Students planning to live off Grounds are urged to keep these guidelines in mind before signing a lease:
- Determine what is covered in the rent when considering how much you can afford.
- Ask if there are additional expenses, such as utilities, cable, or Internet connection. Some rental agencies include certain utilities in the cost of rent, so make a note of which ones are covered when signing a lease.
- Be sure to check the parking in and around the complex (is there a monthly fee for parking, is a city permit required, or is it open parking?). Much of the parking in Charlottesville (including on-street parking) is restricted to permitholders.
- Whenever possible, parents should go with students to meet landlords and look over a rental property prior to the lease being signed. Generally, the landlord and the tenant will walk through the property to make sure that everything is in working order. Another option is to review the lease with Student Legal Services prior to signing.
- Review security needs with the landlord and discuss whether changes, if any, will be at the landlord’s or tenant’s expense. These details will be included in the written lease. Some features are controlled by city building codes and may not be under the landlord’s control.
- Purchasing renters’ insurance is strongly recommended if student possessions are not covered by a parent’s homeowners’ insurance policy.
- Always take safety into consideration!