Living off campus is part of the college experience. Here are some things to think about when considering your off-campus destination.

Slow down. You may be excited about a new property, an outstanding model unit or your friends want you to sign immediately. Take a deep breath before you sign a lease.  Make an appointment with Student Legal Services for a lease review. We’ll go over the lease so you know what you are doing.

Lease contracts are almost impossible to cancel. A signed lease contract obligates you to thousands of dollars in payments. You are expected to pay the entire lease amount even if you don’t have a guarantor. Talk to your parents about guaranteeing your lease before you sign.

Protect yourself. Take pictures and videos of your apartment’s condition before you move in. These pictures and videos help protect you from move-out charges. Also, fill out the move-in inventory outlining the existing damage and return it within 24 hours so you don’t miss the deadline. Make sure to keep a copy for your records.

Keep everything. Find a safe place to keep hard copies of every document related to your lease. Also, all communication with the landlord must be in writing, e-mail, text or through the property’s online portal.

Deposit vs. fees. Knowing what you are paying for is important when you sign the lease. A fee is gone forever and will not be refunded. A deposit can be refunded after you move out depending on the circumstances.

Be a good tenant. Abide by all of the lease’s provisions and community rules. Correct your behavior when asked.

Visit www.depts.ttu.edu/sls/ for more information about living off campus and related legal issues. Call (806) 742-3289 to set an appointment for your lease review before you sign that lease agreement.

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