My first apartment!

Background: I’m starting my 4th (and final) year of university in a few days. For the last three years I’ve lived in the dorms, a world of bad roommates, drunken/pothead neighbors, closet singles, shower shoes, fattening cafeteria food, and sagging twin beds. So this year I moved off-campus into my first apartment!

I’m living with two friends in the bottom two floors of a house near campus. The house was built in 1844, which boggles the mind of this Californian. I didn’t really anticipate it being much different from the dorm: we’d have a kitchen and larger rooms but we’d have to clean our own bathrooms and couldn’t call university maintenance when something broke.

However it’s much more different from the dorms than I anticipated. When we moved in the place was a dump. There was a hole the size of a pizza box in the floor of my room. After the landlord fixed that I’ve had to contend with piles of dirt, actual dirt, on the ground, cobwebs everywhere, and the hair and fingernail clippings my summer sublettor left inside my brand new dresser (apparently he also tried to keep a mouse he found in the room as a pet. Except instead of buying a cage he just kept it under an overturned bowl on the counter and tried to feed it protein powder. eeeeew)! I swept, swiffered, vacuumed, and mopped my wood floor but it still felt dirty so I covered it up with a carpet. I bought a bunch of those hooks that stick to walls without destroying them so I can hang up clothes but it turns out that some previous resident has banged nails into one of walls at irregular intervals to use as hooks instead. It works I guess.

At first I was really nervous about the situation but now that I’m almost all moved in and I’ve put up posters and pictures, I’m getting really excited about living here for the next year. We just got our first newspaper on the doorstep this morning. I’m also really enjoying my double bed and full kitchen.

Any words of wisdom for a first-time renter?

edit: spelling error

Since your landlord has already come in for repairs, that’s a good sign, but do take the time to find out your rights and responsibilities as a renter. Your campus off-campus housing office should have some information booklets about what is and isn’t legal and how you should handle conflicts with your landlord.

Set up a schedule/chores list with your roommates to be sure that things get done. It sucks to be the one person taking out other people’s trash every week! Set up an arrangement for rent/bill payments to be sure they are in on time, and don’t cut anyone any slack!

Good luck and have fun!

Congrats on your new digs!

My only advice as a survivor of many years of renting, in school and out, is this: GO TO CLASS.

You’re not on campus any more, you’ve got things to do, maybe you have to catch a bus early in the morning to get to the university. Don’t let it become a pattern - go to class!

Other than that, yeah, chore list is good, be considerate, try to get to know your neighbours/neighbourhood, and enjoy yourself!

Avoid any joint use bills you can, such as a cell phone instead of a land line. This is one of the really bad ones, because a dead beat may stick you with a $500 phone bill. Don’t put all the bills in your name. Be sure that the roommates send out the bill payments on time. Don’t trust that they will. The main theme is don’t blindly trust your roomies, be sure about anything that that might affect you.