Three steps that assure happy housing next year

It seems as though I’ve just finished setting up my new apartment, decorated it to my liking, rearranged the furniture the way I want and have gotten everything I need necessary to live. But now that I’ve settled into my home, I already have to start thinking about my living situation for next year.

Finding a place to live for next year is a process that brings anxiety and stress. There are so many factors that influence the decision to live somewhere and you have to do it early, otherwise all the good places will get snatched up.

But if you keep the following things in mind, apartment hunting won’t be the daunting task that it seems to be.

*Have an idea of your budget for rent*

It’s important to know what you’re willing to pay for an apartment. Know your limits with what you can afford and always keep in mind that there are other expenses you have to pay outside of rent, like utilities, water, and garbage disposal. Some companies include these expenses in your rent.

*Double check the company online*

There are plenty of sites that review the apartment company leasing to you. Ask your friends who have signed with the company and find out how they have treated their current tenants. It’s always good to know who will be providing you a home for next year.

*The lease*

Read through the entirety of the lease. Make sure you understand exactly what is expected of you, know what responsibilities fall on you and check that the move-in dates/move-out dates don’t conflict with anything, like school starting.

Another important factor to keep in mind is the subleasing policy; make sure that if you need to sublet the apartment for whatever reason, you have the option to do so and what the fee is for subletting, if there is one.

Additionally, checking the pet policy is a must. Most places usually don’t allow pets to live in the units (unless it’s something that can stay in a fish tank), but there are a few that do. So, if the idea of parting ways with Fluffy for semesters at a time is too painful, there are options.

What it comes down to is reading the lease in its entirety. The document may be long and tedious, but it has everything you need to know about what is expected of you as a future tenant. Before signing, make sure you know and understand everything in the lease. If there is something that isn’t clear, ask questions — and ask often. You may feel dumb practically conducting an interview, but it will make your life that much easier when you know exactly what to do if situations arise.

If signing a lease is still stressful, the tenant union is a great resource that makes sure students don’t get ripped off.

_Fides Araneta is a junior in Media._