If you’re a student looking for a condo and apartment this year, it’s important to know what the do’s and don’ts are for this style of living. Students that choose to live in condos and apartments need an understanding of lease agreements (longer-term contracts) and rental agreements (shorter term, usually on a month-to-month basis).
Finding Condos and Apartments in Guelph
Students that don’t live in campus residences, need to find appropriate housing in local apartments and condos. University of Guelph students make up a large part of the apartment and condo renting population.
Many, if not all, are first time leasers/renters.
It’s important for students, parents and landlords to understand what is involved with students renting and living in Guelph condos and Guelph Apartments. I’ll be sharing some dos and don’ts for students adjusting to their new living quarters. These tips are also great for those who maybe aren’t students, but first-time renters and leasers.
Guelph Condos and Apartments Do’s For Students, Parents and First-Timer’s
1. TAKE A LOOK AT THE PLACE YOU’RE LEASING OR RENTING BEFORE SIGNING
It’s always within a good practice to look before you buy—or in this case, lease or rent. For students that are coming to Guelph from out of town, it can be difficult to look at the property rental before signing a lease, but it is the most advisable thing to do. When you look at a property, you do not only get a sense of how you will live in it, but you can also see any problems first-hand, such as plumbing issues or door security issues.
When you do a walkthrough of the property (preferably with the landlord present) you can create a checklist of what you like and dislike about the property, and address any concerns you have about the property to the landlord. This type of “homework” before signing a lease is important for your satisfaction and to ensure that you have an attentive landlord if you do find issues.
If you can’t make it in to see the property first-hand, try your best to research past renters’ experiences from renting the property and their experience with the landlord. There are many forums out there to discuss your concerns with previous renters. You can also ask if the landlord has a walkthrough video or current photos of the property so you can evaluate as best you can.
2. FULLY READ THROUGH AND UNDERSTAND THE TERMS OF YOUR LEASE OR RENTAL AGREEMENT
A lease is an agreement issued by the landlord to the renter with a list of rules that the tenant needs to follow, the length of occupation the lease covers, and the rent due each month. The lease will also include the responsibilities of the landlord. A rental agreement is similar to a lease, but is shorter-term and may not include the same policies as a lease.
In the terms of a lease, there should also be details outlining the expectations for any security deposits, maintenance fees, repair fees and any other restrictions or rules that must be followed—such as no pets. The wording of a lease can be confusing for some, especially if it’s the first time looking at a lease agreement.
Through my experience in Guelph Real Estate, leases are where some disputes start. If one party did not fully understand their role in the lease, it can lead to a loss of money or legal action. Make sure to read through each section and highlight areas that you need more clarification on. Talk to the landlord about these areas prior to signing so you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into.
3. GET A REAL ESTATE AGENT TO HELP YOU
If you are struggling to find a place that fits your rental needs and budget, get in contact with a Real Estate Agent in Guelph. I have helped students and first-time renters find a Rental Apartment in Guelph that suits their lifestyle, and I have also helped these same people understand the terms of leases.
Turning to a Real Estate Agent can save you a lot of time and headaches. A Real Estate Agent like myself will have the most knowledge about the city of Guelph and what it offers to students and first-time renters. For example, knowing which spots are popular amongst students can help those moving into the city make new friends easily. By talking with a real estate agent, students, parents and first-time renters can
Guelph Condos and Apartments Don’ts For Students, Parents and First-Timer’s
1. DON’T JUMP INTO SIGNING A LEASE OR RENTAL AGREEMENT
This correlates to the second point of the “Do’s” section, but as a Real Estate Agent, I would not recommend signing things hastily. By taking the time to read through all sections of the agreement, you educate yourself on the landlord’s expectations and you can ask the appropriate questions prior to signing to gain clarity on clauses you are unsure about.
2. DON’T BREAK THE TERMS OF YOUR LEASE WITHOUT KNOWING THE CONSEQUENCES
Unfortunately, not every leasing situation is favourable (which is why some students will rent on a month-to-month basis). In the event that you need to break your lease, you will have to deal with the consequences.
Remember when I talked about understanding the terms of a lease? Well, if you do read your lease thoroughly, you should take note of the Lease Opt-Out Clause that is included by most landlords. In the Opt-Out Clause, the consequences of ending a lease early will be outlined.
Now, depending on the landlord and what their practices are, you could be let off with paying a fee to break the lease early, or you may have to give them advanced notice so they can find a replacement tenant, or you may need to find a sublet (person who will rent from you in the span that you cannot) that can cover the rest of your lease.
The exception to this, is needing to break a lease due to living conditions. If you believe that the place you are renting is unlivable, you become deployed for military duty, or if there are other circumstances that prove the place is unfit according to city laws, breaking your lease is not penalized, as long as these issues are addressed with the landlord. For example, if there is a breakout of bed bugs in the building, it is your responsibility to bring up the landlord for them to address and solve in accordance with Ontario’s laws. If they are unable to solve the problem within a reasonable amount of time, the renter is then able to break the contract without penalties.
3. DON’T LEASE WITHOUT KNOWING HOW YOU WILL COVER COSTS
It’s simple to say, “I’m going to lease/rent as a student,” but it’s another thing to actually be able to afford it. If you are going to be signing a lease, make sure you have the funds to cover the entirety of the lease based on the monthly rental fees and additional costs for maintenance, repairs, etc., or make sure you have the means to make these payments with a loan or by working a part-time job while studying.
If you are unsure of your costs and how long you will need to be living in Guelph, it is more advisable to go with month-to-month renting. This way, you won’t be tied into a leasing agreement for more than you can responsibly handle, and you won’t be burdening yourself or the landlord with breaking a lease and dealing with the consequences.