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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Renting dos and dont’s

Gordon Bates / Arizona Daily Wildcat
Gordon Bates
Gordon Bates / Arizona Daily Wildcat

Apartment living presents its own challenges. Students living off-campus for the first time may be unfamiliar with leases, landlords and paying monthly rent. Simple advice can help prevent problems down the road.

 

Leases

The number one mistake students make is not understanding their lease, according to Lilian Alelunas, property manager for the student apartment complex, College Place.

“”They don’t realize when they sign it what they’re signing,”” Alelunas said. “”Once it’s signed, you’re committed. It’s a legal, binding contract.””

It can be difficult to nullify a lease once it’s signed, but there are options. Some apartments allow breaking the lease for a fee. Other alternatives include trying to sublease which involves leasing your apartment to another person.

The Associated Students of the University of Arizona funds a service on campus that offers free legal advice for students who may need to break their lease for any reason.

 

The apartment

Note all of the damages in your apartment as soon as you move in.

“”Whenever you move in, document every little thing that’s wrong with it,”” said anthropology senior Iran Andrade, the student lead for UA Off-Campus Housing.

Many apartments provide forms at move-in to note damages. If not, take the time to create one.

“”If your apartment doesn’t require it, definitely do it,”” said Ryan Soderquist, assistant manager for Campus Crossing University Heights. “”That way there’s a record.””

Natural resources sophomore Zach Smalls is renting his first apartment and agreed that the step is necessary in preventing future fines from the apartment complex.

“”That’s a good thing to do just in case,”” Smalls said. “”We went and looked at everything major.””

Taking pictures or video is a good way to prove exactly how your apartment appeared before moving in.

 

Learn to live on your own

Some landlords find that students living on their own for the first time may lack basic household knowledge.

“”The biggest thing that we find is the appliances,”” said Sean Hughes, assistant manager for The Seasons student apartment complex. “”They don’t know how to run their own washer and dryer or dishwasher.””

Learn how to use apartment appliances and troubleshoot before complaining.

“”A lot of time residents won’t fix their own light bulbs,”” Soderquist said. “”A lot of it comes down to being on your own for the first time.””

 

Landlords

Mutual respect is the key to maintaining a successful relationship. Knowing the rules of an apartment complex helps prevent conflict.

“”(Students) don’t read through rules and regulations,”” Alelunas said. “”We don’t like fining you.””

Landlords are paid to address the concerns of residents, so don’t be afraid to bring up any issues.

“”As far as landlord-tenant relationships go, make sure you’re upfront with them about things,”” Hughes said.

Alelunas agreed it’s important to make issues known.

“”Learn to speak up,”” Alelunas said. “”If you do have a problem, don’t be afraid to complain.””

Smalls said he has a plan to take care of possible problems.

“”I’ve met (my landlord) once,”” Smalls said. “”We’d send an email to the landlord with what’s wrong or find maintenance (staff).””

 When complaining, be sure to be polite and realize that the landlord may have more urgent priorities.

“”A lot of times people come in with bad attitudes, and maintenance won’t like you as much,”” Soderquist said.

Hughes agreed that a good attitude goes a long way.

“”There’re other things that we have to do,”” Hughes said. “”You just need to be patient.””

UA Off-Campus Housing offers a housing guide with the proper steps to make a complaint and sample letters.

“”If it’s not fixed, go up to ASUA and see what the procedures are,”” Andrade said.

 

Rent

Pay your rent on time. Many apartments have a “”grace period”” but then charge residents late fees.

“”We have to deal with that every month,”” Soderquist said.

Many student apartment complexes offer individual leases for each resident. For those sharing a lease with a roommate, be sure to have a payment system.

“”We just each write our own checks and turn it in,”” Smalls said of his method. “”(For utilities), we split it in two.””

Be sure that each roommate pays his or her share on time. Alelunas admits that it can be detrimental to you if your roommates do not pay their shares.

“”Even if you pay on time, it hurts your payment history,”” said Alelunas.

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