Tag Archives | off-campus

Moving out of the dorm and into an off-campus apartment can be a complicated choice. Dorms offer the comfort of convenience and simplicity. However, there’s a big world outside of your dorm room, residential hall and college campus. That big world includes off-campus housing that could change the way you live as a college student. Although moving off campus can be a complex decision, it offers some major advantages that can make the choice easier. These advantages include: getting more living space, saving money, gaining life experience, setting your own rules and gaining access to a wide array of amenities. So, if you’re looking for a room for rent and you’re unsure if off-campus living is right for you, these advantages could help make up your mind.

Gives You More Living Space

Dorm rooms are notoriously small and sharing one with a roommate can make it cramped. They’re barely large enough to be called a “living space.” Although it may be cool to live in such a cramped space when you’re a freshman, such conditions could simply become unsuitable as you mature. Off-campus apartments for rent are much larger. Even a room for rent is typically much larger than dorm rooms. Besides that, off campus housing offers real living space. Apartments usually come with a real kitchen, private bedroom, living room and storage. Additionally, a larger, more adultlike space is easier to share with a roommate. It’ll also be more fun to hang out with your friends as well as easier to throw parties.

Helps You Gain Some Life Experience

New responsibility is something that most people don’t want, but it’s something that many young college students need to help them mature. Living off campus basically gives you a gentle push into adulthood. It gives you lots of new responsibilities, including:

  • Budgeting for rent, bills and other expenses
  • Cleaning, grocery shopping, cooking and performing basic maintenance on your living space
  • Troubleshooting problems in your apartment or arranging repairs
  • Understanding and signing contracts
  • Communicating and developing relationships with professionals that provide a service to you, such as the property manager, landlord and maintenance crew

Renting an off-campus apartment is also the first stone in your rental history. If you’re a good tenant, it’ll show in your rental history, which will make finding another apartment easier.

Living Off Campus Can Save Money

Unbelievably, many off-campus apartments are more cost-effective than on-campus housing options. But, you must be willing to look around to find the best deals. For example, renting in a popular neighbourhood will be much more expensive than staying in the dorms or renting elsewhere. Remember to do some research and choose an area that’s close to your university, yet affordable.

However, if you choose an apartment community like Residence on First you won’t have to worry about affordability or proximity to your university and amenities. This community offers affordable student accommodation with access to amenities in and around the apartment complex. Not to mention, all their rentals are inclusive, so you won’t have to pay any utility bills. Sharing the rent, bills and general cost of living with a roommate can make living off campus even more affordable. This is a luxury you can’t get with dorm living; because, although you live with a roommate, they don’t share half of your expenses.

Allows You to Set Your Own Rules

Dorms are full of rules, from curfews to restrictions on overnight guests. They also have a Resident Advisor (RA) who polices the students and enforces these rules. On the other hand, you set the rules at your own apartment. But, keep in mind that apartment buildings have general rules about pets, noise levels, amenity usage and occupancy. These general rules, however, aren’t nearly as restrictive as those found in dorms. In your own apartment, you can leave or come back when you want, party as much as you want, have as many guests as you want and basically do whatever you want (as long as it’s legal and non-destructive).

Gives You Access to Many Amenities

One of the greatest things about living in an off-campus apartment is having access to, or being close to amenities. Most complexes, like Residence on First, offer a multitude of amenities. For example, they offer free Wi-Fi, a study lounge, a ping pong table, a gym, a state-of-the-art theatre and so much more. Residences like this not only offer amenities, they also put you closer to them. Restaurants, supermarkets, shops, parks and more will be within walking distance. This will allow you to explore and experience more.


Making the move off campus may be a complex decision, but the reasons for doing so are simple. You’ll save money, have more room, be able to set your own rules, have access to cool amenities and gain some valuable life experience. Staying on campus may be convenient, but it can’t really prepare you for adulthood and living in the “real world.” In the end, living off campus has so many benefits that it can enhance your college experience and improve your quality of living.

 This article was contributed by guest author Madelene Pelchat.

Image by Terrah Holly, Unsplash.com

Image by Terrah Holly, Unsplash.com

Finding the right off-campus housing is an additional challenge to the transition period of a freshman in college. To help ensure you make the right decision, here are some guidelines to make the search easier:

Start early
Although more rentals become available within the university area in June and September, keep in mind that more people will also be searching for housing at this time. You may begin your search about 4 to 6 weeks prior to your move-in date. The earlier you start your search for a place, the higher your chances of finding one that meets your needs. It helps to contact the residential services department of your university so they can provide information on off-campus housing – most departments have a database of room providers to help you find a suitable place to stay.

Ask for details
When you find a place you like, take the time to ask important questions to the landlord first. You should settle and clarify the rental rate, what it covers, the deposit, and utility fees. Before you sign anything make sure you understand what you’re signing. You can also consult an expert to evaluate the lease or contract of the unit. Inquire if you can sublet the unit for the summer, if you take a leave, or what happens if you leave early to study abroad.

Inspect the unit
Set an appointment with the landlord for a day to visit the unit. You might want to bring a tenant’s resume along for an easier transaction. Personally visiting the unit will help you assess its safety and accessibility. Check if the unit has been properly inspected by asking to see a copy of the certificate of occupancy.

Find a roommate
A roommate will help curb your rental expenses, but keep in mind it will affect your happiness in your living environment. You’re lucky if you already have people who’ll move in with you whom you trust and get along with. But if you are still searching for roommates, social media is a great way to connect with potential roommates. You can also check out www.roomdock.com, whose security features and matchmaking system make them one of the safest, most reliable ways to help you connect with room providers that match your lifestyle.

