It’s important to consider a number of factors before you begin
your search for a rental and sign a lease. Here’s a checklist
for you to follow.
• Review your finances (What are the monthly financial
obligations that you already have?)
• Decide how much you can afford to pay each month
• Consider rent and the cost of utilities
• Consider the neighborhood in which you want to live
• Screen prospective areas by walking through them during the
day and night to be sure that you would be comfortable there.
• Decide if you are willing to share an apartment or a
house. If you do, consider your lifestyle preferences.
• Determine the amount of time it will take you to get from
your apartment/house to campus.
• Talk to current tenants, if possible.
• If you plan a trip to find housing, allow at least 2 to 4
days for the search.
• Make appointments to see apartments of interest to you, and
do not come on weekends unless you have made prior arrangements
with the landlord or realtor.
• Use a checklist system and write down the details of the
rentals that you see.
• Have the landlord or realtor provide you with proof that the
rental has met local, state, and federal housing guidelines by
showing you a prior/current certificate of occupancy.
• Carefully read the lease before you sign in. If
possible, also have an attorney look at the lease.
DECIDING WHETHER OR NOT TO SHARE AN
Living with other people can be an enriching or an agonizing
experience. Make sure that you are compatible with your
prospective housemates and choose them carefully. Whether
they are strangers or friends you have never lived with, be sure to
• Values concerning liquor, drugs, smoking, sexual
• Cultural differences
• Social and recreational preferences, including personal
activity patterns and schedules
• Financial obligations and how they will be met
• Division of household responsibilities
• Compatibility of study and work habits
• Time spent together for meals and leisure
Remember: Tenants signing the same lease are jointly and
individually responsible for the rent and any other
obligations. If your roommate skips on rent the landlord can
pursue you for the money.