5 Must Know Apartment Renting Tips for College Students

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What you may need to know about off campus housing.

Every university and college has students who come from out of town to study and many of them will be looking for apartments for rent to live in while they’re going to school. Unfortunately, it isn’t uncommon for students to fall victim to a bad lease, a bad apartment or a bad landlord. They aren’t to blame, because they’re likely out on their own for the first time. This can be avoided with some very simple and standard tips that apply in almost every apartment rental situation. If you’re a college student looking to rent an apartment, especially for the first time, you need to know this stuff.

Getting Cheaper Rent

The worst case scenario here is the landlord will simply say no. So it doesn’t hurt to try. I know, you’re excited about your new apartment and you just want to sign the lease already! Whoa boy. Slow down. Really. It could be very much worth it. It isn’t unreasonable to ask for a small reduction in rent – maybe five percent. This is especially true if you are obviously someone will make a good tenant. Many times, your landlord is just excited about getting that lease signed as you are. They want to start collecting that monthly rent!

Understand What You’re Getting Into

Don’t sign the lease just because you want the apartment. Actually read each line of the lease so you know what you’re getting into. Are you the type who will want a dog to sit with at the park on the weekends? You better make sure pets are allowed in the apartment. What if your rent is late for some reason? Is there going to be a crazy-high late fee involved? What happens if the landlord suddenly has to pay more in taxes or the maintenance costs for the apartment gets unruly? Can he hike up your rent to make up for it? There are all kinds of things that can be in that lease you’re about to sign, so make sure you know what you’re signing.

Roommates do Matter

When you’re filling out your rental agreement, make sure you ask if you can also list any and all roommates that you’re going to have. Everyone whose name is on that lease with their signature is just as responsible as the next one. So if there’s damage done, you don’t end up carrying the burden of it. If someone decides to move before the lease is up, you won’t get caught having to cover their rent.

Your Deposit

Some states have laws that govern how much a landlord can make you pay for a deposit. Try to pay the least amount possible and ensure that you have a receipt showing what you paid. Your deposit will be used if there are damages to the apartment. So you best make sure you inspect the apartment thoroughly to note any pre-existing damages. When you move out, do another inspection. Try to get the landlord to do both of these inspections with you.

The End of the Lease

Talk to your landlord when the end of your lease is nearing. If you are planning on staying, let him know. You may get lucky and be able to get a small discount for continuing to rent the apartment. Also, here’s a little known tip. Check out the apartments for rent in town. Are there lots of them? Be sure to bring this up to your landlord. Why? You may be able to get a good discount by choosing to stay his tenant instead of moving elsewhere – especially if you have been a good tenant. Chances are, he doesn’t want to go through the process of finding another tenant if he doesn’t have to. Finding a good tenant is even harder.

Author Information

Veronica Davis is a freelance copywriter for businesses online. She works extensively with a number of real estate related sites and realtors, helping them with their website content, blogs, social media and marketing. She has worked with a large range of clients over the years, from helping small site owners establish a profitable presence online to blogging for Planet Green.

Photo Credit: Alexius Horatius

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Categories: Personal Advice