A room of your own

What to do — and not to do — when you're ready for your first apartment
By DANIEL MCGOWAN  |  January 27, 2011

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It's junior year and the thought of ever having to deal with another RA telling you to stop using your George Foreman grill in your room makes you want to vomit. You're independent. After all, you have an Idaho state ID that says you're 32. It's about time you move into your own place, where you don't have to hide the bong and friends can visit whenever they want. But first, you probably need some advice. So we've compiled a list of everything you need to know when looking for that first apartment.


BEING A STUDENT MEANS NOTHING

There are a lot of landlords who want to rent to students, which makes complete sense given the amount of colleges in the area. But make sure you don't enter into a lease with anyone who might try to take advantage of you. Here's a good rule of thumb: Never rent from the guy who sells himself as the "cool" landlord. Usually he'll still attach a "y" to the end of his name (Joey!) and talk about ripping shots with you and your bros or tell stories about all the "hot broads" he rents to.

You don't want to deal with that shit. Allowing one of these douchebags to be your landlord will result in unannounced visits (you're supposed to get 48 hours notice) and a contentious relationship when you stop letting him drink your beer or refuse to sleep with him. Always remember that just because you're a student and this might be your first apartment, your rights are no different from the 45-year-old hippy who lives in the basement.


IF IT SEEMS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE, IT PROBABLY IS

Craigslist can be an awfully deceiving place. All the women appear to be extra horny, everyone has something to sell, and the sheer volume of available jobs will leave you wondering how unemployment is at a record high. So if you think you found a wicked good deal for an apartment, make sure you turn on that thinking cap that got you into college in the first place.

If it's an East Side apartment that features a Jacuzzi, pool, and utilities included for $225 a month, you're probably going to get mugged when you check it out. If the alleged landlord asks you to Western Union $1000 to East Bumblefuck, Nigeria, don't. If you ask who to make out the check to and the e-mailer responds by saying, "straight cash homie," it would be wise to look elsewhere.


FIRST, LAST, AND SECURITY

There are people who will tell you it is illegal for landlords to require first and last month's rent in addition to a security deposit when you move in. But according the Residential Landlord Tenant Act of 1987, he or she can do just that. If your parents are paying, this doesn't matter and you should just move along. But if you're working or using student loan money to pay rent, find a place that won't cost you so much up front and save that money for important things like booze and Gushers.


RENT INCREASES

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  Topics: Lifestyle Features , students, Craigslist, moving,  More more >
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