If you are planning to rent an apartment while you are at WVU, here are a few things to plan for and think about:
- Decide on the number of roommates you want.
- Decide on the kind of apartment you want.
- Do some research on landlords in the area.
- Start looking for apartments early.
- Don't let a landlord pressure you into signing a lease.
- Once you sign a lease make sure you, your roommates and the landlord follow the conditions stated in the lease.
1. Decide on the number of roommates you want.
This is a very important decision that will affect you into the future. The more roommates you have, the cheaper the rent per person usually is. However, it also means there is more room for conflict and problems. Make sure you know the roommates you choose well as you will be responsible for their actions as well as your own. If they fail to pay their part of the rent, you will be required to pay it. If they destroy property, you will have to pay for a part of it. If they do something totally against the lease, you may even be asked to move out. Don't sign a lease with a roommate you only know casually as this will most likely end in disaster.
2. Decide on the kind of apartment you want.
Do you want an older apartment at a cheaper price or a newer apartment paying more rent? Do you want a condominium, an apartment in a complex or a single house? Do you want it to be within walking distance or is driving every day okay? Do you need things like a dishwasher or clothes washer/ dryer? All these things decided early help you concentrate on an apartment that is right for you. Make sure the apartment style you decide on is something that you can afford. Be realistic. Start out on the cheaper end. Remember most leases are only for one year. You can always get a nicer apartment the next year if you see you can afford it.
3. Do some research on landlords in the area.
Ask around. Talk to other students who are renting. Look up reviews. Talk to the City Building Inspections Office. Look on the internet. Find out who the good and bad landlords are and believe me there are bad landlords just as there are bad tenants.
4. Start looking for apartments early.
Good apartments go fast. Most landlords begin showing their apartments sometime in November for the following year and most apartments worth their salt are rented by March 1. Call several landlords. Take tours of different locations. It will help you to gain an understanding about what you want in an apartment. There is nothing worse than being stuck in an apartment you really don't like.
5. Don't let a landlord pressure you into signing a lease.
It is true that good apartments rent fast and that landlords rarely will hold an apartment for you. However, never let a landlord coerce you into signing a lease for an apartment that you are not completely sure you want or that you can afford.
6. Once you sign a lease make sure you, your roommates and the landlord follow the conditions stated in the lease.
It is very important to ensure that everyone who signs the lease does their part to carry it out. If your roommates aren't paying, you may be evicted. Always notify the landlord about any maintenance problems in the apartment. Do this in writing by letter or preferably by email so you will have proof that he has been notified. Many landlords will ignore problems with an apartment and then deduct damages from the security deposit to make the repairs after you move out. You need proof that the landlord was aware of the problem and that you didn't cause it.