Mar 082010
Authors: Kathleen Harward Director Student Legal Services

Absolutely not. You should take your time. Once you sign, you are obligated. A lot can happen between now and August to change your circumstances, and changed circumstances don’t get you out of a lease. Fort Collins has a 6.3 percent vacancy rate. That’s in your favor and means there are plenty of rentals to choose from — now and later in the summer. Landlords like to “prelease” or lock in rentals early, but this is not necessarily good for tenants. Don’t be lured by advertised specials — a few bucks in discounts or gift certificates aren’t worth locking into a multi-thousand dollar lease before you are ready.

However, you should definitely check out the Housing Fair tomorrow in the Lory Student Center presented by Off-Campus Life.

Many landlords will be showcasing their properties at the fair. It is a great way to get a feel for rental prices and types of properties. But don’t let anyone pressure you into signing in a hurry.

Be suspicious of any lease. Before you sign anything, you should read and understand and be willing to live with every word in the document.

You should also have thoroughly inspected the actual unit you’ll be renting. Read our lease tips to learn what to look out for: (under the housing topic).

Understand that if you sign a joint liability lease with roommates, you, and your parents if they sign a “guaranty,” can be legally liable for all unpaid rent and damages caused by your roommates. Talk with intended roommates to gauge compatibility over issues like partying, studying, cleaning, food and having guests over.

Go slowly. Read our tips at and schedule an appointment with us in Room 182 of the Lory Student Center.
Kathleen Harward is an attorney and director of Student Legal Services, which provides free legal advice to fee-paying CSU students. Letters and feedback can be sent to

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