Commuters and Off Campus

Off Campus Rental Advice



Your Role as a Tenant

Should you find yourself living off campus for whatever reason, it is important to take your role as a tenant seriously. It is also important to consider that as a Messiah student, it is expected of you to be a good neighbor and represent the University well. Part of this is following the terms of your lease. As your lease is a legally binding document, not following the terms presented within it could lead to frustration, broken relationships, and unnecessary legal trouble for all parties involved. Here are some tips to assist you in stewarding your space and living in community well.

Pay Rent & Utilities Faithfully

It is important that pay your rent and utilities in full and on time each month, as outlined by your lease. If you are living with roommates, it is also important that you be in communication with them about their portion. Even if you are faithful in paying your portion, it could reflect badly on you if they do not pay theirs.

Keep the Space Well-Maintained

It is your responsibility as a tenant to ensure your space is well-maintained throughout the duration of your lease. Additionally, the responsibility for any damages that occur during the time of your lease will fall on you. Being diligent in your maintenance and cleaning helps to prevent common issues as well as to assist you in spotting problems if/when they arise.

Be In Communication with Your Landlord

Effective and responsible communication with your landlord is essential to a positive off campus rental experience. Ensure that you are clear on what is expected of you by them, and vice versa. It is also important to document communication between you and your landlord, especially regarding repairs.

Additionally, it is important that you contact your landlord as soon as you and/or your roommates become aware of maintenance issues, appliance malfunctions, pest reoccurences, etc. This ensures that your landlord is able to act upon your request in a timely manner as well as ensuring that the problem does not get worse with time. Be sure to carefully review your lease to determine what is your responsibility to fix versus what is your landlord's.

Get Renter's Insurance

Should any of your personal property end up lost, stolen, or damaged due to flood, fire, or some other natural disaster, the responsibility for it does not fall on your landlord. For this reason, we recommend you purchase renter's insurance.

Giving Your Landlord Access to the Space as Needed

As a tenant, it is your responsibility to give your landlord access to the space for them to complete inspection and/or repairs, as long as they have given you sufficient notice. What qualifies as sufficient notice is typically stated in your lease, but it is customary to receive a notice of at least 24 hours.

Abide By the Community Covenant

Although you are not living on campus, you are still required to abide by the community covenant. This will also help to ensure that your rental experience is a positive one.


Responsibilities of Your Landlord

Just as you have a responsibility to make your rental experience a positive one, the same is true of your landlord. This is a list of what you should expect from a landlord in order to help you determine whether a possible rental experience is the right choice for you.

Ensure the Space is Safe, Sanitary, and Livable

It is your landlord's responsibility to ensure the space they have provided is safe, sanitary, and well-maintained, as well as the fact that it must follow all local and state laws and ordinances. If your space has a warranty of habitability, you are guaranteed essential services such as heat, light, electricity, running hot and cold water, except when a tenant fails to pay for these services.

Respond to Maintenance Issues Promptly

Once you have notified your landlord of any problems with the space, they must respond in a prompt manner to rectify the issue. It is important to note that what constitutes a prompt response may be different on a case by case basis.

Communicate as Needed

As a tenant, you have a right to accurate information from your landlord. This is in part achieved by your lease, which includes specifics on rental term, repair policies, and any other restrictions. Your landlord should also inform you of anything that could affect the space, such as remolding, sale of the unit, etc. As stated earlier, your landlord should also give you at least 24 hour notice before they enter the space for whatever reason.