Before you Sign the Lease
Research the Rental
Before you sign a lease you should find out first-hand information about the rental unit and the landlord to make sure your needs will be met and to ensure a successful rentalexperience.
- Does the rental meet minimum housing and property maintenance codes? Are there any outstanding violations? Does the property have a Certificate of Suitability stating that it can be rented to the number of tenants you will have occupying it? There are several housing and property maintenance codes in effect for rentals. If you have questions about housing codes, call the City of Syracuse Division of Code Enforcement at 315-448-8695.
- Ask the landlord for a summary of the past two years’ heating bills. The landlord must provide this information to prospective tenants upon written request.
- Examine the amount of parking available in your new neighborhood. Be sure you are aware of the on-street parking regulations you are expected to abide by, or associated parking costs.
- Talk with the current tenants about the location, apartment condition, and their relationship /experience with the landlord.
- Visit the area both during the day and at night to get a feel for the safety of the area. Pay attention to noise, activity level, and appearance of nearby buildings.
- Check out the neighborhood crime statistics for your new area at http://syracusepolice.org/statistics.asp.
- Consult with the Landlord Information Sharing Program that is hosted by the Office of Off-Campus and Commuter Services and available for viewing at the OCCS Office at 754 Ostrom Ave. The program provides students with a method for communicating with each other from year to year about their rental housing challenges.
Review and Sign the Lease
Once you decide on a rental that meets your needs, you will need to sign a lease and pay a security deposit in order to guarantee it will be held for you. You should carefully review the lease; do not rush as a lease is a legally binding document.
- Have your lease reviewed by Student Legal Services, 760 Ostrom Ave , 315-443-4532. All students paying the student activity fee, except law students, are eligible to have their lease reviewed by an attorney free of charge.
- Review the lease with your parents; they may be required to sign the lease also as a guarantor.
- Become familiar with common lease terms and understand all responsibilities outlined in the lease.
- Make a copy of the signed lease and security deposit check and save it with all other rental information in a rental file.
Prepare for your move off campus
- If you have roommates, discuss whose name utilities will be in and who will contact the companies; if you plan to share common space, discuss who will bring what items to your apartment (furniture, cleaning supplies, dishes, etc).
- Confirm move-in dates with your landlord and when keys can be picked up.