Be Smart When Moving Into Your College Apartment

It’s getting to be that time of summer where college students across the country prepare to head back for another school year and move into their new apartments for fall semester.

Whether you’re living alone for the first time or moving in with roommates, it’s important to understand your rights and responsibilities as a tenant and review the lease again prior to moving in.

An apartment lease should always include:

  • Specifics on how all maintenance and repair concerns are handled and who is held responsible in the event that something breaks or needs repaired
  • When rent is due, the amount and exactly what it covers, such as any utilities
  • The conditions of your security deposit and how you are able to receive the full refund upon moving out
  • Notice about whether pets are allowed and information pertaining to any pet deposits and associated fees

To help protect yourself when moving in:

  • Document your apartment’s move-in condition. Note each and every flaw or defect on your move-in condition form, so that you aren’t held responsible for those damages later.
  • Take photos of your unit prior to move-in, so that you have documentation available if a dispute were to arise between you and the landlord after moving out.
  • Keep a copy of your lease in a safe place that can easily be referenced.

If you are searching for last minute living arrangements, be able to identify the red flags of a rental scam:

  • The deal sounds too good to be true.
  • The landlord is located elsewhere and prefers to only communicate via email.
  • The landlord requires a substantial deposit before handing over the keys or even showing the property.
  • The landlord asks the renter to wire money through services such as Western Union or Money Gram.

Visit bbb.org for more helpful tips on renting an apartment and maintaining a good landlord-tenant relationship.

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About Caitlin Driscoll

I have been the Public Relations Director of the Better Business Bureau of Western PA since November 2011.