Living off campus connects you to the vitality of the city and the urban art scene.
When looking at apartments, consider the following:
- Most landlords require a security deposit upon move in. This protects them from any damage you may cause to the apartment. Security deposits can vary from a half month's rent to two months' rent.
- Ask if utilities are included in the monthly rent. If not, ask the landlord what average monthly utility bills may be.
- Talk to other tenants in the building. They can tell you what to expect in terms of safety, the landlord and the heat/hot water service.
- Check the edges of the apartment door and mailbox for any indication of break-ins or vandalism.
- If ceilings or walls show watermarks, remember you'll have to find a safe place to store your art supplies, portfolios, etc. Watermarks around the bottom of bathroom walls may mean the toilet backs up.
- Look around the building and yard to get an idea of repairs that might be needed. Try to determine how receptive the manager/landlord is to making repairs.
- Ask if there is a fire alarm (or alarms) in the building and check the condition of any fire escapes. All residential buildings should have working fire alarms in addition to a fire escape plan.
- Look out the windows. If there are a lot of people nearby, consider the possible noise level, and how it will affect your studying.
- Most apartments will not have laundry facilities, so you'll want to know the location of the nearest laundromat, as well as the nearest grocery store.
- Take time to look around the neighborhood to get a feel for safety.
- Apartment buildings should have a secure, well-lit parking lot. If only street parking is available, make sure it is well lit and close to where you will be living.