Beyond the Diag - Off Campus Housing

Moving into your off-campus apartment or house can be a very exciting time! You might be living with your BFF's from day 1 of college or new friends ready for a new adventure. Whether you're in the cute house with character, a high rise with an open concept, a ground floor apartment with a backyard patio, your new space is important to your Michigan experience. Moving off-campus comes with many responsibilities too. Here are some tips to prepare you:

1.  First things first: Activate the utilities 

In most cases, it is the tenant's responsibility to contact the utility companies to set up utility services prior to move-in. The lease may indicate which utility companies to contact or you can ask your landlord directly. For other things like internet and tv, check out this free resource: In my Area

2.  An Inventory Checklist is your friend

Completing an Inventory Checklist upon move-in with your roommates can save a headache around move-out. Provide a copy to your landlord within 7 days of moving in. Walk through each room and make note of the condition of each space, appliance, and fixture, both indoors and outdoors. Doing so can protect you from unexpected charges after you move out. Beyond the Diag provides a printable version online or you can visit us in the Dean of Students Office on the 3rd floor of the Michigan Union to obtain a carbon-copy version. 

3.  Insure it!

Adding renter’s insurance to an existing insurance policy is another proactive step you can take to protect yourself. Renter’s insurance has the same purpose as homeowner’s insurance: to reimburse you for losses if personal property is lost, stolen, or damaged. U-M has engaged GradGuard™, a service provided by Next Generation Insurance Group, LLC, with a specific Renter’s Insurance Plan designed especially for students.

4.  Two words: Roommate. Agreement. 

Now that you are sharing living spaces with new people, close friends or strangers, it's important to set some boundaries. Discuss your expectations for utilizing common spaces, cleaning routines, hosting parties or having guests over, safely securing your space, rent due dates, etc. Signing a formal Roommate Agreement is a proactive way to hold one another accoutnable if issues ever arise.

5.  Everything is going wrong!

The floors are dirty, the kitchen feels smaller than what you remember in the photos, it smells like paint, and you only have one set of keys for five people. What to do? First, contact your landlord. Politely explain your concerns and try to come to a reasonable solution. Include your roommates in the conversation and if possible, meet with your landlord in person. If you still need assistance, you can contact the Dean of Students Office, Student Legal Services, or the Office of Student Conflict Resolution. 

 

From the RIGHTS AND DUTIES OF TENANTS booklet distributed to Ann Arbor tenants by their landlords as required by City Charter, sections 19.7 to 19.13. 

A.  YOUR RIGHT TO A CLEAN APARTMENT UPON ARRIVAL  You have the right to a clean, sanitary dwelling before you move in, even if your lease says it does not have to be clean. Cleaning waivers are sometimes used when a tenant wants to move in early.   

B.  YOUR RIGHT TO HAVE THE LESSOR REPAIR  Your lessor must also keep your dwelling in good repair. It must be kept "up to Code" - in compliance with the Ann Arbor City and the Michigan State Housing Codes...

C.   THE CERTIFICATE OF COMPLIANCE  The lessor is also required by law to have a Certificate of Compliance with the Ann Arbor City Housing Code and you are entitled to see it on demand. If your lessor does not have a Certificate of Compliance or there are Code violations, you may be entitled to withhold your rent. 

Read the tenant and lessor advocate sections of the booklet for more information.