So you have finally decided to leave the residential halls? Here are some helpful things to keep in mind while you are looking for housing, contemplating the right place for you and, finally, signing the renting agreement documents.
Guide to Living Off Campus
For first time renters and returners, it is important to keep in mind that a community involves maintaining the well-being of the neighborhood.
When choosing a living space off campus, keep in mind factors that are important to you (pricing, parking spaces, distance from areas of importance, etc.) Renting is a major part of your funds and time. When signing the housing rental agreement, it is imperative to review the contract thoroughly because it is a legal document. Having a conscious mind to the effects on the property and resources that are made available, living off campus or on your own will be a memorable part of your time in Narragansett.
Prior to renting…
1. Utilize all resources to search out houses, realtors, URI Off-Campus Housing database, Homeaway.com, VRBO.
2. Visit several properties. Compare and have backups if 1st choice isn’t available.
3. If there are basement bedrooms, for fire safety reasons make sure there are exits and room windows low enough and big enough to be able to climb through.
4. Make sure there is adequate parking. Ask about parking ordinances.
5. Don’t be afraid to ask questions of current tenants about the house and the landlord or property manager. You are making a big investment!
6. Ask about the average cost of utilities, type and cost of heat, number of cable connections, what furnishings are included. Ask for one year summary of prior costs.
7. Compare costs and the condition of the houses you visit.
8. Prior to signing a lease, carefully review it along with your parents as it is a legal contract. Understand the requirements of you and the landlord. In particular, note what is prohibited and what would result in noncompliance of the lease. Review payment terms, penalties and landlord access. Lease changes must be in writing.
After signing the lease….
1. Complete inspection sheet. Take dated photos. Protects you from pre-existing damages.
2. Review the lease again, as it probably has been months since you signed it.
3. All houses should have working smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.
4. Houses should have adequate trash barrels secured and with lids as there are Town fees for trash on the lawns.
4. Review all Town ordinances, penalties and fees.
5. Should any issues occur during the year, notify the property agent or landlord as soon as possible for the issues to be corrected. Do not try to correct them yourself!
6. Introduce yourself to your neighbors. Give them your number should they have any problems with your group. Better they call you than the police. Good communications is the key to earning their respect and to resolving any problems in a peaceful manner. Treat neighbors as you would want your family treated. Work to maintain their quality of life in the neighborhood as well as your own. Remember, respect is a two-way
street. You have to give it to get it. Don’t wait to get it first.
7. Have pride in YOUR neighborhood. Clean up your property after all gatherings.