SHANIQUA TAYLOR, CJ GUION, & JASMINE HARRIS
It is almost that time of the year when students start deciding, or have already decided whether they want to live off campus next year. We have compiled a brief list of things that students might want to consider when choosing an apartment or house off campus. While there are many pros to living off campus, there are big cons which can put students in a difficult position.
There are many things that you must consider before signing a lease.
1.) Make sure the location is within a close proximity to campus. If you don’t have a parking pass paying to park can add up.
2.) Make sure that the complex has a WORKING bus. Often times, apartment complexes have a bus but they run out of commission and then you may be stuck driving. Double check their policy to see what their plans are to accommodate you if this does happen. Even if your apartment does have a shuttle, it is best to find a place that is close to a CAT bus stop, or even better the Wolfline.
3.) Make sure that if you plan to stay there over a year that the next year your rent doesn’t increase; rent should stay the same or go down. Also note any changes such as different management or changes in your lease. After living somewhere for a full term their loyalty should be to you.
4.) Take into account visitor parking. If you plan to have friends over often, throw house parties, etc you are going to need adequate visitor parking or a tow-free complex.
5.) Ask Around! See where your friends have lived and take their experiences into account.
6.) Customer Service can make or break your living experience. If management is proactive when/if a problem arises it won’t be a big issue. If management is uncooperative and slow to fulfill a work order or request then this might not be the smartest place to live.
7.) If you have or plan to have a pet, see if the apartment complex has a no-pet policy or restrictions
8.) Read reviews and ratings for the apartment complex online. There are several review websites where students who have lived in the apartments before have written about the apartment’s pros and cons which may be useful for deciding between apartments.
9.) Make sure you compare the costs of apartments that include utilities in the rent and those that don’t. Also, apartment complexes that include the utilities may charge you for going over the electricity or water usage limit. Ask the apartment manager about these conditions before signing your lease. Cable and internet may also be separate, so make sure you are aware of what these will cost you. Also consider the food bill as well. Research, Research, Research
10.) Be sure to compare the cost and advantages of choosing an apartment that is furnished or unfurnished. If you choose an unfurnished apartment, you may have to purchase or borrow furniture from friends, which takes time and money. It may be easiest to choose an apartment that has furniture, if you feel comfortable with having used furniture.
11.) Consider whether you want an apartment that has an individual lease or not. You don’t want to end up getting an apartment with friends, who don’t end up holding their end of the bill, leading to your eviction, destroying your relationship.
12) Take a tour of the apartment, but remember that some apartments are not exact replicas of the samples
13.) Make sure that you have looked at all options before you sign the lease, because once you do there’s no turning back.