Off-Campus LivingMany juniors and seniors choose to live off-campus during their junior and senior years. It’s a great way to get used to living on your own – juggling the responsibilities of budgeting your housing, food and utility expenses, and relating to a landlord.
When you’re ready to start shopping around for an apartment, contact Residence Life and ask for their apartment listing – which includes the names of landlords who rent apartments approved by the City of Moorhead and who have signed statements that they will not discriminate in renting those apartments. Either way, start looking early to ensure you can find a place you like.
You might also be interested in Student Affairs’ free off-campus contracts. These contracts are designed to protect the rights of you as a renter and your landlord. We highly recommend using a contract in all rental agreements.
The Moorhead Fire Department suggests looking for the following in an apartment:
- Complete kitchen facilities, including hot and cold water, cabinets, and operational stove and refrigerator
- Proper electrical lighting and switches in all rooms
- Ample electrical outlets in all rooms, including at least two in the kitchen, two in the living room and one in the bedroom
- Complete bath facilities with hot and cold water to proper fixtures, a bathtub and/or shower, toilet and privacy.
- Proper heating in all rooms and a safe furnace area
- Safe and uncluttered passageway to entrances and exits, and in all basement bedrooms, an emergency exit window that is not more than 48 inches above the floor and has a minimum area of 5.7 square feet – so you or a firefighter could climb through the window in the event of a fire
- Ample ventilation and lighting by windows – bathroom must have a window or mechanical ventilation and all windows must have storms and screens.
- General condition of floors, walls and ceilings
- Safe stairs, steps, porches and stairway handrails
- Properly maintained plumbing
- Ample size dwelling space – about 220 square feet for two occupants and another 100 square feet for each additional occupant
- Ample sleeping room space – about l00 square feet for two occupants and another 50 square feet for each additional occupant
- Ample ceiling height of nearly seven feet or higher.
- Smoke detector, required by law
- Fire extinguisher in each unit or on each floor
Ward off a few potential problems down the road by asking questions and writing down expectations and guidelines before you sign a rental agreement. Here are a few things to bring up with your landlord:
What is the amount?
Will it be an individual or a joint responsibility?
When is the rent due?
Can the rent be raised?
Are there any late charges?
What utilities, if any, are included in the rent?
Is a deposit required? If so, how much?
When and how is the deposit refunded?
When can I/we move into the apartment?
When must I/we be moved out?
What if one tenant moves?
How much notice is needed?
When and for what purpose can the landlord enter apartment?
Will prospective tenants be shown my apartment when I’m not home?
Repairs and Maintenance:
Who’s responsible for what?
Where is parking available and for how many vehicles?
Are plug-ins available? Is there an extra charge for their use?
Are pets allowed?
How long can guests stay?
Can I sublet the apartment?
Ask Your Roommates
Don’t forget to ask your future roommates a few questions before everyone settles in. Just like with your landlord, talking about a few things up front can help lay the groundwork for a better relationship. Here are a few questions to get you started:
- How many people can the apartment accommodate?
- What are the plans for the year for each roommate? Will any be gone for a few months to student teach, work an internships, study abroad, etc.?
- What are my roommate expectations? How will we divide chores and responsibilities? Are there rules for entertaining?
- When can guests visit?
Still Have Questions?
Contact Residence Life with additional questions or to pick up any of the suggested forms, lists and contracts.