To sign or not to sign: That is the question

Should I stay or should I go? Many students at this time of the year are contemplating this very question. Leasing for some apartments for the 2011 school year is starting this month, and students are deciding weather they want to renew their current leases or search for new apartments.

Why so early, you may ask? I mean, the semester just started and many students have only been living with their current roommates in their apartments for about five weeks.

Well, according to Esther Patt, the Tenant Union’s coordinator, it is because of vacancy rates.

Property management companies want to try and fill up their apartments early to avoid vacancy.

There are certain pros and cons to renewing your lease, and if you are a student trying to decide what to do, listen up.

The Tenant Union has been serving students for 39 years, and while Patt says that many students use this resource, more students need to know it is available to help them.

“The advice given [from the Tenant Union] is about real things that happen to real students,” Patt said.

Patt says if you are considering renewing your lease there are a lot of things you have to consider.

“There is a high risk for signing early,” Patt said.

Many students believe they have to sign early, or they won’t get an apartment. Patt says this is not the case and that there are always apartments available at all times of the year.

However, Patt says if you have your heart set on one apartment building, then it might be smart to sign early.

Students often make their decision on where to live based only on location. Patt says that students should consider their roommate and landlord situation as well.

“[Students] do not have enough information to know whether [their] landlord is [reliable] or not,” Patt says.

Patt says there are a few benefits to signing early.

Firstly, you do not have to move and secondly, you avoid the “gap period” in between leases.

Overall, convenience is definitely a pro if you renew your lease.

Alix Orwig, the leasing coordinator for Bankier Apartments, agrees with Patt that convenience is a bonus for renewing a lease.

It is also a double bonus for property management companies because they don’t have to find a new tenant.

Orwig also said that property management companies “love getting renewals because it means we are doing our job right.”

Min Seok, a junior in LAS who lives by himself in a two bedroom apartment, decided that convenience was the deciding factor for him.

Seok says he is happy where he is and just wants to stay in one place until he graduates.

However, the cons seem to outweigh the pros. Patt says because of the early deadline, students don’t have enough information in order to make a wise decision about renewing your lease. A lot can change in a year.

For example, your roommate situation could change in a year’s time.

You never know if you will still be friends with your roommate in a year or if your roommate is potentially studying abroad.

Also, students don’t know how much utilities cost yet or how the condition of their apartment is during all the months of the school year.

“Every year I pray for rain during the first week of classes so that the [students] whose roofs leak will know before they renew there lease,” Patt said.