CHECK OUT THEGEORGE MASON OFF-CAMPUS WEBSITE http://och.gmu.edu Find Rentals & Roommates Compare Favorite Properties Post Sublets
CONSIDER YOUR BUDGET & PRIORITIES What is my monthly budget? Rent + Utilities Transportation/Parking Food Rank your housing priorities Cost Location Length of lease available (academic year vs. 12 month) Quality of the house/apartment Having my own bedroom Having my own bathroom How many roommates? Amenities—washer/dryer, kitchen, dishwasher, furnished, pool, fitness center, business center, etc.
FIND THE RIGHT ROOMMATES Ask questions about lifestyle/habits before you decide to live with someone! Sleeping - Early bird vs. night owl Studying – At home vs. library Social Habits Music/noise level preferences Guest policy Cleaning expectations Avoid groups of three – even numbers tend to work better Check out the Roommate Finder on och.gmu.edu!
QUESTIONS FOR LANDLORDS A r e u t ilities / WiFi / Ca ble i n c luded i n r e n t ? If not, what is the estimated monthly cost? H o w m a ny p a rk ing s p a c es a re ava ila ble? Is t h e re a n ex t ra fe e fo r pa rk i n g? Wi l l I h ave to s i gn a pa rk i n g c o n t ra c t fo r 1 2 m o n t h s? D o yo u t a ke c h e c ks fro m a l l te n a n t s i n t h e a pa r t m e n t /house o r j us t o n e c h e c k fro m t h e g ro up? I s t h e re a m a inten ance p e r so n o n c a ll 24 / 7 ? Wh o i s re s po n sible fo r o ut do o r m a i ntena nc e? ( fo r h o us es ) Any t h in g n ot a l l owed? — fish t a n k s, pet s , wa te r be ds ? H o w m uc h i s t h e s e c urit y d e po s it ? I s t h e re a w a s her/ dr ye r i n t h e u n it o r i n t h e b u i lding? If t h e re i s a l a un dr y ro o m , i s i t c o i n -op o r i s t h e re a n e l e c t ro nic pay m e nt s y s te m? H ow m a ny wa s h er s/dr ye r s i n t h e l a un dr y ro o m ? I s t h e re s e c urit y i n t h e bui l di ng/are a? H ow do e s s e c uri t y di f fe r o n we e k day s, we e ke nds, h o lidays/bre aks? Are t h e re ex te ri o r l i ght s a n d a re t h ey wo rk i n g? D o a l l be dro o m s h ave s m o ke dete c to r s? Are t h ey h a rd w i re d o r ba t te r y o pe ra te d? D o e s t h e h o us e/c omplex h ave a s pri n kler s y s te m? Wh o pay s fo r i t ? H o w m uc h i s t h e s u b let fe e ? Wh a t i s t h e s ubl et pro c e s s ? Wh e n w i l l I be ex pe c te d to re n ew t h e l e a se/not ic e o f c a n c e llat ion ? W h e re i s t h e n e are st b u s s to p ?
READ AND UNDERSTAND YOUR LEASE Before you sign, read through the jargon and find out what it really means Look up uncommon terms online Check out VA Legal Aid: http://www.valegalaid.org/issues/housing/landlord-and-tenant- issueshttp://www.valegalaid.org/issues/housing/landlord-and-tenant-issues Pay attention to: Lease Length Rent and charges—amount and where to pay it Release of resident—what are the terms of release? Policy on repairs and malfunctions—who is responsible? Resident replacement and subletting Multiple residents or occupants—who is responsible for lease obligations (all residents) “Joint and equally liable” –all tenants equally responsible for making rent payments Move-out inspection Security deposit deductions
BE ALERT Visit the property at night to see how safe you feel walking around Is the area well lit? How far is the parking area or bus stop from the property? Warning Signs for Rental & Roommate Scams: Someone wants to exchange money with you sight unseen Unwilling to answer questions You receive a check for an amount significantly greater than the monthly rent or security deposit Your gut tells you it’s “too good to be true”!
SECURIT Y DEPOSITS AND INSPECTIONS Schedule a walkthrough with your landlord within 5 days after move-in MAKE NOTES & TAKE PICTURES! Ask: “What does it take to get my security deposit back?” Schedule a walkthrough within 3 days of move out
SAFET Y Stay in a group when going to/from property at night Don’t leave valuables in your car Secure windows Agree on a locked door policy with roommates Deadbolt locks on your doors Entrances well lit Working smoke detectors Know fire escape routes
AVERAGE AREA COSTSRENT Ef ficiency --$1080 (ranges $825-$2500) 1Br--$955 (ranges $700-$4000) 2Br--$1 ,510 (ranges $1100-$4700) 3Br--$2014 (ranges $1350-$3700) 4+Br--$2640 (ranges $1400-$4600)
AVERAGE AREA COSTSUtilities Water/Sewer/Trash Often included in apts., not houses Electric/Gas Apt: $75-120, House $100-200 Cable $65 & up *watch for start rates Internet $43 & up *watch for start rates
IF YOU’RE CONSIDERING A HOUSE Ask your landlord which maintenance needs are your responsibility (snow removal, lawn care, etc.) Ask your landlord if he/she accepts multiple checks or only one check from all tenants If one check required, decide amongst roommates what day of the month money is due to the renter payer and how you will hold each other accountable if rent is not turned in on time Utilities cost more than apartments because you’re heating/cooling a larger space with more hallways and auxiliary rooms