Before You Rent

Moving off campus to a place of your own is an exciting time! Off-Campus Student Services is here to support you in the process and assist you in making an informed and responsible decision. Before you begin your search or sign an agreement, there are many factors to take into consideration to make the transition as smooth and satisfying as possible. 

Choosing Housing

With an overload of housing information available surrounding campus and online, the housing search can be overwhelming. Where to start? Before you begin the process, it’s best to narrow the search so you have a specific idea of what to look for. Be sure to ask yourself the following:

1. What kind of rental unit do you want to live in?

• Apartment complex (a one, two or three-bedroom apartment)
• Converted apartment in private home
• Room in private home
• Entire house

2. What are your transportation needs?

• Walking distance to TU
• On a MTA bus route
• Close to work or shopping
• Parking

3. What are your privacy needs?

• Private bedroom?
• Comfortable with sharing a room?
• Comfortable with sharing a bathroom?

4. What can you afford?

• One-bedroom apartments tend to be most expensive
• The closer to campus, the more expensive the rent is likely to be
• Calculate utilities and transportation costs when determining a budget

5. What about furniture?

• Furnished unit
• Unfurnished unit
• Rental furniture

6. How much legal security do you want?

• Apartment complexes often require you to sign a 12-month lease. They may also require your parent to cosign your lease, particularly if you have no income.
• Private homes may offer a shorter-term lease or no lease at all. However, it is advised to always have some sort of written agreement before renting any apartment or room.

7. Are pets allowed?

• Will you pay pet rent?

Selecting a Roommate

Whether you have already selected a roommate or are in the process of finding one, it is often helpful to discuss your mutual concerns. You can reduce the likelihood of disagreements by coming to some basic agreements about your living arrangements.Selecting Roommates

Questions to Consider:

1. Do you have a job?

This is a crucial question, as you want to ensure that he or she will be able to pay half of the rent. You don't want to find yourself in a situation where you're stuck footing his or her bill. Even if he or she is planning to find a job, you are running a risk. This does not mean you shouldn't necessarily turn the person away, but you need to be careful. It is important that he or she have stable employment, or another means of financial support.

2. What noise level are you accustomed to?

Does the potential roommate like to have loud music playing most of the time? Does she or he like to have the television on frequently for background noise? Or, do you like to have background noise? It is important to discuss this issue; otherwise you might find yourself very frustrated with your living circumstances.

3. What furniture and appliances do you already have?

If you are not planning on living in a furnished apartment, this is an excellent question. It's great to learn how you will share furniture and appliances, and if you would need to purchase items such as a couch, microwave, etc. As a general rule, never split the cost of anything for your apartment. You should always have your own stuff that you share together as roommates. 

4. Do you have a boyfriend/girlfriend who will be visiting frequently? Or other friends who will be over often?

This is a very pertinent question. You need to have an idea of how much privacy you will have in your living quarters. If he/she plans to have a boyfriend / girlfriend over often, (of if you plan to), it's important to discuss this issue. You don't want to find yourself in a situation where you just want to relax on the couch and your roommate is hogging it with some friends. Or, if it's the other way around, and you have a boyfriend/girlfriend over frequently, you need to share that information with them. 

5. How important is cleanliness to you? 

This is one of the most important questions to ask. You should discuss how you will split chores, or even if you will agree to hire a cleaning service and split the cost together. One of the best ways to annoy your roommate is to leave the bathroom a mess or have dirty clothes lying around. 

6. Have you had roommates before? What were some things they did to irritate you?

This question will help you get a feel for their personality. If they have nothing but bad stuff to say about past roommates, perhaps they are a little bit more difficult to live with, or they've just had bad luck. 

7. Do you smoke? How often do you drink?

This question is necessary to learn more if you are compatible with this person and their drinking and smoking habits. Obviously, if you can't stand smoking and they smoke, then don't agree to let them be your roommate. The same goes for drinking. You might agree to have a rule that no drinking is allowing your apartment, if you wish.

8. What is your schedule like?

It's a good idea to know whether or not the potential roommate is an early bird or a night owl. 

9. How do you want to divide the bills?

This is another way to learn about the roommates’ personality, and it’s very important to talk about dividing the bills. In most cases, although you will split the bills evenly, its best to split which bills are in which name. For example, if you will be sharing internet, phone, cable, and electricity bills, you should agree to have two of them in your name and the other two in your roommates’ name. You should also decide how the bills will be divided, etc.

10. Do you have any questions for me? 

It's common courtesy to let him or her ask you some questions to get to know more about you.

Roommate Bill of Rights:

I vow:
To read and study undisturbed in your room
To sleep without interference from roommates
To respect each other’s personal property
To maintain a clean living environment
To allow guests as long as they respect the rights of others   
To feel free from physical and emotional harm
To share the television, appliances, furniture, and other agreed-upon conveniences
To honor payment procedures

 Have questions or need more info?  Contact our Off Campus Student Services office for assistance.