Know Your Budget
Make sure you have all of the money you need to rent BEFORE you start looking. Often times property managements will wave some fees listed below. You will need to ask each individual property management.
- Property application fee
- First month’s rent
- Last month’s rent
- Security deposit
- Credit history check fee- If you do not have credit history or have bad credit then you may be asked to provide a guarantor to sign.
- Criminal background check fee
- Property administration fee
- Utility hook-up fees
- Pet deposit fee
- Furniture, decorations, kitchen supplies, cleaning supplies, groceries…
If you have never managed a budget you can visit the MoneyCats with Student Financial Wellness Center located in Patterson Hall on the 3rd Floor.
- Here is a Property Comparison Form you can use to compare different properties to see which will fit your budget best.
- Here is a Budget Worksheet that will allow you to see your budget compare across four semesters.
Some properties may ask for proof of employment, financial aid, or a checking account.
You will need to contact the Financial Aid office and ask if you will be receiving a residual check from your aid after all your educational bills have been paid and ask when will you should expect to receive a residual check?
Note: Most financial aid residual checks are not distributed until 1-3 weeks after classes begin.
Once you know that you will be getting a residual check then you need to go ahead and budget out your bills. Keeping the time in which you will receive your residual checks you will need remember that fall checks is not received till middle or in end of August and Spring checks is not received till middle or end of January.
Fall Residual Check should cover:
- Pay back any upfront fees and rent that you paid before receiving your fall aid.
- September, October, November, December, January, and February
Spring Residual Check should cover:
- March, April, May, June, July, and August
Before you begin looking for your property:
- Decide who will be placing the utilities in their name, such as gas, electric, water, cable, and internet.
- Decide if you will have communal food or if everyone will buy their own.
- Decide how household necessities (toilet paper, cleaners, etc.) will be purchased; will you take turns, collect money for necessities and send one person to the store, etc.
- Decide how you will handle a situation where one or more individuals are late on payments.
- Decide what will need to happen if one individual needs or decides to move-out before the end of the lease term.
- Decide how damages will be paid if they occur.
- Decide and complete a roommate agreement form.
Note: Make sure everyone that says they are going to live with you sign the property lease agreement.
Find out from the property management if they wish to have individual payments or one group payment for rent each month.
- If your property management prefers one payment then you will need to decide as a group who will coordinate the collection of the monthly rent.
- As a group you may want to look at an outside payment resource such as Simple Bills. With Simple Bills you would create a group account and submit all your group bills to them. Then each month each individual would pay Simple Bills their monthly debt and no one in your group would be burdened with the task of collection.
Note: Late rent and utilities payments are reported on your personal credit score.
Before moving any property into the unit take pictures of all areas of the unit. Areas would include walls, ceilings, floors, windows, doors, locks, bathrooms, kitchen, and exterior areas. If there are maintenance needs from the pictures create a word document that includes the pictures and the maintenance needs and submit to your property management with your rental condition report.
If damages occurs in the unit you are renting understand that it is not the property management’s responsibility to decide who caused the damage. If damages do occur then everyone could lose their security deposit, not just the one person that caused the damage.
On the day you are to move out of your property have a walk through done with all roommates and the property management and take pictures of the unit with all belongings removed from unit. This is in the case charges are billed to you after you have moved out and you can argue to retain your security deposit.
Lease- Read it before you signed it!
Your lease is a legally binding agreement. You must pay the agreed rent and fees for the entirety of the term outlined in the lease. Here is a simple list of questions to follow when reviewing your lease "Reviewing and Signing a Lease".
Know what the fees are if you have to break your lease. What are your options? In most cases you are required for the full term. In some cases property managers will allow subletting or require you to find another individual to move into your space and sign a new lease with the property management.
Note: If you have signed a group lease and one individual moves out then the remainder of the individuals living in the space is responsible for the monthly bills of the individual that left.
Have your lease reviewed before you sign it! Some leases may have fees written through the lease, such as carpet cleaning fees you would be billed for after you move out.