Rental Tips Every College Student Needs       

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Unless you’re a “trustefarian” or a Trump, you’re not likely to own property while in college. And unless you’re living in a dorm or a sorority or fraternity house, your only option is renting a house, condo, or apartment. Because you’re not world wise just yet, there might be some temptations by less than trustworthy landlords to try to take advantage of you. The last thing you want to is to have to dig yourself out of debt before you even graduate. You don’t have to have your retirement savings all lined up by any means, but you want to avoid getting into a financial pickle at such a young age. It’s best to arm yourself with knowledge, so read on for rental tips every college student needs.

Make Sure Your Credit Is Good

You likely don’t have too many dings against you on your credit when you’re in high school but, then again, more and more kids are getting credit cards. It’s best to run a free credit check on yourself to make sure you are in good standings. One thing you know for sure is that your landlord will do rental credit checks. If you do by chance have bad credit, there are things you can do to improve it. First and foremost, pay your bills on time. If there is any way you can pay off some of the debt you have—whether it’s through a bank loan or a loan from your parents—do this. Moving the money around onto different credit cards doesn’t help your credit. Also, don’t necessarily close out credit cards that you’ve recently paid off. Leaving the accounts open without running up the balances will help improve your credit score.

Remember to Read the Fine Print

We know, we know, the local college pub and your future is waiting. College is an absolute blast but if you blow your living situation, it could quickly turn into a nightmare. Make sure to read the rules set by your landlord on things like pet policies, security deposit, renewals, recycling policies, utilities, and insurance. Keep a copy of this on hand in case you need to refer back to it. The one thing many renters are shocked by is how much landlords tend to keep from their security deposits to fix damages. And let’s face it, college students aren’t known for being the cleanliest, most upstanding renters. Another thing that’s been added to the list of fine print in recent days is whether or not you can list your place on sites like AirBnB. College students might be tempted to make money when they’re home for spring break and/or Christmas but you could get kicked out for doing so if this is against your landlord’s policy.

Research the Penalties

Many landlords have penalties for breaking leases, but they’ll also include information about your opportunity to renew in that initial paperwork as well. Study it closely, as college students tend to move every school year. You need to make sure you don’t have to pay a steep fee if you leave before the contract is up. If you really love the rental place and want to renew it two years in a row, you need to make sure this is an option as well. Also, make sure you know whether the landlord has designed the lease around your school year or if it’s a full 12-month agreement. Some kids do summer school so, if you think this will be in your future, you should make sure this is all set up in advance.

Assess the Role of Your Parents When Renting

Many landlords will require a co-signer on the lease for someone so young. Make sure both you and your parents know what their responsibility is in the case of late rental payments, security deposits kept to cover damages, etc. College is stressful enough—you don’t need any big surprises come semester break.

You’re off to college! Enjoy! And make sure to read some of these rental tips to avoid detracting from undoubtedly the most wonderful time of your life.

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