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Old 02-28-10, 08:05 PM   #1
russiankdi
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Getting an apartment with roommates

2nd semester into college, I am looking for a place to move into in a year with 2 of my friends. We're looking to get an apartment, we've looked at some online and we are going to go check some out during spring break. How do apartments usually work with 3 people paying rent? Does each person pay their own separate rent or what? What about the lease term? The website of the apartments don't state this information thus I am asking you guys. Also, if you have any tips from past experience or what not, please do chime in!

P.S. We are all going up to the main campus thus looking for a place almost a year in advance.
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Old 02-28-10, 08:38 PM   #2
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When I was in college I rented a house with 5 other guys. Basically we split the rent 5 ways. One of the guys was in charge, he would collect a check from everyone the week before the rent was due, then he would write a check to the landlord for the total. Same with utilities, he would add it all up, figure out what each owed and ask every one for a check, then he would pay the total after the checks cleared into his account. I'm not sure how anyone else did it, but that's how we did it.
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Old 02-28-10, 08:42 PM   #3
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Well, dunno how it works with more than 2 people, contractually that is. I'd imagine it is the same, though. Each room mate has to fill out an application (sometimes a processing fee for each app), and sign the lease. Property management/landlord doesn't care how the rent is divided among room mates, so long as the full rent is paid on time, every time. Which also means that if one of the roomies comes up short on cash, you and the other roomy will have to make up the difference, or else you all risk being kicked to the curb.

Utilities can be a little tricky as well, unless they are included in the rent.
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Old 02-28-10, 08:58 PM   #4
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It wouldn't be a bad idea to get someone in charge to collect all the money. However, there was one apartment complex that I looked at that said they offer leasing with roommates where they somehow split the lease? Not exactly sure how that works out, though.

We're looking to get a place that includes most of the utilities so we don't have to worry about that. If we end up with a place without it, then I will definitely take a close look into the utility stuff so we don't get screwed.
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Old 02-28-10, 09:16 PM   #5
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Definitely have someone who is responsible collect the rent from the others every month. That way you know who is paying and who is not. From my renting experience years ago in college, the landlord didn't care who gave the check as long as the rent was paid in full.
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Old 02-28-10, 10:32 PM   #6
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While I'm delighted by your enthusiasm, allow me to provide a little dose of reality. Be sure that the people you are going in on the place with are trustworthy and not likely to skip. Back when I moved off campus, I shared a place with my then-best friend and a friend of his. we rented a really cool townhouse in Philly, and thought everything was just copasetic. Until four months into the lease, the third guy skipped. He, unfortunately, was the guy we had agreed would collect the rent and write the check. Well, it turned out that he hadn't written a couple- the landlord never told my friend or me about this, not until after the guy skipped out, and the next thing you know, we were being hauled into court.

Long story short, we won out, only because he took my stereo and other stuff as "payment" and padlocked the door. That is quite illegal- it's called fraudulent conversion, and it's a felony. all we had to do was call the DA, threaten to press charges, and the landlord let us out of the lease, and even gave us the security deposit back.

Moral: even though you guys all get along and everything looks coo, watch your back. Your name will be on the lease too, and it's your credit rating that will suffer is someone messes up. That said, have fun! Group houses can be a real blast- just watch Jersey Shore, and you'll see that I mean. Only kidding about the Jersey Shore part...
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Old 02-28-10, 11:12 PM   #7
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You need to have an agreement about food. Its best if each person buys their own food, labels it, and respects the other roommates property. If you have community food, collect the receipts and everyone pays their share at the end of the month.

If you don't have agreements about food, rent and your space, you will find that you and your friends will not get along after a couple of months.
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Old 02-28-10, 11:31 PM   #8
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I lease a house with two other guys right now while in school, here's how it works:

Landlord expects a check for rent each month. We divide the total amount of utilities by 3; each pays that amount to landlord via check.

Food is every man's responsibility and his alone. We label frozen stuff with our initials and it works well. It helps that we're all really good friends
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Old 03-01-10, 10:05 AM   #9
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Sounds like a good way to get screwed. Expect it and it won't be so painful when it happens.
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Old 03-01-10, 11:57 AM   #10
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A lot of land lord in college towns will offer split leases so every one is on there own lease and the billing breaks down accordingly. I also belive the Electric Company does the same thing.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TFYMijdQ_sA
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Old 03-01-10, 12:12 PM   #11
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Having had numerous ****ty room mate experiences, the best way to do it is like this.

