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A First Year’s Guide to Moving Into Your First Apartment

It’s finals season at McGill, but also apartment season. While some leases start next fall, many full year leases start in May and June. For those moving into their first apartment (like me!) there are certain things we need to keep in mind. This article combines the advice I’ve received from multiple upperclassmen and online forums. It’s so exciting to be moving into a place of my own with four of my best friends, but here are logistical things everyone has to keep in mind:

1. Compile Free Stuff Before Shopping

Most families have unused furniture, kitchen appliances, etc. It’s best to compile everything before going out to IKEA and other stores because chances are your friend’s mom might have the perfect area rug, or your aunt has an extra set of cutlery accumulated over time. Keep costs down by reaching out to family and friends, and use the McGill Facebook group Free & For Sale before going to actual stores. That group has so much for sale all the time, and you’ll get some great deals.

2. Split Up Responsibilities for Utilities

It’s hard and stressful to remember to pay bills, and renting an apartment involves more than just paying rent. A couple of HC McGill writers recommended that roommates should split up these responsibilities, and that it’s better to have a person in charge of collecting money and paying rent, another in charge of the electric bill, and if you have more than one roommate you can divide further bills such as internet and heating. On that note, you need to remember to set up utilities before moving in or on the day of!

3. Create a Roommate Agreement

While rooming with your best friends sounds like it can’t go wrong, McGill writers advised that everyone should create a roommate agreement. One writer mentioned that it’s not cool when your roommate is having a party while you’re studying for a midterm, and ideally issues like that can be prevented by creating an agreement. If you have anything you’re worried about, you can put it into the agreement. 

4. Take Photos of the Apartment

Before moving in, it’s important to photograph the apartment completely. That way if your landlord tries to charge you for damage already inflicted, you’ll have evidence that proves otherwise. It’s also important to make sure that the date is on these photos.

Once your lease begins, it’s time to change your mailing address and get excited for a year or more of living with your friends!  Before then, make sure to take this logistical advice to heart to ensure that your lease goes as well as possible. 


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Kelly is currently a Second Year with Advanced Standing at McGill University studying History, Business Management, and Psychology. She loves everything food related, and has her own food blog in the works. 
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