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Off-campus housing: Tips for finding your home away from home


Cynthia Kaczala | Interrobang | Lifestyles | January 10th, 2020




Student housing on campus can be quite expensive. A cheaper option is to look for housing located off of campus. Finding the perfect place can be a tedious process, so here are some tips and tricks that can help you make a decision you won’t regret:

Use Fanshawe’s off-campus housing services

Fanshawe offers numerous off-campus housing services, including housing mediation and online listings located throughout the city. Since the landlords register with the service, the quality of these establishments can be better than those found on other sites, and it’s easier to find Fanshawe roommates. Check out offcampushousing.fanshawec.ca, or email offcampushousing@nullfanshawec.ca to learn more.

Research the area

Before picking a place to check out, research a bit about the area that is nearby. Is it known as a party area? Are there any amenities close by, such as a grocery store or mall? Where are the closest bus stops? These questions are all important factors to consider when choosing a place to live for the school year. You should also look up reviews about the apartments, if you can.

Consider one less room

If you are looking for apartments for yourself and a spouse or close relative, it might be beneficial to look at both two-bedroom and one-bedroom places. If the bedroom is big enough you can put two beds in the room and split the living spaces amongst yourselves. You can then have a wider search of places that still fall in your price range by splitting the bill in half. However, always ask the landlord beforehand if it is okay to set up this arrangement.

Look up listings online

When looking on websites like Kijiji, it can be hard to narrow down what you are looking for. Enter into the search engine “student housing” and the month that you plan to move in. For example: “student housing for September 2019”. This will help cut down the results and make sure you find places you like for the proper time.

Aim for a place that includes utilities in the price

When looking for a place to rent, find out if the listed price includes utilities such as heat, water and electricity. If not included, these prices can change each month depending on how much of these utilities you use. Bills can get especially high in the winter, sometimes going up to $200, if you’re not careful. It’s better to look for all-inclusive rental rates, so you are paying one price per month without additional charges.

Ask questions during inspection

When visiting a potential residence, have a critical eye out for things such as stains indicating past water damage (from possibly flooding or leaks) or signs of indoor cigarette-smoking. Ask the person showing the place about past accidents or problems, especially when looking at a basement units. When looking at basements, aim for a finished one with real flooring and not the base foundation. If you don’t like insects, you might not want a basement unit unless it is finished and not semifinished, since spiders and house centipedes like to gather in non/semifinished basements.

If any of the current tenants are there during the showing, try to learn things that research couldn’t answer. People living there will have a better feel of the area than the landlord who might not live there. Ask the landlord if they hire a cleaning service or clean it themselves after the previous tenants have moved out. It’s good to know if you need to bring your cleaning supplies when you move in. If a place is messy when you first see it, don’t cross if off the list just yet; it might look messy now, but it could be a diamond in the rough once cleaned up.
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