Finding housing in a foreign city is not an easy task, but it’s an important step for international students to take before they step on the plane to start their study abroad. Some universities have on-campus housing – also called dorms – but many international students appreciate the independence of renting an apartment. Here are some tips for finding and renting an apartment:
* Location – do an online search of the listed apartment address. Is it on a bus route? Is it within walking distance to campus and/or your work-study site? The online maps programs will help you determine this information.
* Cost – What is included in the rent? Will you be required to pay for garbage, heat, electric, water and/or sewer separately? If these are not included, ask the landlord to provide you with the amounts previous renters paid for the past three months so you can calculate your entire monthly room and board expenses. You probably will also be asked to pay a security deposit – often the price of one or two month’s rent – which you should receive back when you move out of the apartment, if no damage has occurred.
* Length of lease – A lease is a legal document identifying what you the renter agree to pay, and what the landlord agrees to provide. A traditional lease tends to last a year. Carefully read through the lease, and if you have questions, ask a friend or contact HTIR Work-Study USA for help before signing.
* Condition of apartment – Your landlord should do a formal walk-through of the apartment with you. Take notes – and photos – of any damage you notice as proof of previous condition.
Contact HTIR if you encounter any difficulties with finding an apartment or negotiating a lease.
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