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Renting 101

As you begin looking at the options, find out the basics:

  • Look for online reviews and news articles about the neighborhood and the complex or building.
  • Ask current or previous tenants about their experiences.
  • Learn about the application process and whether you’ll be charged a fee to apply.
  • Tour the property before signing the lease. Ask questions and take photos. If you aren’t able to take the tour, have a roommate or someone you trust to go in your place.

Signing the Lease and Moving In

  • Remember that a lease is a binding contract
  • Read the entire lease before you sign. Signing a lease indicates you have agreed to all its conditions.
  • Take pictures and note any damage to the property before you move in so you will not be held accountable for it when you leave.

The Numbers
Make a monthly trial budget that includes your monthly income and recurring expenses:

  • Rent and utilities
  • Renter’s insurance
  • Tuition, books and supplies, parking, food, entertainment, etc.

Before You Sign
A few questions upfront can prevent problems later on

  • When is rent due and how do I pay? How much are late fees? When do they apply?
  • Are any utilities included in the rent?
  • Under what circumstances will you enter the property without notice?
  • Where can I park? Is there a parking fee? Is guest parking available?
  • Can I sublet if needed?
  • What is the process and timeline for renewing or not renewing the lease?
  • How do you handle emergency repairs?
  • How much is the security deposit? What factors are considered in refunding deposits?

Renter’s Insurance

  • Your landlord’s insurance will not cover your personal belongings.
  • Renter’s insurance helps you replace your belongings if they are stolen or unexpectedly damaged, such as in a fire.
  • It’s not that expensive, and some properties require it.


This list is not exhaustive, but it will provide a good starting place as you plan.

Questions? If you’re considering commuting to UT or already living off-campus, we’re here to help! You’ll find lots of useful information at, or stop by with any questions or concerns.