Young woman packing personal belongings

One of the rites of passage of the college experience is moving out of the dorms and into your own apartment for the first time. For most college students, it marks the first time that they’ve ever lived somewhere that’s truly on their own, and it can feel like a truly freeing experience to leave dorm life behind and get some privacy and space back in your life.

However, moving out of the dorms comes with some new responsibilities and some things you need to know to get the best living situation for yourself. Remember, when you’re signing a lease for one of the Ohio University rental houses available off campus, you’re entering a legally binding contract that you have a responsibility to fulfill. Before you ink your name on it, there are a few things you need to know that can keep you out of a tight spot down the road!

Who Pays For What?

When you’re in the dorms, you’ve simply got one bill and everything is covered. You don’t have to worry about electricity, heat, water, trash or any of those extra expenses. That’s sometimes the case when you live off-campus, but not always. Sometimes, especially in a place with lots of renters available, landlords will offer to pay the water bill for tenants to entice them to choose their property. Others might offer other perks, such as a discount on rent or free cable. But every landlord is different, which is why you need to know what utilities the landlord agrees to cover and what utilities you must cover. If your lease says that you are responsible for the electricity, you need to get the bill set up in your name (or the name of one of your roommates) so you can pay it each month. If you don’t, you’re either going to find yourself in violation of your lease or missing a utility — neither of which is a desirable outcome.

What Will the Landlord Cover?

Group of happy young people eating pizza and relaxing in living room at home

When you sign a lease, your landlord will give you several pages that outline what the landlord will and won’t be responsible for while you’re living in their apartment. The landlord is required by law to provide you with a suitable living space as long as you make your rent payments on time, so he or she will spell out exactly what constitutes a suitable living space.

This will include things like replacing an old dishwasher or repainting the apartment building, things that tenants are not expected to cover out of their own pocket. It won’t, however, include damage that you yourself cause to the property. That’s why it’s important to note any damage that exists when you move into your home, so that the landlord knows it needs to be fixed!

What Can Violate Your Lease?

Remember, a lease is a contract, and if you violate it, you can find yourself without a place to live. In some buildings, keeping a pet is a violation of the lease, while others are happy to welcome well-behaved pets. You need to read your lease thoroughly and understand what you are and are not allowed to do while you live there.

Living in one of the Ohio University rental houses available should be a fun experience, and if you take the time to find the right living situation for you and your friends, it will be. As with most things, the key to finding the right lease is to know what you’re signing and stick to what you’ve agreed to sign. When you follow those simple steps, you’ll end up with a great living situation 99 times out of 100! For more information, contact Wharton Rentals right away.

Wharton Rentals is committed to making the off-campus living experience a positive one for college students in Athens, Ohio.

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