Renter tip: Don’t sign lease before reading

By The Editorial Board

After the stress of finding roommates and searching for a place to live off campus, throwing your signature on a contract might sound like the most relieving thing in the world.

Finally, the contract is signed. You move into your first off-campus living space. Your furniture is set up, your decorations are just how you want them and everything is finally organized. Everything is perfect, and you finally feel like a “real” adult.

Unfortunately, this dream can be short-lived if the proper precautions aren’t taken.

A nightmare of a living situation can ensue if students haven’t thoroughly read their contracts and done research before moving in and signing with their housing complex. First-time residents can be easily walked over simply due to a lack of experience.

Before signing a lease, residents are met with promises of great amenities, high-quality service and timely communication. How many students run into the wall of reality within weeks or months in their new home? Calls are left unreturned, and changes come up with seemingly no warning.

There are common complaints with off-campus housing around Baylor. Policies change, maintenance isn’t as timely as management promised and communication can be lackluster. There is no shortage of housing horror stories.

Students can and will be pushed around by management if they haven’t done their due diligence before signing and moving in. While low-quality service and broken promises are never acceptable, housing management troubles can be minimized by residents.

From a student perspective, reading your lease and contract thoroughly is incredibly important. Know the specifics before signing, and be wary of the fine print. Ask a parent or trusted adult to look over your contract with you.

Research the different off-campus housing options beforehand. Asking other students and doing a deep online search can be incredibly beneficial. In addition to these steps, set up an in-person meeting with a staff member from the company and bring questions. If you go on a tour, bring a list of things you want to know — don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Sure, things don’t always go as planned from a management perspective. However, there are ways student residents can avoid bigger issues and promote transparent communication with their housing management.

If there are issues with how a complex is being managed, pick up the phone or go in person to speak with someone. Be respectful and assertive with the issues that are going on; nothing will be changed if management is not aware.

Listen to other student experiences to avoid a housing nightmare. Trust your peers when you’re looking for a place to live off campus. Comb through online reviews and be critical.

Your home away from home is no place to take shortcuts.