No matter where you choose to live, safety is key. Keep the following in mind!
Check to see that windows and doors are in good condition and have secure locks.
Visit the unit both during the day and at night.
Make sure that there are working smoke detectors in the unit.
Check for adequate emergency exists.
Call the Campus Escort Service if you will be going home late at night: (717) 948-6232.
Talk to the current tenants of the unit and ask them how their experience has been living there.
Has their place ever been broken into?
Has their car ever been broken into (both in the parking lot and/or on the street)?
Lease Terms and Recommendations
The following information is intended to assist you in determining what lease is right for you and also to make sure all important topics are covered within the lease. These recommendations should be used only as an aid and do not cover all topics that may arise when reviewing lease options.
Remember, a lease is a legally binding contract between the tenant and the landlord. Please review the Landlord and Tenant Act of 1951 (PDF) for a full list of your legal rights as a tenant.
Important items that should be reviewed prior to signing a leasing contract include:
Rent: The lease should clearly state how much the rent will be per month, as well as the due date. It should also clearly state what utilities, if any, are being covered by the landlord and also what utility expenses the tenant is obligated to fulfill.
Late Fees/Penalties: Be sure that the lease clearly states when the rent is actually considered past due and how late fees will be handled. Landlords may hold you accountable for a daily late fee that can add up over time. Also, be cautious when entering into a lease with another student/tenant. Be sure to ask the landlord what, if any, penalizations or late fees will be incurred should the other tenant not pay the amount they are responsible for.
Security Deposit: The lease should specifically state how much of a security deposit is required. This deposit is usually required by all landlords and held in escrow for the duration of your lease. At the end of your lease these funds are used for any necessary repairs or if there are no necessary repairs, the deposit may be refunded back to you. Be sure to take pictures of any already existing damage at the property prior to move-in. Please view this helpful Damage/Repair Checklist (PDF) in order to perform a thorough walk-through and review of the property. The landlord cannot hold you responsible for damages prior to your lease term.
Length of Lease: Leases vary in their lengths. Be sure to check if the lease is on a month-to-month basis or a ten or twelve month lease. The lease should also state the stipulations for early termination of the lease and also any repercussions associated with early termination.
Tenant/Landlord Responsibilities: The lease should clearly state the responsibilities of both the landlord and the tenant including: lawn upkeep, trash pickup, snow removal, etc.
Pets/Smoking: Specifications for both of these topics should be explained in the lease. Some landlords allow pets with a non-refundable security deposit and/or a monthly fee in addition to the monthly rent.