Our view: The thrill of the hunt

DKS Editors

It happens this time every year. Sometimes it starts with a casual perusal of the classifieds section at the back of this paper. Other times, it’s a methodical search process through hundreds of listings on Craigslist.

Still more people turn to friends, asking if anyone knows someone who knows someone else who can hook them up. No matter the method, every search has the same goal in sight: that happy circumstance of fate, a description that excites and intrigues.

No, we’re not talking about finding a date for next weekend. We’re talking about finding a place to live next year.

At this point in our lives, many of us have made major purchases – a used vehicle, a personal computer, that wicked stereo off a flier on the corkboard at Sam Ash – and everyone has learned the importance of reading the fine print on paperwork (Does a 2.9 percent fee on tuition bills paid online using a credit card ring any bells?). Still, making the move to a place of your own can be overwhelming.

There are some obvious decisions to be made. Will you live on your own or with a roommate? Will you lease an apartment in a building or part of a house? Will you leave the toilet seat up or put it down?

But there are other factors to consider. For instance, renting an apartment through Kent Apartments practically guarantees that you will be choosing your own roommates. If you move into the new Campus Pointe apartments, which are set to open for the Fall 2009 semester, you can always pick your roommates. Or you can end up with two or three complete strangers, as Campus Pointe rents “by the bed,” a practice where residents pay only for their own room.

Then of course there are other, equally practical matters. Does your apartment building or house pay for utilities and, if it does, which ones? Does your new pad come with its own washer and dryer or a communal laundry room, or will you be lugging your smelly sheets and sweaty socks home to your mom? Does parking cost extra?

Once you’ve found four walls, a roof and a floor to call your own, what if the flat turns out to be a money pit? Or, worse, a turn-off to every guy or girl you bring home on a Saturday night?

Learning your rights as a renter or tenant may be the most important step you take in the search for a place to live. Whether it’s the right to expect privacy from your landlord or to expect repairs to be made in a timely fashion, you as a renter are granted rights by state law as long as you follow the terms of your lease agreement.

So, happy hunting. And even if your dream apartment turns out to be a bit of a lemon, remember: It still beats living on campus.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.