Things You Need for Your Search
- Time Time Time! One of the most important things for RISD students is time. Your time is important and should be valued. Your housing is also important and therefore deserves some extra time and patience. You will need to spend some time looking at spaces and neighborhoods. If you plan on having roommates, you will also need to coordinate schedules. Plan on starting your conversations about what kind of space etc. with your potential roommates as early as November before the academic year you plan on living off campus.
- Money: Most spaces require you to put down some money when signing a lease. These deposits are typically non refundable and can be as much as 2 months rents. Most apartment complexes also require and application fee along with references from previous landlords.
- Check List: When planning and discussing what you (and your potential apartment mates) discussed your needs you should have made a list of must haves and things to look out for. Be sure to have a check list ready for each place you visit so you can make sure it meets everyone’s needs.
Apartment safety is of most importance. Before signing the lease there are several things you should be looking for to make sure the apartment is safe and the landlord is responsive to any concerns that you have, especially when it comes to security.
- How are the locks on all entrances? Check all the entrances to see if there is a peep hole for you to look at who is at the door. Make sure no one can look into the apartment from the peep hole.
- How sturdy are the windows? Are there screens for summer months? If you are on the first floor or your windows are easily accessible from the street, pay extra close attention to this.
- Ask the landlord who has access to the apartment? Do they change the locks when old tenants move out? Do they hire outside help to fix things? Will you need to be home if something needs to be fixed or does the landlord key in?
- Is there a security system? Are there any other safe guards, like a fence or cameras?
- What kind of neighborhood is it? There are some neighborhoods that are more prone to break-ins. Ask your peers about this. Keep in mind that you may be walking back to your apartment late at night, is the apartment on a well lit street? Will you need to uber or call RISD rides?
- What happens if there is an emergency? If your heat is broken in the winter months or you aren’t getting any hot water? How long does it usually take to fix this? Is this something the landlord would fix or hire help for?