What to look out for when searching for student housing

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What to look out for when searching for student housing

Lauren Pullen, Contributing Writer

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One of the biggest decisions a college student makes is where they choose to live after freshman year. Here are some tips for apartment searching and things to know about expenses, leases and the best time to search for a new home.

When are the best times to look for apartments?

Rental companies and apartment complexes start opening applications for the next school year as early as October. Some of the more popular complexes may be picked over by spring, but that’s also when rates begin to go down. So, if you’re willing to wait, you can get better deals on condos and apartments. 

What are some things to look out for when signing a lease?

Know the difference between subleasing and joint leasing.  

  • Subletting, or subleasing, is a legal agreement by which someone who is renting an apartment or house is allowed to rent it to someone else for a period of time.
  • In joint leasing, both names are on the lease, and the tenant is renting out the property as a whole. In joint leasing, the entire apartment or house counts as a single unit. 

Renter’s insurance: Some insurance companies can cover an accident if something were damaged in your home, instead of the cost being on you. Some apartments require residents to purchase renter’s insurance, whereas others leave that option up to the tenant. 

Roommates: Think twice before automatically agreeing to live with your freshmen roommates and signing a lease with them in the fall. Think about whether you are truly compatible: Do you both like to keep your rooms tidy? Are you both early risers or night owls? Does one of you like to party, while the other prefers to stay in? The answers to these questions will matter when living with someone long-term. 

Pet Policies: If you are planning on bringing a pet with you or adopting one before you graduate, double-check your lease to make sure certain breeds and weights are allowed at your residence, and whether any fees are attached. 

Uncovered monthly expenses: Make sure to check and see if the monthly rental payment includes utilities such as water, cable or electric, and calculate those when you’re comparing costs.

Laundry: Although several places have built-in washers and dryers, some only have hookups or central facilities. Make sure to save your change if there isn’t a washer and dryer in your new home. If you’re looking to buy one, check out the Alabama Student Ticket Exchange or other sites for used units – but test them first.

Off-campus living and pricing:

According to a report by Apartment List, rent in Tuscaloosa has been slowly rising. Last year, median rents in Tuscaloosa were about $740 for a one-bedroom apartment and $900 for a two-bedroom, which is below the national average of $1190. 

For those looking for more affordable options, a good place to look for off-campus housing is through Affordable Colleges Online. It gives you resources to help find places for your budget and where you want your desired location to be.

Below are some off-campus places to consider and the prices. Disclaimer: The Crimson White does not officially endorse living at these apartment complexes. This data was chosen and compiled solely by the author of this article.

Crimson Place:  $620/month per room

Midtown Village: $565/month per room 

Capstone Quarters: $930/month per room 

Champions Place: $3,600/month per bed lease 

The Hub on Campus: $809+ per bed lease 

The Bluff at Waterworks Landing: $669+/month per room

The Grand at Rum Creek: $415+/month per bed lease 

East Edge: $815/month per person per installment 

City Heights at Skyland: $599+/month per room 

Riverfront Village: $710+/month per bed lease