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What to Look for When Renting an Apartment in College

It’s that time of the academic year where students begin to think about their living options for the following school year. Off-campus housing will always beat the stale feeling of a university dorm room, but it can still have its downsides. All landlords will try to convince you to rent from them so they downplay the negatives. In order to find the best living arrangements, it is important to thoroughly examine each aspect of the apartment.

Find out what’s all included with the rent

Every rental agreement is different so be sure to ask what bills (if any) are included with the rent. Landlords often downplay other fees in addition to the rent to make the property seem more appealing to students. When deciding a budget for an apartment factor in all monthly costs.

Look at the entire apartment when touring

Critically examine every room in the apartment to see how well the landlords keep up with maintenance. Is the paint chipped? How new are the appliances? Is the water pressure strong? Keep in mind, you are paying them to live there so everything should be in working order. When you move in, take a picture of everything that is broken so you do not get charged for damages in the end. Do not be afraid to tell your landlord about any issues you have with your apartment.

Look for reviews

If you want to truly know the living conditions of an apartment, find online reviews. Other tenants aren’t afraid to speak out about their negative living experiences. Read and talk with other students to learn about the most popular living options at your university. But also be aware of fake reviews.

Don’t wait to find an apartment

This tip is crucial; don’t wait until the last minute to find off-campus housing. The best places to live always go first, leaving you with fewer options the longer you wait. Most landlords begin tours a few weeks after the fall semester starts so be sure to look early.

Find out what furniture comes with the apartment

Furnishing an apartment can be expensive. When touring, ask what furniture is included with the apartment. If you do have to buy furniture, add that into your budget.

Read the lease all the way through

Read your lease multiple times before signing so you are sure this is the right apartment for you. If you have any questions or concerns, ask the landlords for more clarification. Signing an apartment is a big decision for anyone, so being completely sure about the decision is important. Take pictures of your lease and become familiar with your rights as a tenant in case you encounter any issues.

Ask about security

Having a safe place to live is important, especially if your university is in a city. Ask the landlords about security cameras and lighting on the outside of the property. Check all of the locks on the windows and doors to see if they’re working. Remember, your safety is most important.

Sydney Weiland

Kutztown '21

Currently, I'm a senior at Kutztown University majoring in English with minors in professional writing, social media theory & strategy, and music and a writing intern with HerCampus. Outside of classes, I love to play my oboe, go thrifting, and cook.
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