Living off campus is something that many students desire, but something that many students can’t afford. Fortunately, there are student housing communities that strive to make off-campus apartments as affordable as possible. Generally, all-inclusive apartments are the most affordable student housing options. This housing is simply defined as apartments with the utilities included in the rent. So, you wouldn’t have to pay extra for power, trash pickup, internet and more. However, finding these types of apartments can take a bit of knowledge and/or skill. Below are five tricks that can give you that knowledge and an advantage for finding an off-campus, all-inclusive apartment.
Tour the Apartment Communities and Ask Questions
Truthfully, most off campus housing is all-inclusive. This means that some student apartments for rent aren’t advertised as being all-inclusive. However, you should look at every apartment that interests you. When you take your apartment tour, simply ask questions about the utilities. In fact, this is a step that should never be skipped during the apartment hunting process.
Asking questions is the simplest way to find out if an apartment is all-inclusive. Some apartments are inclusive, not all-inclusive, meaning that only heating and electricity are included in the rent. All-inclusive rentals include these power utilities plus cable, internet, water, sewer and trash services. Obviously, an all-inclusive apartment will make off-campus living much more affordable. But, make sure you get a rundown of how much of your rent is dedicated to utilities.
Inspect the Apartment
You should inspect your all-inclusive apartment before moving in. Ask the landlord or property manager for a walkthrough and check the doors, windows, appliances, electrical outlets and any other hookups in the apartment.
- Check for cracks, drafts and issues with the locks on the doors and windows
- Check if the appliances are gas or electric. This is significant, because if your apartment is all electric, then your monthly rent won’t include a gas bill, which is more cost-effective.
- Ask maintenance to ensure the electrical outlets are safe and in working condition. Plus, make sure the faucets and shower head are in excellent condition.
- Look for additional outlets and hookups, including cable and internet outlets. This will ensure you have access to the utilities that are included in your rent.
If you find any issues, or if you find that you don’t have access to certain utilities, report it to the property manager before signing the lease. Additionally, bring a friend, a parent or an experienced renter to do the walkthrough with you.
Look for Amenities Near Your Apartment
The neighbourhood you live in is just as important as the apartment. Make sure your neighbourhood is full of useful and fun amenities, including parks, restaurants, banks, laundromats, public transit, grocery stores and other types of shops and entertainments facilities. Look for student housing in a great neighbourhood that’s near your university. Students living near campus can have access to great amenities, proximity to the campus and their choice of an all-inclusive apartment. Remember that your neighbourhood and apartment should make you feel comfortable and safe, and you should find a great place.
Set a Realistic Budget
All-inclusive college housing is highly affordable, but you’ll need to learn how to set a realistic budget for your rent and other bills. Fortunately, if you’re renting an all-inclusive apartment, you won’t have to budget for utilities. You should, however; create a monthly budget that includes the costs of groceries, household items, entertainment and other bills (e.g. your mobile phone). But, leave some room in your budget for emergencies or start a savings account.
Learn Your Tenant’s Rights and Responsibilities
Before signing your lease, you’ll need to learn your tenant’s rights and responsibilities. This means you’ll need to learn the rules, policies and laws of your housing community and province. For example, what types of consequences you’ll face for a noise violation. You’ll also need learn the proper procedures for several processes, including:
- The eviction process
- Submitting a maintenance request or reporting issues
- Contacting the landlord and/or property manager
- Paying your rent, including late payment procedures and fees
- Ending your residency, including information about what condition your apartment should be left in and how you can reclaim your deposit
Most of these processes should be covered in your lease; just remember to read and understand all these major points before signing. Also, find, read and understand the information about your all-inclusive apartment, such as what utilities are included and how they’re paid. Finally, read and understand the Residential Tenancy Act for your province, which will give you a detailed description of your tenant’s rights.
Living off campus can be fun and exciting, but it can also be expensive if you don’t know how to rent. Learning the power of the all-inclusive apartment, is the first step in your rental education. All-inclusive college housing is affordable, convenient and perfect for university students and/or first-time renters. However, you must utilize the tips above to get the most out of your rental and off-campus living experience.
About the Author – Henriette Proulx is a staff writer for the 1Eleven – All Inclusive Student Living Ottawa. Her profound awareness of the field has made her pen forth such an informative content on the above topic.