Finding your first apartment can be an adventure.
University Housing guarantees housing for first-year students, which means most but not all students will move off-campus their second year and continue to live off-campus through graduation.
While students are able to find off-campus housing throughout the year, most students secure housing for the next academic year before the current fall semester ends.
Below are some things your student should consider as they begin to navigate their off-campus housing search.
An integral part of your student’s success and peace while living off-campus is finding compatible roommate(s). When searching for a roommate(s), they should consider their personal habits and needs.
- Is your student a morning or night person?
- What level of cleanliness do they require to feel comfortable with their living space?
- Is quiet something they appreciate or do they prefer a space for socializing?
Encourage your student to honestly communicate with their potential roommate(s) to ensure they are selecting a good fit. A great way for your student to begin this conversation is by creating a roommate agreement. This form can help them have important lifestyle conversations before moving in together. They can hang the agreement on the fridge where it can be easily revisited if there is a conflict down the road.
If your student needs assistance finding a roommate, Beyond the Diag, U-M’s Off-Campus Housing program, provides a roommate finder resource. Students can make an online profile with their preferences and can view profiles of other students. Because a U-M uniqname is required, students will only be engaging with members of the Michigan community.
Finding Off-Campus Housing
Once your student has found a roommate or decided to fly solo, it is time to find off-campus housing. There are a wide variety of living options in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area. Beyond the Diag offers the Off-Campus Housing listing service, which allows students to see many of the apartments available locally. Your student can search by location, housing type, or cost. Your student may want to also consider living in coop housing, in a fraternity or sorority house, or the U-M HomeShare program.
If your student does not plan on taking classes in the summer, it is important to plan ahead. They have the option to list their apartment for sublease through the listing service if they plan to go home for the summer or study abroad.
Off-campus housing prices can vary depending on the amenities and location. Some places include utilities in the monthly rental payment while others may charge for a parking spot. Encourage your student to explore what is and is not included with the rent. Also, when considering cost, it may be helpful to note that your student may be able to use financial aid to assist in covering housing costs, if they qualify for financial aid and while they are enrolled in classes.
Signing a Lease
Signing a lease is the final step in your student’s off-campus housing search. Before signing the lease, it is important for your student to understand that it is a legally binding contract and once signed, it is hard to break. Hundreds of students visit the Dean of Students Office and Student Legal Services with an interest in breaking their lease, which is incredibly challenging to do. While there may be some options, it is hard to go back once a lease is signed.
One way to ensure your student understands their lease and the terms is for them to connect with Student Legal Services (SLS). SLS provides legal assistance to U-M students for concerns not pertaining to the university or fellow students. SLS will review your student's lease with them and can assist them if issues arise of a legal nature with their lease.
We hope your student has a smooth experience finding off-campus housing. If your student has any questions, please encourage them to check out the Beyond the Diag website or call the Dean of Students office at 734-764-7420.
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