When young adults set out to attend college or university, they are often hit with a dose of reality and a hint of sticker shock. After paying their tuition, students are faced with their next largest expense, housing.
When it comes to accommodations, students can go one of two routes; on-campus or off-campus housing. Of these two living arrangements, J Turner Research surveyed over 7,000 students and found that 69% indicated that at their school, it’s cheaper to live off-campus.
While off-campus living is often cheaper, there are certain costs to factor in when creating a budget. Prior to moving off-campus, students should familiarize themselves with some of the costs and fees which are typically incurred. The following are some expenses to plan and budget for, when moving off-campus.
This type of fee is more common in apartment buildings and communities. A tenant will be required to pay a fee for an application, before being considered for an apartment. The price varies from region to region, but it can be anywhere from $50 to $150+. This is an administration fee for management to conduct a credit check, background check, employment verification, etc.
First & Last Month’s Rent:
First and last is pretty straightforward; however, students who are first-time renters may be unfamiliar with this common policy. Many landlords and property managers will require a tenant to pay both the first and last month’s rent, before moving in. If the rent is $600/month, the student tenant must provide $1,200 before getting the keys.
It’s often a requirement for tenants to pay a refundable (and interest-accruing) security deposit. The rental laws of each region determine the maximum security deposit allowed, but it’s typically about half a month’s rent.
Some landlords and property managers will require another deposit for pet-owners. Much like a security deposit, the amount varies from region to region according to rental laws. Often the deposit will be more for larger dogs, in comparison to a small cat. If a tenant owns a pet, it’s best to seek out a pet-friendly accommodation. Expect to pay anywhere from $100 to a few hundred dollars for a pet deposit. It is refundable as well, given no damage is caused to the rental unit by the pet.
Student renters may be required to set up their own utility accounts, if utilities are not included in the lease. The process of opening a new utility account will often require the tenant to pay a registration or account set-up fee. These fees are generally fairly small, ranging from $20-$50. But if the new account holders have a limited credit history, they may be required to pay a security deposit to each utility company. These deposits are typically a few hundred dollars, ranging from $100 - $400 and are refundable as well.
If student renters have their own car, they will likely need to buy one or two parking passes. The first will be for their college or university; and often costs a few hundred dollars for the full academic year. The second parking pass would only apply to renters who live in areas with limited parking, such as apartment communities.
In most cases, renters insurance is very affordable and can be easily fit within a student’s budget. Typically, a student can find renters insurance for approximately $175 - $300 per year ($15 - $25 per month). While this type of insurance is not mandatory for students, it can be an affordable investment with peace of mind.
Most of these costs are a one-time payment, many of which are refundable. Even after factoring in these fees, in most cases, off-campus housing is still the more affordable option.
SEE ALSO: Do Students Need Renters Insurance?
The Places4Students.com Team