Frequently Asked Questions
What is a lease?
A lease is a legally binding contract between you and the entity that owns the space you're living in. A lease should include the amount to be paid by you, the dates and times of move in and move out, and other important information. It can also include things like pet and parking policies, general rules, and the like. Signing a lease is final and can't be undone.
What to consider in a place to live?
There's lots of things to consider. Here's some examples:
- utilities included in rent
- # of bathrooms & bedrooms
- individual or joint leasing
- walking/driving distance
- furnished or unfurnished
- pets allowed
Overall, it's helpful to keep in mind general quality control and atmosphere of the place as well.
What rules should I expect?
Your obligations are shown in your lease. That said, roommates may choose to have their own rules as well.
Individual vs. group leasing?
Group leasing means all roommates pool money for rent. Any one roommate can choose not to pay and the others are responsible for that amount. However, it is easier to choose roommates.
Individual leasing protects you from roommates who skip out, but you'll have less choice in who your roommates are, and no choice in how the cost is divided.
Renters insurance is relatively inexpensive and protects you from a great many bad things. Of course it depends on your personal circumstances, but in a building with a bunch of college students, it's probably worth it.
What is this site and why does it exist?
Glad you asked. I'm a college student just like you. I was super excited to get an apartment for the first time and had no idea what I was doing. So after thorough research and writing a solid 15 page analysis I KNEW I had the best place in mind (I go overboard sometimes). But I kept seeing people who would simply sign at the first place they'd heard about and I thought, "If only you did an hour of research you could save well over a thousand dollars". Well that was enough for me to make this site. The goal here is to help people new to apartment/house hunting to find the best fit for them to live. I don't like it when people are trapped into something they don't want, so this is my answer. I hope you find it useful and informative.
What to know before signing?
A Lease is a binding contract. Try to know and understand every part of it, and get as much information on the place you'll be living in before you sign. What you don't know CAN hurt you.
What are the most important dates?
- Lease beginning (Late August for most student apartments)
- Lease end (Early August for most student apartments)
- Renewal period
- Rent & utilities due dates (usually 1st of month)
Should I get a tour before leasing?
YES. Nobody ever tells you that a car needs a new engine before you buy, and nobody ever tells you the dirty details of a living space before you sign. Take a tour and be very thorough in your judgement of the property. Ask as many questions as you possibly can, even if they seem silly.
Should I sublease?
To sublease, you must find someone to fill your space (usually). This person then takes the responsibility of paying the lease during the allotted time. However, in some cases you are still responsible for paying for the space and damages. That is, subleasing can save you money, but be careful about it. This is different everywhere, so check your lease agreement to see if and how you can sublease.