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Tips to avoid problems with off-campus living

Sept. 19, 2005
By Breana Krotz

After spending two years in the dorms, many students look forward to moving into an off-campus house or apartment. That can be fun and exciting as long as students make informed decisions.

Some tips for living off-campus

Parents and students should read the lease application and lease agreement thoroughly before signing them. Any modifications after a lease is signed should be written and signed by both the landlord and renters.

Before signing a lease, contact the utility companies to find out how much the monthly utilities will cost. The landlord might need to grant permission for the information to be released. Contact the utility companies prior to move-in to ensure water, electric, etc. will be turned on upon arrival.

To protect the security deposit, videotape or take pictures when moving in and out of the residence.

Contact the landlord, in writing if necessary, if any problems arise in the residence. If the landlord fails to repair a problem, contact the Center for Student Legal Services for more options.

Be sure to make all rent payments on time. Never pay with cash, keep the residence safe and sanitary, be conscientious of neighbors and prevent others from damaging the property.

Parents should help their students find out as much information as possible about living off-campus before signing a lease. At Ohio University, many services are available to help students find the right place to live. At the Office of Off-Campus Living, parents and students can ask questions and pick up informational pamphlets. Jim Hintz, coordinator of the Office of Off-Campus Living, also gives presentations in residence halls upon request.

It is critical to find out information about the chosen rental property and landlord before signing a lease. Ask current residents about their experiences or visit the Athens Code Enforcement Office, which keeps records of every rental property, including any code violations.

Choosing good roommates is also important. The Office of Off-Campus Living Web site provides roommate agreements that can help establish house rules and avoid disagreements over bill payments.

While there are perks to moving off-campus, there are also responsibilities. Students have responsibilities to the Athens community that go beyond obeying local laws. Parents should encourage students to be good neighbors and be positive influences on the community. Students often gain a greater sense of independence when entering that first house or apartment. Making an informed decision about where to live can prevent headaches for students and parents.

Brianna Huy is a student writer with University Communications and Marketing.

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Published: Sep 19, 2005 9:40:00 AM
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