April 1, 2016

By Conor Patterson

West Campus is a neighborhood in Austin comprised primarily of University of Texas students due to its close proximity to campus. It’s an exciting, busy, and fun place to live as a student at UT, but finding an apartment there can seem a bit overwhelming. There are tons of options to choose from and each location will have its own rules, regulations, and legal paperwork. To get you started, here are six simple questions to ask during your housing search.

What utilities are included in the rent, if any?

Some apartment complexes and condos have bills included in their monthly rent such as water, trash, sewage, electricity, parking, Internet, or cable. Other properties don’t include any bills and you’ll need to pay for these services separately. Before signing a lease, make sure you know what other costs you’ll need to pay in addition to your monthly rent and how and when to set these services up. For example, electricity is usually set-up by the resident through the City of Austin and is the resident’s responsibility. Parking, on the other hand, may be included with no added cost or it could be a one-time fee or monthly payment made to the owner of the property.

What happens if roommates don’t pay rent?

There are two different types of apartment/condo leases you can sign that deal with roommate payments. The first is an individual lease often referred to as “by-the-bed.” A lease like this means that each individual roommate is responsible for paying his or her own rent. If they forget or just don’t pay, you are not held liable. These lease types typically only exist in larger, corporate apartment complexes. The other type of lease is called a Joint and Several Lease. This type of lease holds all the tenants responsible for the rent of the entire unit. This means that if one roommate forgets their rent, you could potentially be held responsible.

What is your pet policy?

If you have a pet that you intend to bring with you, or if you are even considering a pet, tell your agent upfront. Some apartments do not allow pets at all, so you don’t want to spend time looking at places that won’t work out in the end. Some management companies have restrictions on sizes and breeds, so be sure to ask about that as well. Finally, ask if there are additional fees for the pet. They may require a security deposit, a one-time fee, a monthly payment, or any combination of those.

Can I sublet my apartment?

Subletting your apartments means that you are leasing your apartment or room to someone else for a set period of time. Similar to the pet policy, if you know you won’t need your apartment for a couple months and are considering subletting, find out if that is allowed upfront. If you are studying abroad, taking an internship, traveling, or even considering doing any of those things, ask how a sublet agreement would work. Some places allow it. Some do not.

Where is the apartment located relative to _______?

Are you in a sorority or fraternity and need to be close to the house? Are your classes going to be primarily on the opposite side of campus? Do you rely on public transportation to get to class? Think about what you need and where you need to be. Our agents are experts on the areas surrounding West Campus as well as East Campus, Hyde Park, North Campus, Riverside and Central Austin. Talk to them about what you’re looking for and they can put you in the area that’s best suited to your needs.

What is the noise and security like here?

West Campus is a great area of Austin to live in, but it can get loud at times. Some West Campus apartments do a fantastic job of masking that noise, and others don’t. You should decide if that is important to you and what level of noise you can handle. Additionally, find out if there are gates or key fobs with resident-only access. This is an added security measure that you may want to consider.

West Campus is a fantastic place to live, especially as a college student. It’s filled with tons of great people, exciting activities, and excellent housing. But not all the condos and apartments around UT here offer the same amenities. Do your research, think about what you need, and ask a ton of questions.

Still want to know more about searching for an apartment? Give us a call at 512-897-0009 and let one of our agents walk you through your search.

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