Rider’s Guide to Off-Campus Living
Ready to move off campus? Though it can be an exciting and rewarding experience, moving off campus is a major decision. One that requires planning ahead and lots of homework.
Before you make the transition to off-campus living, we want to provide you with this guide to ensure that you are knowledgeable, capable and properly equipped to venture into this whole new world.
First Things First!
- Determine a budget: Set a price of how much you are looking to spend a month for rent and utilities. Consider using an online budget tracker and planning app, such as Mint, to accurately calculate an initial budget. Once moved in, continue using your budget app to help you to stay on top of your monthly bills, spending and even your credit score.
- Living with roommates?: When selecting your potential roommates, choose wisely. Find roommates with a similar budget and decide early in the process of how you will divide costs. Also, determine ground rules and establish your “non-negotiables”, or must-haves.
- Location, location, LOCATION!: Before you begin the search process, start by asking yourself; “how far do I want to live from campus?”, “do I want to live in a house or an apartment?”, “is my desired neighborhood safe?” To learn more about and determine your ideal neighborhood, use NeighborhoodScout to find statistics on the area that you’re looking to live in, including crime.
Starting Your Search
- Find the perfect place: Begin your search by visiting rental sites like apartments.com, rent.com or zillow.com to find listings in your desired area(s). You can also find resources on campus by looking for postings or “for rent” signs in the Student Recreation Center (SRC) or by contacting the Office of Student Involvement for an off-campus housing list of available rooms, apartments, and homes in the local areas.
- Create a “walk through” checklist: Develop a checklist to use during your apartment search. Use this list to inspect the unit to locate signs of rodent or insect infestation (i.e., chew marks or droppings), confirm that apartment outlets and/or appliances are functional and determine any issues that need to be fixed. Before signing your lease or moving in, revisit this checklist with your landlord or rental agent to ensure all marked issues have been resolved.
- Understand your lease: Never sign on the dotted line until you have fully read through your lease. If you have questions, get them answered directly by your landlord or rental agent to avoid future confusion, and obtain any changes to your lease in writing.
- Know your options: If necessary, do secondary research on utility options for gas, electric, cable, and internet to compare costs, and be aware of all available alternatives in your area.
- Protect your belongings: Securing renters insurance shortly after moving in is an affordable way to protect yourself, and help to replace your personal belongings in case of an accident.
Be A Good Neighbor and Member of the Rider Community
- Say hello: Introduce yourself and get to know your neighbors in order to establish a positive relationship. Further, keep the lines of communications open by exchanging contact information in case of emergencies.
- Give a heads up: Notify your neighbors in advance if you plan to host a gathering, and offer a direct contact for neighbors to connect with you, or your roommates, should an issue arise (i.e., noise or trash from guests).
- Be considerate and respectful: Just because you’ve given your neighbors a “heads up” about hosting an event doesn’t mean you forget your good manners. Social gatherings should conform to the standards and time limits specified by your living community. Failure to adhere to these policies could result in disciplinary action or cause damage to your relationships with your neighbors.
- Keep it clean: Always remember, neat and clean is the perfect scene. Once moved in, establish good practices early on to maintain the appearance of your property, and help keep your neighborhood clean. Practices may include taking out the trash in a timely manner or clearing snow from your sidewalk or driveway in an adequate amount of time.
- Stay connected with your Rider family: Although you have moved off campus, you are still an important member of the Rider community! Remain active on campus by continuing to take advantage of all of the academic, professional and social opportunities that Rider has offer.