Feb 152004
 
Authors: Amy Resseguie

Though it is still early in the semester, some students are

beginning to consider where they will live next year, said Jeannie

Ortega, director of Off-Campus Student Services.

Ortega suggests students seriously begin searching in

mid-March.

“That is the prime time that landlords and property management

companies will know their availability for the following year,” she

said.

OCSS will host a Housing Fair on March 24 in the Lory Student

Center ballrooms.

“It’s a great time to start a housing search,” Ortega said.

“There will be many apartment complex managers and landlords that

will be advertising their places.”

OCSS will also hold information sessions in the residence halls

in late February to inform students of various housing options and

lease issues.

Some things students can do now to begin the housing search are

to create a budget and decide whether and how many roommates they

would like to have, Ortega said.

“Start doing a search based on affordability,” Ortega said. “Do

I want to live in an apartment or do I want to live in a

neighborhood?”

Housing Solutions, 1212 S. College Ave., offers students

assistance in finding rental homes, condos or town homes, as well

as providing a roommate locator service, Owner Wendy French

said.

Housing Solutions’ big kick-off is the CSU housing fair, French

said.

“We deter people from looking right now, but on March 29 we

start showing our properties,” she said.

French said Housing Solutions is starting to put together their

inventory now.

“People are starting to look, but most don’t want to do a lease

just now, because they often have to put money down right away,”

she said.

However, once students begin actively looking at homes and

apartments they should act quickly, French said.

“We’re pretty much out of (homes close to campus) by the end of

April … (and) stuff is pretty well picked over by May,” she

said.

French said that although some renters might offer lower prices

later in the spring, often it is because the home has not been as

well maintained.

Apartment vs. House

Ortega said students should weigh the advantages and

disadvantages of both houses and apartments when deciding the type

of rental they want.

“Some utilities are already covered when you are in an

apartment,” Ortega said.

Other students may prefer to rent or buy a house because “it

feels a little more like home, and there’s a little more space

between you and your neighbors,” Ortega said.

However, she added that students should consider some of the

extra issues that come with a house, such as yard maintenance,

parking regulations and noise issues.

“As you move in, you’re also depending on what the culture of

the neighborhood is around you,” she said.

Other issues can arise if students are living in a neighborhood

that is populated by mostly residential, single-family homes.

“A person in that situation may find themselves in conflict with

other neighbors if their behavior is a little out of the ordinary

for that neighborhood, like multiple cars on the street, lots of

noise and parties,” Ortega said.

One trend that has become increasingly popular is for parents or

students to buy a house, Ortega said. Current low-interest rates

make this a more feasible investment opportunity.

“The thinking behind it is if a parent purchases a home, the

equity that is built up over the four years (a student is in

school) will be enough to pay for their child’s school,” she said.

“The equity of the home, theoretically, they’re hoping will be

equal to the cost of the tuition of the student.”

Leases

Lease and legal agreements are another important consideration

for students comparing rental units.

“Students should probably have their lease reviewed by an

attorney before they sign it,” said Kevin Daley, director of

Student Legal Services. “At the very least, they should read their

lease carefully and understand all the terms and conditions.”

Legal Services is updating their Web site to include

approximately 50 to 75 sample leases attorneys have critiqued.

Students can compare their own lease to those online at

http://www.colostate.edu/Depts/SLS/index.html.

Daley said the majority of issues SLS deals with regard a

student’s security deposit.

In order to protect a student’s security deposit, Daley

recommends completing a thorough checklist of the unit prior to

moving in and providing a copy for the tenet and the landlord.

Daley also suggests taking pictures of the condition of the unit

during move-in and move-out.

“Think ahead, use some foresight … towards the end of your

tenancy, write a letter to your landlord and ask for a close-out

inspection,” Daley said. “That way you’re putting it on record that

you expect your deposit back and you want your landlord’s opinion

on what else needs to be done.”

Daley also said students should choose any potential roommates

carefully.

“If they’re signing with roommates they are likely going to be

responsible for their roommate’s rent and damages,” he said.

In reviewing a lease, Daley said students should look for a

repair clause stating that the landlord will make any repairs that

are not caused by the tenant.

“The first clause I look for in a lease to see if a landlord is

being fair when it has to do with attorney’s fees,” Daley said.

“Should the parties have to litigate in court … if the lease

requires the tenants to pay for the landlord’s attorney’s fees, I

know right off the bat that the landlord is not a very fair

landlord.”

Daley said the lease should declare the losing party should pay

for the winning party’s attorney and court fees.

Off-Campus Student Services Info Meetings

  • Feb. 19, 8 p.m. – Corbett Main Lounge
  • Feb. 23, 7 p.m. – Durrell Center, DC Bottoms
  • Feb. 24, 7 p.m. – Edwards basement
  • Feb, 24, 8 p.m. – Newsom TV lounge
  • Feb. 26, 5:30 p.m. – Allison Cafeteria
 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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