The Student Guide to Living in Off-Campus Housing
Guide to Off-Campus Searching | Guide To Off-Campus Living
These guides are also available as pdfs:
Guide to Off-Campus Searching
Guide to Off-Campus Living
Congratulations on finding your new rental! This guide provides you with some helpful advice for move in day and beyond.
| After you Sign your Lease |
If you plan to decorate the rental unit, have you asked your landlord for permission to paint or wallpaper? If yes, is your landlord responsible for doing the work or are you? Who will pay for the cost of the materials? Has a maximum spending amount been set?
In the event of a fire, is there an accessible exit route for you to get safely out of the house?
Have you contacted the following service providers to tell them that you are taking possession of the rental unit?
- Television company (eg. Cogeco)
- Internet provider
- Electricity provider
- Gas provider
- Water provider
- Telephone company
Do you know when garbage and recycling day is?
Have you notified Trent University and other relevant parties of your new mailing address?
Your landlord's insurance on your unit will not cover your belongings. A renter may purchase Tenants insurance for coverage for any damages done to the property during your stay (liability coverage), or for the event that your personal belongings become damaged, destroyed, or stolen.
Paying the Rent
Perhaps the most important aspect of your relationship with your landlord is the rent. Paying your rent on time is critical to good relations with your landlord. Rent is typically paid on a per month basis, and is due at the beginning of each month, but sometimes rent is weekly or due at a different time. If there are multiple tenants you may agree to designate one person to collect and submit the rent or you may each pay the rent on your own behalf. Remember that if more than one person is contributing to the rent to make sure everyone is on time with payments.
Paying Your Bills
Your lease will state whether the cost of your bills are included with your rent or are your responsibility to pay. If heat & hydro are included in your rent then the big bills are already taken care. As with the rent, if bills are shared between multiple people make sure to work out suitable arrangements ahead of time, and then stick to them. If this is the case be extra sure to get payments in on time, and to be extra careful in conserving energy, both for the environment's sake and to keep utilities bills to a minimum!
Other than the big bills there can be a diverse assortment of lesser bills, like telephone, Internet, parking, water, garbage pickup, or even magazine subscription bills.
Good Neighbour Tips
Being a good neighbour requires little effort and goes a long way towards integration into your new community. Simple gestures such as taking the time to introduce yourself to your neighbours, keeping the outside of your home tidy and free of debris (including extra furniture), or offering to help shovel snow or bring in groceries can help establish a positive relationship early on will be a great platform should you have to deal with any potential conflict in the future.
Another great way to get involved is to volunteer in your new community. This can be rewarding in itself, but can also be a great way to meet new people, and can give you valuable new skills and experiences. This will benefit not just you, but the community at large.
| Chores and Responsibilities |
The chores are part of any off-campus living arrangement. Chores are the day-to-day duties needed to make an accommodation function smoothly. These can include garbage, dishes, clothes washing, snow shoveling, grass cutting, or toilet cleaning (some chores are more enjoyable than others). If you are living on your own divvying up the chores is straightforward - they're all up to you. If you have housemates however, then as with bills, chores can be shared and split up. Some households and apartments make use of charts to remind everyone what their duties are. Try rotating chores so that each person can alternate between tasks, adding some variety to their cleaning life.
Know what night the garbage and recycling goes out for your area. Don’t pile trash around the property and bring the bins back in after the garbage and recycling has been collected.
The City of Peterborough has a 24 hour noise bylaw, which is in effect to help deter any unnecessary noise. Peterborough Lakefield Police would like to inform students of this bylaw to help avoid any unnecessary fines. Failure to abide by the noise bylaw will result in the following consequences, depending on the severity of the offence:
- A verbal warning
- $130.00 fine
- Appearance in court before a judge
Remember that your neighbours are the ones who will be affected by the noise and may call the Police to report a complaint, so please keep your noise to a minimum.
Social events are fun and can be a great way to meet new people but there are a few things you should know before you post that open invitation online…
Let your neighbours know in advance if you are planning a social event or a party. Plan your event on an evening that will be least disruptive to the families nearby. Let your neighbours know that they can contact you directly if they have any noise complaints or any other concerns.
Keep the number of guests to a manageable level.
Drinking. If you or your guests decide to drink, always drink responsibly. Did you know that as host of the party you are legally responsible for your guests? Be prepared to have people stay overnight or organize alternate transportation (eg designated driver, call a taxi) to prevent any guests from drinking and driving.
Listed below are some common fines for consuming alcohol in public under the liquor licence act:
- Person under 19 years having, consuming, attempting to purchase, purchasing or otherwise obtaining liquor - $130.00 fine
- Being intoxicated in a public place or a common area - $70.00 fine
- Consuming liquor in other than licensed premises, residence or private place - $130.00 fine
- Having liquor in open container in other than licensed premises, residence or private place - $130.00 fine
Also remember that all of these offences may be arrest able, and failure to pay these fines may result in the suspension of your licence.
Lastly, whether it is a party at your house or an evening out, always be aware of your personal surroundings and be safe. If traveling by foot, travel in a group, stick to well-lit routes, and avoid short cuts through isolated areas.
Subletting means the arrangement of another tenant to replace you in your rental unit for a finite period of time (eg summer break) within an existing lease. Important Note! This makes subletting different from assigning. Assigning is when one tenant replaces another for the duration of the lease (i.e. the original tenant is vacating the accommodation for good, but needs someone to take his or her place).
Subletting can be very economical in that rent does not have to be paid over the summer; and it can be convenient, allowing a student to leave Peterborough for the summer and return to the same place, all of their things still present (hopefully) and ready to go for another school year.
Leaving Your Place
When you're finally ready to leave a place, whether you're done school, or moving in with someone new, make sure to give 60 days written notice. That way you can reclaim your last month's deposit. Don't forget, a landlord owes a tenant the interest on the last month's rent. Depending on how long you have been in that location, this can be an amount of money worth collecting!
When you leave your accommodations ensure the place is in the same condition as when you arrived, and that all bills have been taken out of your name (if living with housemates) and your landlord or former housemates have your forwarding address.
| Helpful links for Off-Campus Students |
- Did you know that as an Off-Campus student you are affiliated with a college on campus? Find out more about college affiliations here.
Having problem with your landlord, rental unit, or you have more questions?
The first step is to know your rights!
If you need additional help locating the right resource, please contact our office between 9am and 4pm Monday - Friday at:
Suite 130, Blackburn Hall
Trent University, 1600 West Bank Dr.
Peterborough, ON K9J 7B8
(located on Symons Campus)
Phone: (705) 748-1011, ext. 7128
Fax: (705) 748-1109