You've Signed a Lease, Now What?

Important next steps:

Get Renters Insurance

Protect your belongings from fire, flood and theft by purchasing renters insurance. Your property owner's insurance does not cover your personal property in the event it is damaged in a fire or stolen. Contact your auto insurance company or other insurance companies for a price quote. You can also ask your parent or guardian to see if their homeowner's insurance covers your property. Check out this article by Bryan Ochalla, explaining renters insurance to college students.

Student Legal Services will review your renter's insurance policy (or any potential policy) to ensure that the policy covers your acts of negligence. Some insurance policies exclude acts of negligence from coverage. For example, if an accidental fire occurs that leads to damaged personal property, you want to make sure you're covered. 

How to Sublease Successfully

Need someone to take over your lease? You can advertise your property on our Off-Campus Housing Search after you are certain your property owner permits subletting. OCCSS defines a sublet as a completely vacant unit, if the unit will not be completely vacant, you may want to consider a roommate ad instead. If you would like to advertise your sublet on our housing search, visit our subleasing resources.

Keep in mind that you may still be held responsible for the rent and/or potential property damage when subleasing your rental unit to someone else. To understand the implications of subleasing, talk to Student Legal Services at 614-247-5853. 

Protect Your Security Deposit

A security deposit is refundable within 30 days after your lease ends, as long as:

  • You are up to date on rent
  • The property is returned in the same condition as it was received, minus normal wear and tear
  • You have provided a forwarding address to have the security deposit mailed to

You can protect your security deposit by:

  • Taking pictures and videos of the entire property prior to moving in
  • Documenting everything from floor to ceiling
  • Making a list of all repairs in writing and keeping a copy for your records

Identifying Rental Scams

Use caution when you create roommate and sublet ads online. Sometimes scammers may try to contact you about your roommate or sublet ad in an attempt to steal money/commit fraud.

Warning Signs:

  1. The individual is eager to send money to you directly for the apartment/room without seeing it, talking to your roommates or talking to your property manager
  2. You receive a certified check or money order for more than the amount that you agreed upon with the subtenant
  3. You are asked to wire funds or send money orders to the subtenant
  4. The subtenant is not willing to provide basic identifying information
  5. The subtenant asks you to handle the sublease without informing your property manager; this is typically done to sidestep the background check process

How to Protect Yourself:

  1. When possible, meet the person face-to-face in a public setting
  2. Don’t wire funds and avoid cashier’s checks; any mention of money, money orders, cashier’s checks, wire transfers or bank accounts in the first email is very suspicious
  3. Check the individual's references including past property managers or employers; search online for the person's name and email to identify past scams if any
  4. Ask the individual for their phone number, full name and employer verification; if the individual becomes angry or won't give you information, it's probably a scam so stop communicating with the individual
  5. Refuse to accept overpayment
  6. Do not share your personal information unless you’ve confirmed the individual’s name and personal information

For more information about common rental scams, visit the Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Information page and/or contact Student Legal Services.