Renter's Checklist for Living Off Campus

So you’ve made the decision to live in off-campus college apartments. Now what?

From choosing the right place to understanding why you should get renters insurance, these tips will help you live a happy and budget-friendly life off campus.

Make a Budget

Learning how to create a budget is especially important if you are living off campus in college apartments. Compared to the prepaid meal plans and Wi-Fi that typically come with dorm life, off-campus residents have other line items to consider – including monthly bills for utilities, Internet, and renters insurance to protect your property in case of fire, water damage or burglary. Be prepared by familiarizing yourself with recurring costs and upfront expenses of  off-campus college apartments.

Don’t forget to include:

  • Rent
  • Utilities
  • Cable and Internet
  • Groceries
  • Transportation to and from campus
  • Application fees
  • Security deposits (e.g., pet deposit)
  • Account setup fees for services like water, energy, Internet
  • Renters insurance

Get the details

Once you find a place you like, you’ll be tempted to fast-forward through the paperwork and get the keys immediately, especially if the apartment complex has a sparkling pool or great walk-in closets. Don’t fall victim to a tricky lease or get stuck with an unresponsive landlord. Before you sign on the dotted line, read reviews online, ask the right questions, and make sure you’re comfortable with all terms and conditions.

Find out about:

  • Utilities included in rent
  • Average utility costs
  • Late fees and penalties for breaking your lease
  • Subletting restrictions
  • Pet restrictions
  • Maintenance
  • Laundry facilities
  • Parking
  • Mail delivery
  • Garbage pickup
  • Pest control
  • Rules for painting, decorating, or making any other changes to the rented space
  • Restrictions for grills and outdoor items
  • How often locks are changed and who has access
  • On-site security
  • Leave notification or termination of lease
  • Renewal process

See it in person

Before signing a lease, ask to check out the actual unit you will be renting. There’s no guarantee that the apartment you rent will have the same features or be in the same condition as the one you saw on your tour. Most reputable landlords or rental companies will ask you to sign off on the condition of the apartment and should address any issues before you move in.

Be sure to:

  • Search ceilings for any discoloration
  • Flush the toilets and turn on faucets
  • Test appliances and HVAC
  • Look inside closets
  • Check floors for spots
  • Open doors and windows
  • Check smoke detectors
  • Take measurements

Moving into a home off campus is exciting. By checking off these points, you’ll be well on your way to making it a successful and budget-friendly move.


This information is general in nature and is not intended to be legal, tax, or financial advice. Although Regions believes this information to be accurate, it cannot ensure that it will remain up to date. Statements or opinions of individuals referenced herein are their own—not Regions'. Consult an appropriate professional concerning your specific situation and for current tax rules. Regions, the Regions logo, and the LifeGreen bike are registered trademarks of Regions Bank. The LifeGreen color is a trademark of Regions Bank.