Student Affairs - Fostering Student Learning and Success

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Moving Off Campus

Moving off campus can be a more complicated process than you might think. Inattention to important details can cost you and your peers hours of frustration and lots of money. Resources on this page will help guide you through finding a safe and fair lease, budgeting in your new residence, hooking up utilities, solid waste management, and advice on sustainable living. Good luck, be safe, and be responsible!

Things to consider when looking for off-campus housing:

  • Location- walking distance to campus? Within biking range? On the bus line?
  • Residential Type- single family house? Apartment?
  • Costs- Rent. Utilities (water/sewer, internet, cable, power). Transportation/Parking. 
  • Lease length- 9 months, 12 months, is subleasing allowed?
  • Roommates/Housemates- How many? Note: Chapel Hill has a 4 unrelated persons occupancy limit.
  • Amenities- Pool? Gym? Laundry? 
  • Accessibility- If you have a disability, is the property accessible for your needs?
  • Pet Friendliness- Are pets permitted? What types? Are there up-charges for pets like additional security deposits?

Resources

Student Legal Services

If you have questions or concerns about signing a lease, tenant-landlord issues, or roommate legal issues, contact Carolina Student Legal Services for free advice, or call (919) 962-1303, or email csls@unc.edu for more information. CSLS is located in Suite 3512 of the Student Union.

What to look for in a lease

  •     Specific dates of occupancy (and contingencies if you are moving into a new property or one undergoing significant renovation and the property may not be ready by the stated move-in date)
  •     Amount of monthly rent and the date it is due each month
  •     Amount of security deposit
  •     Responsibility for payment of utilities
  •     Responsibility for general maintenance and repairs
  •     Sublease: If you sign a 12 month lease but think you may need the dwelling for a shorter period of time, make certain the lease allows you to sublease (rent your dwelling to another person who will assume the remainder of the lease)
  •     Whether or not pets are allowed and associated fees with the allowance of pets
  •     Automatic renewal clause
  •     Type of lease: joint or individual

What to avoid in a lease

  •     At management's discretion, the tenant may be asked to leave regardless whether or not the lease has been violated
  •     Tenant waives all defects in the unit
  •     Landlord shall not be responsible for injury to person, including tenant and guests, as a result of any cause.
  •     Tenant is responsible for all repairs to premises
  •     Landlord may enter dwelling without notice
  •     Landlord has a lien (a legal claim on the property of another as security for the payment of a debt) on all personal property of tenant

Always:

  •     Inspect your new residence for damages and document them before you move in (the Police Department will come to your home and perform a free safety inspection, and the town can send over a Code Enforcement Officer)
  •     Establish and sign a new lease when moving in...don't "pass down" leases
  •     Check with UNC Student Legal Services (http://www.unc.edu/student/orgs/sls/home) if you have any questions, concerns, or issues before, during or after you sign a lease

Budget

Before you begin your search for off campus housing, you should consider what your budget is for rent each month. For some leases you will be paying rent, utilities, cable, and internet so budget for these costs, also. Some other costs to think about include: food, renter's insurance, and any other personal expenses you may have.

Check out the Related Files link at the top of the page for access to a Budget Planning Worksheet!

Utilities

One of your responsibilities living off campus is having to contract with companies to provide your utilities services. These services could include electricity (power), gas, water/sewer, trash collection, cable, internet, and telephone. Depending on where you live the providers for these services may vary. Specific leases may provide one or more of these services for you, or may instruct you to the providers in your area. Please consult your landlord or leasing agency for specific information regarding your utilities.

When splitting the bills with roommates be sure to have an agreement in place before you move in. You do not want to put a bill under your name and be late in payments. It will be your credit that is impacted if there is a default in payments.

A tool to help divide roommate bills is called “Simple Bills”: http://www.simplebills.com/

Some common Chapel Hill/Carrboro utilities providers are listed below:

Trash and Recycling

Conservation and Sustainable Living

If you are interested in creating environmentally friendly and sustainable practices in your new residence, these sites can help you get started: