To make sure college-goers are really ready to rent a place off campus, students should ask themselves the following three questions, says Abkemeier:
1. Am I financially secure enough to move off campus, and if so, what is my monthly budget? Many times students forget about the conveniences of on-campus living and everything that is included in one monthly bill, such as subsidized food, utilities and all-in maintenance.
2. Are the areas surrounding the campus safe? When you visit off-campus apartments, make sure to ask about what safety measures are in place. These should include things such as good lighting across parking areas, public spaces and hallways, as well as door locks, security cameras and/or a secured building entrance. If you are looking at a lower-level unit, make sure to ask what kind of windows are installed and make sure that they can be secured. If you are living by yourself, consider renting on a higher floor for added safety.
3. Does the rental lease agreement work for me? Your landlord is only responsible for what is printed within your rental agreement, so it’s important to carefully read your entire lease before signing it. If you see a broken window or a faulty lock on your property or unit, you should alert your landlord as soon as possible. If you have not yet signed a lease, it may also be possible to negotiate upgraded security measures to the unit, such as new locks on the door or windows.