You get the lease, you sublet to them. Make them sign a contract requiring the same amount of time as your lease [or less] and make them pay a deposit. That way, when the up and decide to move in the middle of your semester with one week notice, you get to at least keep the deposit since you probably won't be able to afford court costs for the breach of contract.

I've been ****ed over so many times by roommates that I should have "**** me over" tattooed on my forehead.
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Old 03-01-10, 01:56 PM   #12
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When I lived with friends in college, the lease was split by the landlord. X-dollars per month, per tenant; each tenant was responsible only for their own share.
Utilities we split equally.
Food was a tougher one. We had a "general food" budget for dinners, but we left any other food separate since we were all on different schedules.
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Old 03-01-10, 03:11 PM   #13
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you will use more TP than you think. be sure there is always an extra roll under the sink!

also - good luck managing the dirty dishes in the kitchen! some people are quite surprisingly PIGS!
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Old 03-01-10, 03:22 PM   #14
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Everytime I get a new roommate, I end up paying all the rent and they end up in the crawlspace.
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Old 03-01-10, 05:46 PM   #15
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Some very good tips here. I've thought about many issues arising such as my friends bailing, but currently I don't see that happen but will definitely take note on how everything works out with the landlord. Currently I am not really worried about food (surprise surprise right?) as I am more concerned with paying rent. I will be going up with my friends this up coming Monday to talk to the landlords along with checking out the place they have to offer. Going to make a nice list of questions to ask based on this thread. Thanks for the tips, if you have anymore, please do share!
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Old 03-01-10, 05:48 PM   #16
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Here is an idea to discourage your friends from bailing:



It'll slow 'em down at least.
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Old 03-01-10, 06:33 PM   #17
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Here is an idea to discourage your friends from bailing:



It'll slow 'em down at least.
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Old 03-01-10, 07:09 PM   #18
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Old 03-01-10, 07:29 PM   #19
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I have a house that I rent to college students. 3 bedroom house, usually 3 students. The lease is made out with all 3 names on it, but I don't care who pays what - so long as the rent is paid on time. If your lease is for the semester, I would suggest that you and your friends pay the landlord for the semester at the beginning of the term. My tenants usually do this - they get thier financial aid refunds, and take care of the rent. If one of the students leaves school, that student has lost whatever rent money he paid - unless he finds a replacement roommate to pay him.
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Old 03-02-10, 03:10 PM   #20
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I have yet to find out the lease terms on the place ( time wise), so if it is per semester, paying ahead is a good idea.
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Old 03-02-10, 05:05 PM   #21
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I have yet to find out the lease terms on the place ( time wise), so if it is per semester, paying ahead is a good idea.
Ask the landlord. If you're in a college town, this is probably a common event.

The college town I have houses in has a "tradition" of starting a year long lease June 1st - so the student can pay for the house for June & July to actually move in mid-August!! (we don't do this - we just take a deposit)
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Old 03-02-10, 05:45 PM   #22
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That is one of the main questions that my friends I have. Hopefully, we can put down a deposit and have the place "reserved" for us to move into when the semester starts.
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Old 03-03-10, 11:19 AM   #23
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Some very good tips here. I've thought about many issues arising such as my friends bailing, but currently I don't see that happen but will definitely take note on how everything works out with the landlord. Currently I am not really worried about food (surprise surprise right?) as I am more concerned with paying rent. I will be going up with my friends this up coming Monday to talk to the landlords along with checking out the place they have to offer. Going to make a nice list of questions to ask based on this thread. Thanks for the tips, if you have anymore, please do share!
Don't count on it. I've had good friends bail out on me. People are ****heads, protect yourself.
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Old 03-04-10, 09:30 AM   #24
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Find & download a rental inspection sheet - it will have a list of things to inspect with the landlord, so the condition of everything can be documented before you move in. A good landlord will have one of these for you to fill out.... take a video of the inspection - or at least pictures - and make sure your calendar-stamp is correct.

College kids can destroy a place. The best way for both the landlord and the tenant to get along - and for the tenant to protect his/her security deposit - is to have a detailed record of the condition of the place when they move in. Some landlords will "charge" tenants over and over again for the same damages. I like to walk through the apartment with the tenant on lease-signing day - they have a checklist to make notes about damages/conditions, and I have a camcorder. We discuss the condition of the carpets/floors, existing stains, etc., screen tears, the fact that the windows don't stay up by themselves (that's what the stick is for in that 1903 house!), and anything else which might be of concern.

My tenants usually know exactly how much of their deposit they will get back - and if they break something during the lease which we have to fix/replace, they are advised of the cost - they can pay for it at the time, or have it charged against thier deposit.
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