Thinking about where you’d like to live next year is an exciting experience and can be less stressful when you get a head start. While you may feel pressure to sign a lease early, it’s better to make sure you are fully prepared for your search and find the right lease for you. If you have questions about when to sign a lease, Off-Campus Housing & Neighborhood Relations (OCH&NR) is here to help. As you begin your search, here are a few tips and resources.
Prepare for the search
First, do some research. Create a budget that includes what you can afford for rent, utilities, internet, etc. Look at public transportation options. Check out the crime rates, and ask other students about their experiences living in their neighborhoods. You can always email firstname.lastname@example.org to get insight from a neighborhood ambassador for advice on your off-campus living experience.
Research properties and commutes
Search for available student apartments, townhomes, condos and houses in the Boulder area with Ralphie’s List, CU’s official rental database. Popular Boulder neighborhood areas for students include The Hill, Martin Acres, East Aurora, Goss Grove and North Boulder. Remember that non-students live in each of these neighborhoods. You can search by neighborhood, price, number of rooms and other filters. Ralphie’s List also has a feature to find roommates based on a variety of different criteria.
Many students commute to campus with their free student bus pass, and RTD public transit has routes that serve all of Boulder and nearby communities. With many transportation options available, consider researching properties throughout the Boulder area. You could even look at neighboring communities such as Longmont, Superior, Louisville or Lafayette. Ralphie’s List postings can provide you info on which bus lines you could use to get to campus, along with how long it might take to walk or drive from your potential new home to campus.
Attend a CU Housing Fair
Attend the free CU Off-Campus Housing Fair to meet with off-campus property managers, city offices and vendors. The fair will take place in person on Feb. 16 from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. in the UMC’s Glenn Miller Ballroom. You will have the opportunity to talk directly with landlords to learn more about what properties are available. The fair also offers a chance to learn more about finding housing and tips for living off campus. Enjoy free food and giveaways when you attend!
Understand lease agreements
When you find a place you are interested in renting, get legal advice on any rental concerns you may have. Students can make an appointment with attorney Bruce Sarbaugh through OCH&NR to get a free lease review before signing or for any questions or concerns you may have regarding your housing situation.
As you consider who your roommates will be next year, make sure you’re aware of the city of Boulder occupancy limits, which states a maximum of three or four unrelated individuals living together. Both tenants and property owners can be subject to violations of over-occupancy and up to a $2,000 per day fine. You can use Ralphie’s List to browse profiles of potential roommates. Find the perfect fit for your living situation!
If you have an idea of who you’ll be living with next year, talk with your potential roommate(s) about what expectations each of you might have. Consider completing a roommate agreement before you move in together.
Take the online Off-Campus Living Orientation
Take the Off-Campus Living Orientation to prepare for life off campus. This online course takes about 15–20 minutes to complete, and will help you learn about city ordinances and find ways to get involved in the Boulder community.