Before you sign that lease

DKS Editors

Things to know before moving into your new apartment

Ah, living on one’s own. It’s what teenagers dream of as they take off for college. No parents, no curfew – what more could a young adult want?

Despite all the freedom acquired by moving out of Mom and Dad’s, there are a few obligations that must be taken care of before cavorting all over campus. Chris Miller from Eagle’s Landing Apartments and Carol Crimi from Student Legal Services have a few things to keep in mind before signing the lease to a new apartment.

&bull Lease Length: Most apartment complexes or houses will have a move-in date during the middle of a month so they can thoroughly inspect the apartment for damages beforehand. This will affect the amount of rent that is owed for the first month.

Write down the date the lease ends to avoid any complications and to give enough time to decide whether or not to renew the lease. Leases can last anywhere from six months to a year.

“Thoroughly read your lease,” Crimi said, “and understand the terms and conditions stated in the lease,” while keeping a detailed record of what you sign.

&bull Utilities: Gas, water, garbage and electric are all necessary to live comfortably in a new place. Be sure to get the utilities not covered by the landlord put in your name before you move in, Crimi said. A lot of places cover only a few utilities. Read the fine print and get signed up soon.

&bull Parking: Towing can be a big problem if one doesn’t have the required parking pass. Be sure to get a pass and place it in the correct spot of the car. The apartment complex should provide a visitor parking lot and visitor pass as well. Know when towing hours are to avoid a hefty fine and hours of frustration.

“We don’t tow handicapped if you have a legitimate pass,” Miller said of Eagle’s Landing. But because of the complex’s location, Miller said towing frequently occurs because of students trying to park near their classes.

&bull Pets: Having pets in an apartment or house can be an issue. Many properties do not allow any pets. Others will allow them, depending on their size. A security deposit is often required upon moving in, plus a monthly “pet rent.”

Crimi said to watch out for a “pet clause” in your lease, and make sure you fully understand it. This may make you think twice before you decide to have Fluffy move in.

&bull Drinking: No matter where one is, drinking underage is illegal. More than likely, the locale will have a security guard roaming the grounds, apprehending any suspicious renters and their friends. This is to provide safety and security to all tenants.

Eagle’s Landing has what Miller calls “courtesy guards” who walk the complex from 9 p.m. to 4 a.m. They are called courtesy guards because they don’t carry concealed weapons.

If over the age of 21, the landlord may request that you keep drinking to a minimum, out of respect for neighbors.

“We ask to not show public use,” Miller said.

&bull Maintenance: More than likely, you’ll run into a problem or two in your new living quarters. Write down the number of your maintenance crew to avoid digging through all your leasing papers to find it.

Corey Jenkins, sophomore hospitality management major, said maintenance at his College Towers apartment is nice.

“My oven needed fixed, and they were there within 10 minutes,” Jenkins said.

Crimi suggests keeping a detailed record of how your apartment looks.

“Take photos of everything,” she said, “and have a move-in list with an extra copy” to ensure you’re not charged for any damages that weren’t your fault.

A move-in list along with other helpful tips is available on the Student Legal Services Web site at Student Legal Services is located in McDowell Hall.

Contact features reporter Laura Lofgren at [email protected].