UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN River Falls

How to Pick a Place

People have different priorities when it comes to selecting housing.  Ask yourself what is important to you.  Do some background research to gain a basic idea of the neighborhood/apartment complex. Asking the current tenant about the landlord and neighbors can provide valuable insight in to any problems they may have experienced.  When you are ready to check out available rentals, view the rental listings page in the resources section.


Most importantly:

  • Do not sign a lease without touring the property beforehand.

  • Be leery of special deals to get you to sign a lease quickly.

  • View each of the topics below to make sure you are evaluating all aspects of the rental.

Location
  • How long does it take to travel to campus?

  • Can you walk/bike or do you need to drive to campus?

  • If driving, how much will it cost to park your car?

  • Are there other students nearby or is it mainly a single family neighborhood?

  • Are there any amenities nearby (e.g. grocery stores, restaurants, laundromats, gas stations)?

Safety

One extremely important safety tip to note is never view/visit a house or apartment alone.  Always bring a friend or someone with you.

  • Would you feel comfortable living there, daytime or nighttime?

  • Would you feel comfortable with the landlord?

  • Are all the windows in good condition and lockable?

  • Are there any smoke/carbon monoxide detectors?

  • If the apartment has a security system, is it working?

  • Is there more than one fire exit from the unit?

  • Is the entrance well lit?

  • Is your view blocked by shrubs?

  • Who has access to the house key, and when were the locks last changed?

Responsibilities
  • Is there snow removal service provided, or will you be responsible for shoveling snow?

  • Is there a lawn service, or will you be mowing the lawn?

  • Does the lawn have to be watered or is there a sprinkler system?

  • Who pays for the water?

  • Has the unit been cited for code violations recently?

Quality of Accommodations-Exterior
  • What type of parking is available (e.g. off street/garage/assigned spaces)?

  • Is the parking sufficient (one space per car)?

  • Is visitor parking available?

  • Is the parking area well lit?

Quality of Accommodations-Interior
  • Is the unit furnished?

  • What is included?

  • Are laundry facilities provided?

  • Are cooking amenities (e.g. stove, refrigerator) in working order?

  • Will moving in/out be difficult due to stairs?

  • Will your furniture fit through the door/hallways?

  • Does the unit have good sound insulation (especially in apartments)?

  • Is there any evidence of pests? Are the ceilings and walls in good repair?

  • Is the carpet/floor reasonably clean? Is the plumbing adequate?

  • Is it too loud (check taps and toilets)?

  • Is there a good supply of hot water (ask current tenants)?

  • Are there sufficient electrical outlets? Are there adequate telephone/cable jacks?

  • How old is the unit?

  • If looking at renting an apartment, can you hear the people above or below you?

  • Is there enough storage space (e.g. closets, basement, garage)?

Lease Agreements
  • What is the minimum and maximum length of the lease?

  • Is the amount of security deposit written on the lease?

  • Is subletting allowed?  If yes, who is responsible for subletting?

  • Is a pet deposit required?

  • Are there monetary penalties for code violations?

Cost
  • Is there an application fee?  Landlords may charge an application fee to check your credit worthiness and any prior eviction history.

  • How much is the rent?

  • When is the rent due?

  • What is included in the rent (e.g. trash, water)?

  • Who is responsible for paying utilities hookup/installation fee?

  • What is not included in rent? What type of heating is used (e.g. gas, electric) and how may that impact your heating bill?

  • What are the late fees if you do not pay your rent on time?

  • If you own a pet, what is the pet fee and/or pet deposit?

  • Is there a weight or breed restriction on pets that are allowed?

Contact Us

25H North Hall
715-425-3344
FAX 715-425-4980