Transitioning to off-campus life can be a tricky, and it is possible first-time renters can miss red flags as they look for the perfect place to live.
Chuck Bond, a Moscow landlord, said his first tip when calling about an apartment for the first time is to note whether it is a machine or a person that answers.
“If your furnace breaks down and it is zero outside, then you are going to want to speak to a person,” Bond said.
Bond said prospective tenants should take the time to read everything in the lease, rather than just glancing over it. He said it is not uncommon to have a lawyer or somebody else look over the lease as well.
Bond also said to be aware whether the student or rental company is held liable for damage or failures on the property.
“I had couple of tenants last year that said previously their plumbing failed and the management company told them to call a plumber,” Bond said.
ASUI Vice President Stetson Holman is the student chair on the Fair and Affordable Housing Commission. He said many students miss one of the most important aspects of the rental process.
“Fill in the sign-in sheet,” Holman said. “Document all of the damage, and take pictures.”
Holman said it is up to the lessor to complete the sign-in sheet, otherwise they may be held liable for previous damage.
Holman also said while it may be tempting, it isn”t always the best idea to move in with a best friend.
“You may be fine with each other, but when you move in with each other there may be little things that get on your nerves,” Holman said. “Maybe their financial situation is not right, and you may have to tell your roommate to pay rent, or they will be kicked out,” Holman said.
To help students with this process, Holman said ASUI will host Leases and Landlords, an event for first-time renters at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the Clearwater Room of the Idaho Commons. This event will be a forum workshop where students can talk to a local landlord and ask questions about renting for the first time.
Matthew Rueger can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org