The Housing Search Begins

As the daughter of a badass real estate agent, I refuse to be taken advantage of by the Burlington landlords just because I am a college student. And when it comes to finding an apartment, it’s the perfect time to make sure you have all your bases covered. Don’t be scared, you’ve got this! I was nervous about searching for off-campus housing and didn’t know where to start. So, I have created a “tips and tricks” sheet for almost everything surrounding living off-campus. Below, you’ll find tips on finding a roommate and housing and how to go about furnishing your apartment and setting up utilities. I’ve linked a TON of resources that can answer pretty much any question you have. I also recommend giving the Off-Campus Living Guide (PDF) a thorough read and contacting OSCR (UVM’s Office of Student and Community Relations) with any questions you have about the logistics of living off campus! 

Finding a Roommate: 

a cartoon image of a group of people gathered in the foreground of a brightly-colored city scape with grass

There are many ways to find a roommate, mostly online. It’s totally okay to live with someone “random” if you can’t room with your friends. The best piece of advice I can give you is if you don’t like someone, you sure shouldn’t live with ’em. Compatibility is critical!

You can post/find roommate-related things on….
  • Your class’s unaffiliated Instagram page
  • Your class’s official Facebook page
  • The UVM off-campus housing roommate portal
    • There’s a high chance a friend of a friend or a classmate is also looking for a roomie. 

Finding a House:

an image of many brightly colored apartment buildings overlapping eachother

You’re going to start searching for next year’s housing as SOON as classes begin. Think I’m kidding? Housing in Burlington is in high demand, so it’s not unusual for students to sign their leases and secure housing in October/November for a June 1 move-in date. Ensure you find a place that suits all your needs, such as… 

  • Parking 
  • Laundry 
  • Pets
  • Distance from campus/grocery store/your job
  • Bathroom-to-room ratio
  • Storage needs

After you figure out (generally) what you want, you can start your search! Remember, you can’t always look for a place on Zillow; it costs money to post rentals there. So, check out these other websites as well. 

Your Roof, Your Rules:

an image of a cartoon doll house that is opened up with a picknick bench and couch in the foreground where the house is opened up

It’s finally come the time for you to make your own rules. But that comes with responsibilities. You have bills to pay, an apartment to furnish, and best friends to live with. 

For utilities, make sure to…
  • Check with your landlord for specific companies you need to use 
    • If you have wiggle room, make sure to compare prices for certain utilities. For example, is it cheaper for you to get wifi from Burlington Telecom or Xfinity?
  • Turn your utilities on BEFORE moving in and off BEFORE you move out 
    • Make sure you pay your bills on time!! Many companies offer some form of auto-pay, which I would use unless you want to get billed for overdue fees. 😶
To furnish your home…
  • Check Facebook Marketplace for more affordable options for large furniture (couches, desks, chairs, etc.)
  • Utilize the Spring Move-out Project to either get or get rid of furniture!
  • Walk through the neighborhoods downtown to find (usually free) things people leave on the side of their curbs! 

So You’re Scared to Sign a Legal Doc: 

cartoon image of a group of people gathered around a very large clipboard that has a contract on it

I remember being absolutely terrified of signing my lease because I was worried I didn’t understand it and would accidentally violate it and thus be sued… 🧐. My biggest tip is just to read the document over and over and over again and look up any phrases you don’t know. I am not a lawyer, so it wouldn’t be helpful for me to try and explain renter rights to you. But below, you’ll find documents outlining pretty much every single right you have as a renter and what it means to sign a lease in Vermont.

In these documents, you can find…. 
  • The steps to beginning a tenancy, legal protections, housing codes, moving out, evictions, and responsibilities of each party.
  • Contact info for various agencies such as social and identity centers, enforcement agencies, and counseling and legal services. 

That’s all I have for you, but make sure to check out the links above if I didn’t fully answer your questions. Below, you’ll find some additional phone numbers that may be helpful to you as a renter! You can find more phone numbers and contact info on the last pages of the Off-Campus Living Guide from UVM.

Landlord/Tenant Information
  • UVM Office of Student & Community Relations: (802) 656-9405
  • Vermont Tenants: (802) 864-0099
  • UVM Medical Center: (802) 847-0000
  • UVM Student Health Center: (802) 656-3350
  • UVM Women’s Health Clinic: (802) 656-0603
Support Services
  • Community Information and Referral: 211
  • HOPE Works (Ending Sexual Violence): (802) 863-1236
  • Howard Center (Mental Health Services): (802) 488-6000
  • Outright VT (LGBTQ): (802) 865-9677
  • Planned Parenthood (Medical and Reproductive Health): (802) 863-6326
  • Pride Center of Vermont (LGBTQ): (802) 863-0003
  • Spectrum Youth & Family Services: (802) 862-5396
  • Steps to End Domestic Violence: (802) 656-1996
  • Vermont Cares (HIV/AIDS): (802) 863-2437
Resources for UVM Students
  • Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity: (802) 656-3368
  • Alcohol and Drug Counseling: (802) 656-0784
  • Counseling and Psychiatry Services: (802) 656-3340
  • Men’s Outreach Coordinator: (802) 656-3340
  • Parking and Transportation: (802) 656-8686
  • Student Legal Services: (802) 656-4379
  • Student Financial Services: (802) 656-5700
  • Burlington Electric Department: (802) 865-7300
  • Burlington Water Department: (802) 863-4501
  • Chittenden Solid Waste District: (802) 872-8111
  • Green Mountain Power: 1-888-835-4672
  • Vermont Gas: (802) 863-4511