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Safety Solutions

Off-Campus Housing...a picture is worth a thousand words!

Posted by John Baker on May 28, 2015 3:22:43 AM

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College students need a safe, convenient, affordable and comfortable place to live where they can focus on academic issues and social development. For some students they elect to remain in on-campus housing, and for others they elect to move to off-campus housing. Many colleges today have an entire segment of Student Affairs or Residential Life staff that works with students who wish to live off campus. These offices provide information, not legal advice.

As a campus law enforcement administrator with more than 31 years experience in the field I can say that the overwhelming majority of those who move off campus have a very positive experience. However, there are several areas that regularly surfaced regarding these rentals that could have been avoided if the following was followed:

  1. Read the lease thoroughly and note anything that is unclear. Often there are on-campus services that can interpret the legalese of some rental leases. Look closely for a fair repairs clause that will spell out what repairs the landlord is responsible for and what is a reasonable length of time for repairs to be completed. Make sure it is clear how needed repairs are reported. Keep accurate written records of all correspondence.
  2. The #1 problem reported by students when moving out of off-campus housing related to security deposits. Before you move in your first box take pictures of the entire apartment. Document stains on rugs, holes/scrapes in walls, broken fixtures, dirt in windows, burn marks, in other words, photograph everything. Complete a check-in sheet (often supplied by either the landlord or your on-campus housing office). If you can get your rental agent or landlord to accompany you – do it. This will be your only chance to show that you didn’t spill grease on the rug or punch a hole through the wall. Send a copy to the landlord and of course keep a copy for yourself.

When you move out the process must be repeated. If you need to file a demand for a refund or a dispute of charges letter your position will be much stronger with good documentation. Again, your campus office which provides advice for those moving off-campus can be extremely helpful, but you have to ask.

 image courtesy of www.rochester.edu

For Safety Solutions 4 Schools this is Wayne Silcox

Topics: School Safety

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