Included are apartments, individual rooms for rent in a house, and the rental of a house. All of these types of housing are available for rental on a monthly basis, and often utilities such as electricity, gas and water are not included in the rent. Telephone service is never included. An apartment complex is made up of several units, and each basic unit is equipped with a bedroom, kitchen, bathroom, and heater. More facilities are also available, at a higher monthly charge. These may include more bedrooms, more bathrooms, a larger living space, amenities such as air conditioning, shared laundry facilities, a fitness center, a pool, a spa, a patio or balcony, furniture, a dishwasher, and/or a refrigerator.

Housing or Rental Contract

In order to rent an apartment, individual room or house, you must agree to a housing contract, which is provided by the property manager. Usually, you must give one month's notice to the manager to move in or move out of the apartment, and sometimes you are required to move in on or near the first of the month. Also, the housing contract almost always requires a security deposit, which may be as much as one or two month's rent. This security deposit is fully refundable after you move out of the place, as long as you have complied with the terms of your rental contract, which entails keeping the facilities in the same clean and undamaged shape that you found them in. For example, you may be penalized for leaving nail holes in the walls. If there is a problem, for example, if the faucet leaks, or insects are present, inform your manager and he or she will take care of the problem right away. You must pay your rent, in full, on time, although sometimes there is a 3-5 day grace period to pay your rent). Otherwise you could incur further late charges, or in the worst-case scenario, be evicted. Depending on your situation, you may have to obey certain group regulations, such as keeping quiet during certain late night/early morning hours, not having large parties or drugs on the premises, not having pets, and only parking in certain areas. Failure to obey these regulations could also result in eviction.

Benefits of Off-Campus Housing

  • Privacy
  • Quiet environment
  • Separation of academic and home life
  • More luxurious surroundings
  • Choice of location
  • Better kitchen facilities

Drawbacks of Off-Campus Housing

  • Distance from campus (reliable form of transportation is necessary)
  • Higher expenses
  • Separation from campus life and student events
  • Having to deal with a potentially difficult manager

Tips for Searching for an Apartment, Room or House for Rent

  • Your budget:
    Determine how much you can afford to spend on rent. Create a monthly budget. This way you will be able to plan your savings and expenses a lot more easily. Otherwise, you may have to eat instant noodles for the entire academic year just to pay your rent.

  • Make a list of what you want your living space to have. The price will depend on such things as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, garage or covered parking, first or second floor, and location. You may also want to consider features such as community pools, clubhouses, fitness centers, and other amenities.

  • After you have decided the requirements, check your local rental guides which you can sometimes find at local grocery and convenience stores, local newspapers under the classified section, or on-line rental search engines (ex: Rent.Net, ApartmentGuide.com, AptsForRent.com, Apartments.com) for what's available in your local area.

  • Once you have narrowed down your choices to a couple of places, you will want to physically visit those places. While you tour these properties, feel free to ask the Leasing Agent questions about the place - deposits, maintenance, neighborhood safety, proximity to grocery stores, etc. and other detailed information.

  • When you have decided which property to rent, you will complete and sign a rental contract along with other policies. Make sure you read all these forms carefully. Also, be sure to get copies of all the forms for your records. At this point, the Leasing Agent will inform you of all the move-in procedures.
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