Putting it lightly, living off campus – away from the sheltered nature of residence-life and living a short walk away from your classrooms – can be incredibly daunting. There’s a lot to consider, and TISA is here to provide some guidance when it comes to your future home for the rest of your time at Trent. An off-campus student already has an idea of how important this decision can be. There are many things to consider, including how close your house or apartment is to a bus stop, if there is laundry on-site, and who you’ll be living with. Most importantly, though: How much money is rent every month, and what does that include?
What is the maximum you are willing to pay every month? The amount of money you spend monthly is up to you, but the general rule of thumb is that the more people you’re living with = lower the rent. Granted, prices can differ from place to place, given what is included. The prime is if you can get everything – heat, hydro, electricity, and even internet – but that might not always be the case.
Also keep in mind that, for some places, rent would be divided equally, whereas for others, rent would be divided based on square-footage and the size of your room. This normally isn’t much of a problem for the landlord as long as they get their money every month, they don’t care. However, it is important that you and your landlord have a good relationship, just in case you need them if there’s a problem with the house itself, or if you need a reference if you decide to rent elsewhere after living in their place.
Where to start?
There is a wide variety of outlets that you can choose when starting to look for a house. Websites such as Kijiji and places4students.com are often good places to begin. If you’re looking for roommates, various Trent Facebook groups and the TCSA app are flooded with posts asking for spots that need to be filled in houses that are already in the process. Once you’ve figured it out, you would set up a viewing to go look at the place itself.
Pro-tip: When texting, emailing, or calling renters, be sure to come across as professional and serious about finding a place to live. These renters are not stupid and often looking for mature individuals who can bear the load of renting a place. Keep in mind that it is not your house, so it is important to be respectful.
Be aware of a house’s overall condition.
Ask questions! How old is the water tank? How old is the building? What’s included in the rent? Does the landlord live close by, in Peterborough, in case of an emergency? You’d want to keep all of this in mind. If you like what you see, then tell your landlord immediately. Take a few days to think about it and discuss with your housemates, but it’s better to act fast – with Trent’s continuous influx of students, there is a lot of competition in this process, and you are not the only student(s) to view the place.
Once you’ve signed the lease, you will most probably have to pay first and last month’s rent. Therefore, it’s important to set a budget for yourself. You’ll have to provide identification, and if you’re a first-time tenant, you might need to have a co-signer as well. This is a liability issue, and assures the landlord that you (and your co-signer) are responsible for paying rent on time. Some might even require a credit check. It’s a very high form of adult-ing that you’re doing here, so take it seriously!
Have your own questions for the people at TISA? Send them an email at [email protected]