August is here and now the apartment search begins in earnest for thousands of students across the country. For many students, this will be the first time they have ever lived away from home. So what should you be looking for when you begin your apartment hunt? The Greenwin team has put together a few of our top tips to help students along the way.
Visit Multiple Apartments - A common mistake that students make is only making an appointment to view one apartment, thinking that they will automatically get it if they like it. This is a problem because a) you may end up not liking the apartment at all, and b) many students will also be viewing the same suite, hoping to secure a place to live for the upcoming semester. Prevent disappointment by viewing at least three or four apartments to give yourself choice and a plan b in case your preferred apartment is rented by someone else.
Make a List - If you're living on your own for the first time, you probably don't know what you SHOULD look for in an apartment. Before you even begin your search, take some time to sit down and make a list of the features you would like to have in an apartment. This can range from in-suite laundry to air conditioning. Then further separate those features into "Needs" and "Wants" - in other words, if you find a place that doesn't have air conditioning but does have in-suite laundry, you need to decide if you can make due without one of your preferred features.
Roommates - Many students will live with one or more roommates to help offset the cost of rent and utilities. Keep in mind that the people you choose to live with should be compatible with you. For example, are you a very neat and tidy person? You probably will not much like living with someone who is the polar opposite of you. No matter who you choose to live with, you should always have open communication to prevent any hurt feelings. Before you move in, discuss how you will handle bills, who will write the cheque for rent, if you will share groceries, etc. Don't be afraid to schedule monthly house meetings if you are living with many different people.
Know Your Rights - It's important to have a basic understanding of the Landlord Tenant Act in the province you reside in. It affords you, the tenant, many rights that you may be unaware of. In addition, it also affords the landlord/property manager the same amount of rights. To avoid confusion, spend some time reading about the Act in your province.
Ask Questions - Finally, when in doubt - ASK! Your new landlord will be able to provide you with the information you need to ensure a smooth and happy tenancy for all. Good luck!