Things to know before you sign your lease

By on April 4, 2018

By Bailey Campagna —

Finding housing in college can be confusing. Here is a breakdown of all the most important parts of deciding where to live.

Types of housing

U of L students can live off-campus or in student housing.

Student housing includes anything on campus like residence halls, Unitas Tower and Kurz hall. Payment for on-campus housing is directly billed by the university.

Some off-campus housing near the university is officially affiliated with U of L. This list includes The Nine, The Clubhouse, The Bellamy, The Province and The Arch. The Retreat is not an affiliated property.

According to U of L’s Campus Housing’s User’s Guide to Affiliated Housing these properties work with the university, but the university does not bare the burden of fixing any problems that occur.

The user’s guide says the university is not involved in the payment process for affiliated housing.

Signing leases

Lily Mathews, The Clubhouse leasing consultant, says one of the most common mistakes students make is signing a lease before they are fully ready to commit.

“Make sure you have all your options weighed out and that you know what you’re doing,” Mathews said.

Mathews said once a student has signed a lease they can’t get out of it unless they sublet to another person. Subletting allows someone to take over the lease and normally requires a fee.

Mathews said if a student doesn’t show up on move-in day after signing a lease, the remainder of the money owed on that lease goes to a collections agency and onto their credit report.

“If you have an account in collections it can look really bad on a credit report,” Mathews said.

The user’s guide said every lease is different and encourages potential tenants to read everything.

“Ask questions and once you feel comfortable then you can sign,” the guide said.

Mathews said a guarantor or a co-signer is needed if the tenant’s credit is not high enough to sign the lease by themselves.

“A guarantor is an individual or an entity that would sign on to a lease agreement with an affiliate property and, in the event a resident cannot pay a fee imposed by the affiliate property, the guarantor would pay the cost,” the guide said.

Financial aid

According to the user’s guide, “If a resident wishes to use financial aid to pay rent, the student will need to first wait until they receive their residual funds, and then pay rent with those residual funds.”

“Residual funds are financial aid you have in excess of your institutional charges,” Sandra Neel, U of L Executive Director of Financial Aid, said. “Normally checks are received in the first week of school in the fall or first week of school in the spring.”

Neel said all U of L scholarship money can be given back to students as residual funds.

“All scholarships can go back to students as residual if they aren’t used to pay your tuition, but U of L has a stacking policy so you can’t receive more than a certain amount,” she said.

Neel said that all of U of L’s scholarships are meant to be used to pay for anything related to students’ tuition, room and board.

“So, if a student isn’t living on campus, then they get money back,” she said.

Neel said state and federal grants, including the Pell Grant, can go back to students as well if they are not used to pay for students direct bill to the university.

“The cost of attendance includes housing, transportation, books, meal plans and meals even if you’re not living on campus, and personal expenses,” she said. “So they go to meet the students cost of attendance at the university.”

Safety 

ULPD spokesperson Aaron Graham said all off-campus housing must be separately affiliated with the ULPD in order to be part of the department’s regular patrol. The Bellamy is the only university-affiliated property not affiliated with the ULPD.

“The Bellamy is affiliated with housing, but they do not have a separate affiliation with the University of Louisville Police,” he said.

To report crimes or other emergencies, they contact LMPD.

Graham says although The Retreat is in close proximity to other affiliated properties like the Province, it is not affiliated with the ULPD either. Like The Bellamy, The Retreat is under LMPD’s jurisdiction.

Graham said overall crime rates among all of the affiliated and on campus housing properties is generally the same, with a slight increase among affiliated properties.

“I try not to leave or be out when it gets dark out, but the building itself seems pretty safe because there’s always somebody at the front desk,” Bettie Johnson resident Rachel Martin said.

Former student Michael Baffour lives at The Retreat and said he feels safe especially because of the gate that surrounds the property.

File Photo / The Louisville Cardinal

About Bailey Campagna

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *