The following are things to keep in mind as you are looking at possible off-campus living options.
I. Basic Lease Information
The purpose of a lease is to outline the terms of the relationship between the landlord and the tenant. A written lease protects both the landlord and the tenant. Things to look for in a lease:
- length of lease
- amount of rent
- responsibility for utilities
- responsibility for maintenance
II. Security Deposit
If you damage the unit in excess of normal wear and tear, the landlord may deduct from your security deposit the cost to repair the damage. You will want to document the condition of the unit when you sign the lease, and/or first take occupancy.
III. Town Laws and Ordinances
By choosing to live off-campus, you face challenges and responsibilities different from the college residence halls. You will not only be a student of Westminster College, but also a citizen of the borough of New Wilmington. With that new status, come certain responsibilities as well as privileges.
- Noise - the level of noise from a unit is not to exceed a certain level beyond the property line
- Property - snow must be removed, grass cut
- Animals - must be leashed, licensed, and are also subject to noise ordinances
- Alcohol - providing alcohol to minors, selling without a licence, host liability
- Parking - no street to use of parking lots for overnight parking
- Occupancy - no more than 3 unrelated people may occupy a single unit
IV. Friendly Suggestions
Here are some ideas to make your quest for Off-Campus housing a whole lot easier!
- Visit the borough office. (Across from Alice’s Pizza, behind the Fire Station) They are able to provide lists of landlords, and contact information. The borough can also provide utility estimates for units and properties in town.
- Get to know your neighbors.
- What can you afford?
- Register to vote, and make your presence in the community count.
- Sort out money and responsibilities with roommates EARLY.