UVM BORED Moves Off-Campus

Buell, North Willard, Isham, Loomis, Hickok just to name a few. At one point most UVM students have wandered through these tightly packed streets either out of curiosity or in search of upperclassmen buddies. As a first-year student living off-campus seems like an alien concept. Landlords, security deposits, roommates, grocery budgets, utilities?! The transition to off-campus living can seem a little overwhelming, however the move can be rewarding in life-skills.

Lingo

Looking at a lease agreement can be very overwhelming. Agreements are often long, complicated and full of confusing terms. However it is important to sit with your landlord and take time to go through your lease. Listed are a few terms that are commonly tossed around in lease conversations.

Common Space: Space in your apartment that is shared with tenants on different leases, often laundry rooms, lobbies or entrances are common spaces.

Guarantor: Someone who agrees to pay for your rent.

Normal Wear and Tear: The small damages that are expected to occur over the term of a lease. These are covered by your landlord. Be sure to come to an agreement with your landlord over what their definition of normal wear and tear is.

Quiet Enjoyment: An agreement that your landlord will not walk into your unit without prior notification.

Security Deposit: The additional month of rent that covers damages that occur to your unit. If no damages occur you receive this money at the end of your lease.

Sublet: another person who lives in your unit and agrees to pay either a portion or all of your rent.

Tenant: That’s you! The person who occupies property rented from a landlord.

Utilities: Monthly gas, electric and internet bills that tenants are often required to pay.

Finding an apartment off-campus

The apartment search is overwhelming. It can be difficult to find an apartment in Burlington with reasonable rent that is close enough to campus. However, UVM has fabulous resources to help students find a place off campus.  UVM’s off-campus housing website is an easy-to-use resource created to help students and UVM affiliates find apartments, roommates and subletters.

Many students also use external resources to find an apartment. I have found Zillow and Apartments.com to be excellent sites for finding properties. Facebook is also a common place for tenants to find roommates and subletters.

September is the prime time to find apartments for the upcoming year. Although, don’t fret if you’re late to the game because spaces are opening up all the time although they may not be your dream apartment.

Other costs

Keep in mind heating an old house during a record cold-snap in January will quickly drain your bank account. Often student houses are close to a century old. Outside of rent, utility bills can fluctuate in prices however during the coldest and warmest parts of the year they will skyrocket. Compared to dorm-life I am much more cognizant of turning lights off and keeping the thermostat turned way down to minimize these costs.

For many, moving off-campus also means grocery bills. Depending on the person food budgets can fluctuate greatly. However more cost-conscious grocery stores are just a short drive down Rt. 7. Signing up for a savings card will keep grocery costs even lower.

Living off-campus is full of new responsibilities and frustrations but the freedom makes it all worth it. Hopefully this article makes the transition a bit easier. And remember, broken windows are unfortunately not covered under normal wear and tear.