4 Searching for Off-Campus Housing Tips

You’re a freshman; you JUST met these people a couple months ago, and you’re already supposed to be looking for off-campus housing? How are you supposed to know who you want to live with next year?! The answer is…take a leap of faith.

The second question you may be asking yourself is, I don’t even know my way around campus yet; how am I supposed to know how to look for housing off campus? Don’t worry. It’s not as painful as it sounds. For the most part, this is a leap of faith as well. But if it makes you feel better, here are some tips to point yourself in the right direction when searching for housing off campus and to make sure you know what you’re doing, even just a little.

1. Ask around.

There are a lot of landlords and rental agencies out there, but you don’t want to get ripped off. Ask classmates, UWL Facebook pages and friends about their experiences, who to avoid and who they suggest. This will relieve a lot of discomfort and will give you better chances of having a good off-campus experience yourself. You don’t want to be put in a situation where you feel you’re getting taken advantage of. Which leads us to the next tip…

2. Do your research.

Read up on landlord regulations and make sure that the place you are looking at is up to code. Just because you are new at this doesn’t mean you don’t have rights. So don’t be afraid to stand up for them! It is their job to obey these regulations.

3. Pay attention to what the price includes.

Heat, electricity, hot water and Internet may not be included in the price of your rent, so be sure to ask about these. You should also ask if they have parking and if you have to pay for it or if it’s included in the rent.

4. Tour the place.

Don’t sign off on a place before you have had a chance to scope it out. Look for things like mold, damages and overall cleanliness. Also, look out for appliances and furniture that may be included (it’s highly unlikely, but if the place doesn’t come with a fridge or stove this should be a turn-off). Take note of location, too. If you have to walk to school every day, it may not seem like such a big deal when it’s 65 degrees and sunny but a 7:45am class in the dead of winter may be an issue.

Long story short, do your research, know your rights and you will be just fine! It’s a learning experience and it’s all a part of growing up and becoming independent. It should be more exciting than anything! Good luck!