Whether your student is preparing to make the transition from on- campus housing to off-campus housing or from one off-campus property to another, there are several things they should keep in mind before and after the lease has been signed. Below are some tips to help make the transition a little smoother:
Encourage your student to select a roommate(s) he or she knows will be financially responsible for their share of the rent, utilities, etc. Some rental properties rent by the bedroom and therefore, students sign an individual lease and are only responsible for their portion of the rent. Others provide joint leases meaning all tenants are responsible for the rent. If one tenant does not pay their portion of the rent, the other tenant(s) is responsible for the payment.
Make sure you and your student read the lease carefully and keep a copy of the lease in a safe place for future reference.
Encourage your student to always correspond in writing with the landlord or the staff at the property, and always keep a copy of the correspondence with the date of the correspondence listed. A copy of any email correspondence is acceptable.
Take pictures or make a video of the rental property before your student unpacks and moves in. Document any damages or maintenance concerns and inform the landlord in writing of any pre-existing concerns. Ask for repairs to be made within a specified timeframe in writing. Document any maintenance concerns that may come up during the term of the lease in writing with the date of the correspondence and keep a copy.
Encourage your student to become familiar with the Alabama Tenants Handbook published by Alabama Appleseed, Arise Citizens' Policy Project and Legal Services of Alabama.
Utilize the services of Housing and Residential Communities Off-Campus Resources at or by phone at (205) 348-6676. If the property where your student will be living is a Crimson Choice property, your student can also utilize the services of that office. Crimson Choice provides a listing of all properties enrolled in their program.
Encourage your student to become familiar with City of Tuscaloosa Ordinances. For example, there are restrictions on the number of unrelated persons that can live together in a dwelling in Tuscaloosa. Several City Ordinances that impact the areas around campus can be found at the Off-Campus Housing Information website.
Your student should provide the property staff with an email address and phone number that are checked on a daily basis. If your student changes email addresses and/or cell phone numbers, it is his or her responsibility to inform the landlord of the changes.
For more information regarding off-campus housing, please contact Julie Elmore, Assistant Director for Off-Campus Housing and Residential Communities at email@example.com or by phone at (205) 348-9647.