September is an Instagram away and hopefully, new (and returning) college students have their housing situations squared away. For those students – and their families – making their first foray into living away from home, we’ve established a preparedness checklist to enable a smooth a transition as possible. Getting right to it, let’s review how to make safer and smarter choices in such areas as:
Conduct a premises background check: Apartment building/private residence/apartment in home:
1. Conduct an address history check.
This type search – readily available through a myriad of public databases – provides a residents’ history for at least 20 years for the location. Given that the new potential residence is in a college town, high turnover rate is anticipated. However, check with local PD for prior criminal incidents at the location.
2. Interview neighbors and other tenants. No further explanation necessary.
Quality of Life:
Select an area of residence based on minimum living requirements:
Accessibility to school/work/shopping/laundry facilities (if a factor)
Public transportation -vehicle parking
Pets (if allowed, know the rules)
Rent with at least 1 roommate. Benefits:
-rent share reduction
-shared utilities: phone, renters insurance, gas and electric
-lower food expenses
-share 1 vehicle for transportation, if possible
– Photograph the residence – 360 degree photos – before moving in. Particularly note any damage. •
– Maintain a pictorial inventory of your property.
– Ensure financial preparedness for at least 3 (three) months of bills in case of an emergency and if you have a roommate, that they unexpectedly vacate the premises.
– Create a budget prior to move-in, incorporating such factors as single, self residency or with roommates.
– Ensure that rent and utilities are ready for payment at least a week before due date.
– Without employing a Sheldon-like 239-page roommate agreement, establish a clear understanding and respect with fellow roomies re: visitors and unexpected drop-in guests.
Clear understanding of premises use w/property owner:
Prior to lease signing, there must be a mutual understanding of property usage rules such as:
-use of washer/dryer (if on premises)
-backyard privileges of backyard
Your rights as a tenant:
Ensure that right to privacy and that of the warranty of habitability are respected by having the property owner acknowledge the following: That,
– There will be no unannounced visits or entering your apartment without your knowledge.
– S/he shall place your security deposit in an escrow account.
– Leaks/plumbing issues for which s/he will bear the financial responsibility shall be repaired asap
– That you be given a responsible ( 30 – 90 day) notice should the rental property become un-livable and that your moving costs be provided for by the owner.
Move-in recording security privacy measures:
– Ascertain if there are hidden cameras hidden your apartment. Check:
– bathrooms/under sinks
The above advice may appear somewhat overwhelming but especially when one moves out into the “real” world, the safety, liability and comfort parameters should be forcefully set.
Above all , ensure several emergency contacts – local and family and may the first-time renter enjoy his/her new home!
BNI Operatives: Street smart; info savvy.
As always, stay safe.