Thinking about Living off Campus?
There is a lot to consider when choosing to live off campus. Some notable things students say about living off campus that is most notably different are:
- The feeling of more freedom
- The absence of an RA or a resource liaison to college resources
- No more meal plan
- Commuting to campus
- Opportunity to live with friends
- Depending on space, it could be cheaper
- Maintenance response times can be delayed
- Difficulty with Landlord
- Main emergency contacts are CSPD vs. Campus Safety and RAs
- Building relationships with neighbors (often non-CC community members)
- It’s not easy to move or transfer spaces if you are not happy, you are binded to a lease
Things to Consider
Who are you living with?
Can you live with the people you’re signing a lease with for 6 months or a whole year? Make sure that you’re asking each other questions about lifestyle and habits such as:
Are you a night person or a morning person?
How frequent do you clean (dishes, sweeping, laundry, cleaning the toilet, etc.)?
Are you neat, messy, or somewhere in-between, and what can you tolerate in a roommate/housemate?
How will you divvy up household chores?
How will you manage and address conflicts?
What are your study habits and needs (separate space, quiet space, music playing, etc.)?
What is your social style, and what do you need in the people around you to keep yourself well (i.e., alcohol, drugs, parties, people doing these things in your home, etc.)?
Do you need to have private space and time to recharge?
Do you do best when you have a lot of social contact?)
When you sign a lease with other people, you take on Joint and Several Liability (when multiple parties can be held liable for the same event or act). This means that if your roommate damages the property and refuses to pay, you could be liable for the damage. If your roommate decides they want to move back home and stops paying rent, you’ll be liable for their rent.
What to consider regarding your landlord?
- Read your lease before signing because it is a legally binding document
- You and your landlord both have responsibilities and rights. Take the time to learn what this means in Colorado Springs.
- Is the landlord trustworthy and responsive? Look for reviews on sites like Rate My Landlord.
- How does the landlord communicate?
- How will you communicate if there is a problem (i.e., a text to say that the drain in clogged and you’ve had to turn off the water to the sink)?
- What response time do they promise for major issues?
- Talk to the current and former tenants (if possible) to see what their experience is/was!
- Do not make verbal agreements to anything
- Check into and find out about the individual or company that owns and/or manages the house.
- Ensure you have examined the house (even if it is recommended by a friend) prior to signing the lease. Remember, safety and costs are your main priorities. Not location.
- Ask your landlord who will have access to keys to your house and how the keys are protected.
- Ask your landlord if they change the locks when a tenant leaves? Will they allow you to change the locks?
- Ask your landlord if you will be notified in advance if repair or maintenance work is scheduled.
- Do not accept a verbal agreement from a landlord as final work on some special arrangement, condition or repair. Always have the information written into the lease or agreement. If it is not part of the normal leave, it can be added as an addendum, which should be signed by you and the landlord.
- Ensure you understand the lease agreement, including what improvements the landlord will pay for and what expenses you will be responsible for.
- If you share a house with someone else, ensure everyone signs the lease at the same time. If a conflict should arise between you and a roommate you will not be stuck with the bill if he/she moves out or fails to pay the required rent.
- Make sure all blanks on the lease are filled out prior to signing the lease.
- Inspect the house prior to moving in. List all items that do not work properly or are otherwise damaged (this is usually called a move-in condition report). Keep a copy of the list and submit a copy to the landlord so the items can be repaired.
- Take pictures or video the house upon move in and this will assist you from paying property damages when the lease ends. Send the photos to your landlord with the date so that you have them and they do for records so when you move out any previous damage does not get blamed on you.
- Obtain Renter Insurance.