Going to college or university gives you the chance to experience the world in a whole new way. For many students, it’s the first time that they live on their own without their parents watching over them. While you might feel tempted to go a little wild, you should still be responsible and make smart choices. Though many schools have dorm rooms available for students, you also have the chance to rent from a private landlord and live close to your campus. Student tenants should check out some tips they need to know before they rent.

Be Aware of Scams

It’s easy to come across a few rental scams, especially if you have never rented before. You’ll find these scams on all of the popular websites that offer rentals. One common scam is an apartment that seems almost too good to be true. The person posing as the landlord will claim that they don’t live in the area and that you need to send your payment through Western Union. As soon as you pay, they stop talking to you. If you come across an apartment that looks amazing and is cheaper than any other rental, it’s probably a scam.

See What Your Rent Covers

One thing that students don’t think about is what their rent covers. You might find a place that seems cheap until you realize that you are responsible for all of your utilities. Some of the top student housing in Austin, TX options include all utilities in your monthly payment like your internet and electric bills. Others may only pay for water and trash and ask you to pay for all of the other utilities. If you need to pay multiple bills a month, you might forget one and have a utility turned off.

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Consider Different Types of Rentals

A big reason so many college students move off-campus is that they’re tired of living with other people. As you search for rentals, make sure that you look at the different types of available places. Some apartment complexes have studio units. A studio unit is usually quite small and has a bathroom off to one side and another room that serves as your bedroom and kitchen. If you need more space, you might consider an apartment with one bedroom. The Austin area also has shared rental homes where you get a private bedroom but share the common spaces with other students.

Know Your Leasing Options

Knowing the different leasing options is the best way to find the right rental and avoid hidden fees. Not all leases are suitable for college students. If you sign a lease for six months, you may need to find another place to live before the school year ends. A lease that lasts for a full year may require that you pay a high fee if you move out before your lease ends. You should look for rentals owned by people who work with college students. They usually offer leases that let you stay for one or two semesters. You may even have the chance to stay a little longer if you need more time to move out or decide to take summer classes.

Check Out the Area

Before you sign a lease, always check out the area. If you plan to rent a private home, take some time to drive around the neighborhood. This lets you know if nearby houses let off fireworks and have fights in the middle of the night. For apartments, spend some time in the complex itself. You want to know if there are features to keep students safe, like locked doors in the lobby and security cameras. Checking out the complex also helps you see if the residents are quiet or if they like throwing wild and crazy parties.

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As a college student, you have more options beyond just living in a dorm room. Though some schools require that you live in a dorm room for at least one year, you have the chance to rent from a private landlord later. You can rent a house or an apartment and get the space you need. Make sure you use these helpful tips as you compare rentals and before you sign your lease.


Bryan Cunningham

Zombie maven. Musicaholic. Friendly student. Unapologetic organizer. Hipster-friendly internet geek.