Keep in mind that maintaining open communication with your roommate is important. This will help set rules on chores, payments, visits, and even the borrowing of things; you can also address other concerns regarding your set-up freely. Lack of open communication could lead to resentment, which might destroy relationships and affect your living conditions.

Below is a list of reliable websites where you can search for safe off-campus housing. You can also read the comments and testimonials on each site to help with your decision. Some of these websites will even assist you in looking for a roommate within your area.

This article was contributed by guest author Smith Tanny, a founder at Roomdock.com.

Image by jk5854, flickr

Image by jk5854, flickr

Congratulations! You’ve finally found a property that suits your needs, and you’re ready to make it official. Between the dense language of a legal contract and the pressure of an impatient landlord, it can be easy to feel as if you only have enough time and patience to quickly skim the lease before you sign, but remember – your lease is a binding contract. Once inked, you’ve committed yourself to its many rules and obligations. You need to be familiar with each responsibility that you and your landlord will be legally obligated to uphold for the duration of your lease. Here is a list of things you should know before you sign:

  1. What is a lease, exactly?
    A lease is a legal contract which requires you (the lessee or tenant) to pay the owner (the lessor or landlord) for the use of a property over a defined period of time. The lease comprises several numbered sections which outline all of the terms and rules by which you and your landlord must abide for the duration of the lease.

  2. A lease is not the same thing as a rental application.
    If you had to fill out a rental application prior to signing a lease, be aware that the application alone may not be a binding agreement to lease. The rental application is designed to give your landlord some personal information so he or she can screen you and ensure that you are someone they can trust to lease their property (and pay the rent).

  3. Read the terms and conditions of the lease.
    A legal contract is not exactly what one might consider a beach read, but I can’t emphasize how important it is to actually read your lease before you sign it. If you are having trouble with it, sit with a friend or family member and go through each clause together. If anything is unclear, call your landlord. In order to prevent being taken advantage of in the future, you should be well acquainted with your rights and any obligations for which you may be held accountable.

  4. If you are a smoker or pet owner, make sure to be aware of any smoking or pet restrictions in your lease.
    I’m serious – read your lease carefully! My roommates and I had a cat for eight months before we re-signed our lease and discovered a clause which prevented the ownership of pets in the apartment. Oops.

  5. Ensure the full name, phone number, and address of your landlord is on the lease.
    In case of emergencies, or if you need to call someone for repairs or maintenance, it’s good to be able to get in touch with your landlord as quickly as possible.

  6. Visit the property and ask questions.
    Investigate any prospective home before you sign yourself to it. Find out which utilities and services (heat, water, electricity, parking, garbage collection, maintenance and repairs) are included in the rent, and which ones must be arranged or paid for separately. If you plan on subletting your property, written approval of the landlord is often required. Ensure all of these details are written in the lease.

  7. Do not sign a lease with provisions you disagree with, and get any verbal agreements in writing.
    If there is anything that you are uncomfortable with, bring it up with your landlord – legal provisions can be negotiable. If you get any concessions as a result of your negotiations, ensure that everything you agreed to is written in the lease.

  8. Know who is responsible for routine maintenance, pest control, and emergency repairs. Get that in writing, too.
    It’s never fun when the toilet floods the apartment in the middle of the night, and it’s even worse when you have to call a plumber and pay an expensive fee out of your own pocket. If your landlord or management company takes maintenance requests, ask about availability and response times.

  9. Check the termination clause of the lease.
    Your lease may specify the number of months prior to the end of the lease you must provide your landlord before giving notice of your intention to terminate the lease. Otherwise, your lease may be renewed automatically, leaving you with a plethora of undesirable options – being stuck with your lease for another year, having to pay a hefty fee to get out of it, or going through the hassle of finding a replacement lessee to whom you might be able to transfer your lease. Also, make sure your lease conforms with applicable laws regarding the minimum amount of notice you are entitled to before you can be evicted.

  10. Get a copy of your lease, and keep it in a safe place.
    Remember, your lease exists so that you have verifiable proof of the terms to which you and your landlord agreed regarding your tenancy. In case of any problems, it is wise to keep a copy of the lease for future reference. If you have roommates, make copies for them as well.


Image by sincerelyhiten, Flickr

Image by sincerelyhiten, Flickr

Finding your first apartment or house out of residence is an exciting albeit daunting task. Here are five basic considerations you should make before beginning your search:

  1. Budget. Figure out how much you want to spend on rent each month. Keep in mind that you might have to pay extra utility fees if hydro and Internet are not included!

  2. Location. Choose the general area or neighbourhood in which you wish to live. Important factors might include proximity to campus, grocery or convenience stores, public transportation (metro or bus stop), laundromat (if there isn’t a washer or dryer in the building), and neighborhood safety.

  3. Furnishings. Some properties come with furniture, some don’t. Decide if you want to find a house or apartment that is already furnished, or if you would prefer to furnish it yourself.

  4. Building facilities. Any apartment perks that might interest you, such as a swimming pool, exercise facility, parking access, rooftop access, or security personnel.

  5. Roommates. If you plan on living with other people, make sure you all agree on the considerations above when looking for a property!

Now that you have an idea of what you are looking for, here are some easy ways to start your search:

  • Classified advertisement websites like Craigslist or Kijiji have sections devoted to housing. Always be careful when setting up appointments over the Internet.
  • Your university website might have a similar classified advertisement page for off-campus student housing.
  • Ask around! Friends in upper years might be moving out of their apartments, or might be able to put you in touch with someone who is.
  • Take a walk in the neighbourhood you want to live in.
  • If you see an apartment building you like, either call or go in and inquire as to whether any units are free.

You are now ready to set up an appointment to visit any of the properties that caught your eye.

Good luck!