Moving Off Campus A Practical Guide for NMU Students So…you’re moving off campus This presentation will address a number of topics relevant to that process. The goal is to help you avoid potential pitfalls and better prepare you to have a successful off-campus transition and renting experience. Information and printed materials for this presentation were adapted from resources available from Illinois State University, Colorado State University, Northern Illinois University, the University of Oregon, and the University of Buffalo. Current NMU students also shared their experiences and contributed advice. First things first To move off campus, you need to satisfy NMU’s Housing Requirement. Available online here: http://www.nmu.edu/housing/node/54 All single undergraduate students shall live in University residence halls while enrolled for classes at Northern Michigan University; provided, however, that this requirement shall not apply to those undergraduates who: have reached junior status (56 or more hours of college credit) prior to registration for classes for the fall semester or have resided four or more semesters in residence halls, or are (21) years of age or older on or before the last official day of registration for the fall semester, or are residing at home with their parent(s) or legal guardian(s)*, are veterans who qualify for veterans’ benefits by virtue of active service in the armed forces, or are taking 8 or fewer credits during the semester in question. *With a typical class schedule of nine (9) credits or more, it is expected that the commuting distance from their home will be no greater than 60 miles. The Housing Requirement is a Condition of Enrollment (NMU Student Handbook - Student Code which is available online at http://www.nmu.edu/handbook/?part=3) which must be met throughout the academic year, including spring and summer sessions. Ask yourself… How much money would you have to earn each month to pay rent and utilities? How stable is your employment? Would a financial aid overage check be sufficient? What other expenses will you have? Be specific. Take a real look at your anticipated expenditures…are your figures realistic? Ask yourself… Considering things like living costs, safety, shopping, laundry, and parking, What locations are practical? Ideal? Is living outside of Marquette truly more affordable? What about fuel costs? How much time will you spend commuting? Does that matter to you? The BEST place! Or is it? Ask yourself… Are you prepared to pay two months’ rent and utilities as a deposit? That’s likely more than $600 dollars before you even get to move in! Ask yourself… We should chat… This’ll help: “Things to Discuss with a Roommate” Do you want to live by yourself or with others? Are you prepared to live with your roommates for the entire lease (usually 12 months)? How well do you know your future roommates? Would you trust them with your safety? Security? Credit score? Ask yourself… Do you know Marquette’s ordinances and laws? Are you familiar with your rights and responsibilities as a renter? Click to download a copy…and add it to your favorites! Ask yourself… Pets are great! BUT…do you really need to get a pet right away? Are you certain that your lease allows pets? Will you be home enough to adequately watch after your pet? Stuff happens…what would happen to that pet if you were evicted? How do you start? Answer some more questions…and be specific with your answers! Create a list of potential places and start making calls: How much can you really afford to pay every month? Not just rent…utilities, insurance? Is it worth it in the long run to use your financial aid overage to pay for rent? What type of place are you looking for? Apartment building? House? What’s the roommate situation? Do you know and trust these people? Is it a good decision to live with these people? Why? Start NOW…the process takes longer than you might think! Consult local realty companies (www.nmu.edu/dso) NMU’s Off-Campus Housing Listing (www.nmu.edu/dso) Word of mouth? Facebook? Be proactive and schedule appointments for showings. You will need to make phone calls! Selecting the right location Look at more than one place! Do not sign a lease for the first place you view! “Location, Location, Location” Commuting distance (walking/cycling/driving/bus) Is it safe? Crime stats for the neighborhood? Windows close and lock? Door locks function as they should? Parking spaces vs. number of cars? Condition of property? Do toilets flush? Does electrical work? Exterior of property look OK? Does it fit your personal and academic needs? Privacy? Study room? More to consider Bills Draft a roommate agreement to address financial and personal expectations We should have a “Roommate Contract” Personal and household. How much? Create an Excel file. How will they get paid? Who will pay them? When are they due? Create a schedule. How much rent/utilities/insurance per person? Food? Personal space and boundaries? Closet usage? Cleanliness and other household chores. Bathrooms? How about overnight guests? Other visitors? Parties? PETS…are they the right choice, right away? About that lease… READ IT. Read it again. Have roommates do the same. Ask questions about terms you don’t understand. Reputation of landlord/company? Check with the city clerk about complaints/violations…talk with current tenants if you can. Were their concerns resolved to their satisfaction? Know your rights and responsibilities…refer to the Tenants and Landlords guidebook. Need some help What are your options if something happens and you figuring out what all cannot meet your obligations? those terms mean? Can you sublease? Click for a guide to Do you forfeit your deposit? “Renter Speak” Move in reminders Meet your neighbors. Community relations and neighborhood etiquette are important…your apartment is not a secluded island! Be a respectful neighbor. Even though you live off campus, all NMU students are responsible for their conduct. Reacquaint yourself with the Student Code. Renter’s insurance is a smart investment. Before you purchase, find out if your family’s homeowner’s insurance covers you as a renter. Take photos to document the condition of the property on move in day. This protects you against being held responsible for damage you did not cause, and can save you from losing your deposit. Consider posting emergency contact information in a common area. Police. Parents. Fire department. Etc. Maintain your connection with campus. Aside from attending class, what will you do to maintain your connections with people no longer living “right down the hall”? Money saving tips Carpool. Bike. Walk. In general, Marquette is very bike and walk friendly. Plan your meals in advance…buy some groceries. You can also bring snacks to campus so that you don’t have to buy food from a vending machine. Turn off the lights when you leave a room. Close the door to save on heating costs. Do you really need cable? NMU’s WiMax is free for students, and available most places in town. Still need help? We are here to help! Contact the Dean of Students Office: [email protected] www.nmu.edu/dso (906) 227-1700 Information contained in this presentation is the property of Northern Michigan University’s Dean of Students Office and may not be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical photocopying, recording, scanning, or otherwise, except as permitted by written consent of the Northern Michigan University Dean of Students Office (www.nmu.edu/dso).