Living Off Campus
Living off campus can be a great experience - and the right next step for you. Here are a few tips, resources and information to help you to have a positive experience.
- Be sure you are eligible. It takes 40 credits by the start of the preceding spring term to move off campus the following fall term. BE SURE TO CHECK WITH RESIDENTIAL LIFE AND HOUSING PRIOR TO SIGNING A LEASE!!!
- Consider the costs - including hidden expenses. See Student Information for a budget worksheet.
- Choose your room mates wisely! How well do you really know one another? Have you talked over your ideas of living together?
CHOOSING YOUR APARTMENT OR HOUSE
Be sure your rental has passed the City of Keene Voluntary Inspection Program. This free program ensures off-campus rentals meet basic health and safety codes. Find out more about this program. https://ci.keene.nh.us/community-development/property-housing-safety-standards-voluntary-inspections
- All rentals advertised on Places4Students.com are KSC and City of Keene approved! Use and share this web-site with your friends!
- Read your lease. Get help from a parent or trusted person to review your lease.
- Do a thorough housing search. Visit a few houses for comparison. See ALL of the rooms in each unit.
- Use the checklist from Student Information to help in your visits to off-campus houses and apartments.
MOVING IN AND LIVING OFF CAMPUS
- Purchase Renter’s Insurance.
- Document the condition upon moving in. If the house is not clean or in disrepair, contact the landlord immediately.
- Educate yourself about City of Keene ordinances regarding trash pick-up, noise and parking.
- Practice fire safety - do not tamper with alarms. Single family homes and duplex smoke alarms do not automatically connect to the Keene Fire Department. Do not tamper or remove smoke alarms! If your smoke alarm is not functioning properly, call your landlord or the Keene Fire Department, 757-1863.
- Be sure you know the routine for trash pick up. Recycle! Ask your landlord for recycle bins and information.
- Be a good neighbor. Meet your neighbors. Exchange contacts. Connect.
- Donate usable items to local thrift shops or to the KSC Recycle Room.
- Be sure to properly dispose of trash. Contact your landlord for larger items like furniture. Do not leave furniture on the curb.
- Clean your house, replace all light bulbs and damaged items. Check with your landlord for a final visit to ensure there are no issues. If there are, discuss what you might do to make improvements. Landlords must provide a list of issues and costs associated with any damages or missing items.
- Be sure the landlord has the proper address to return your security deposit. All deposits should be returned within 30 days of moving out.
WINTER PARKING POLICY NOVEMBER 1st THRU APRIL 30th
Between November 1 and April 30 there is no parking permitted on any City street between the
hours of 1:00 A.M. and 6:00 A.M. This restriction includes the paved portion of the roadway
and the entire City owned right-of-way.
ALL NIGHT PARKING (by lot), November 1 through April 30: Any vehicle (except those with a valid permit to utilize a night reserved space) left in a city parking lot between the hours of 12:01 A.M. and 6:00 A.M. on the days specified, shall be towed at the owner’s expense. This is necessary for the general up-keep and plowing of all municipal lots. Your cooperation is greatly appreciated.
Information on downtown parking regulations can be obtained from Parking Services, located on the second floor of City Hall or on our website at
2019 OFF-CAMPUS SURVEY https://www.keene.edu/office/reslife/assets/documents/off-campus-housing-infographic/download/ Find out more about what students report about off-campus issues and how we are responding.
Parents, our Off Campus Parent’s Guide should help to answer your questions. Contact our office if you would like more information. https://www.keene.edu/office/reslife/assets/documents/off-campus-housing-parents-guide/download/
The Office of Student and Community Relations is here to assist if you need! Are you experiencing challenges to access campus resources? Want to find out more about what is going on? Do you want to take advantage of the many programs and resources available to you but don’t know how? The Spaulding Gym, Counseling Center, Recreational Sports, Health, Wellness and Counseling Center - and more - are available to you! Be sure to check out Hootie’s Rewards to find out what is going on and how to earn points and prizes for participation!
Let us know if you have specific needs or requests!
Our Off-Campus Housing Listings are with Places4Students.com. The only rentals listed are those that have passed the Keene Voluntary Inspection Program. If you are considering an off-campus rental, check with The City of Keene Code Enforcement at 352-5440 or with the Office of Student and Community Relations, 358-2994, to ensure that the unit has passed the 21 Point City of Keene Voluntary Inspection.
If the address is not listed, ask the landlord to have the unit inspected. We strongly encourage that you DO NOT sign a lease for an off-campus rental until it has passed this basic inspection. Inspections are valid for one year.
Did you know that there is a monthly meeting of the College and the City of Keene to discuss topics of mutual importance and impact? Neighborhood issues are often the focus of these meetings. The College City Commission is intended to serve as a model for how a city and college collaborate effectively and engage each other in the resolution of the most pressing issues as well as to create a framework to address emergent opportunities. The public is invited and students are encouraged to attend. If you are interested to be a student representative, contact The Office of Student and Community Relations at 358-2994. Read more about the City-College Commission here, http://www.ci.keene.nh.us/government/minutes-agendas/minutes/2016-college-city-minutes Davis Bernstein, Student Representative on the College and City Commission stated, "I appreciate being a part of The Commission. I think it’s a good catalyst for getting a lot done for the college and the city. I also enjoy a lot of the discussions we have."
Also, neighbors in the Southeast Keene Neighborhood meet the second Tuesday of each month at Bentley Commons at 6:30 PM. Would you like to hear more about neighborhood collaboration and experience the process for local improvements? Join in!
Students, please remember that NOISE TRAVELS! Our area residents keep different hours than most college students, sleeping during the night to rise early to go to work and for children to be best prepared for school. Please be mindful of our neighbors. If you are having a gathering, you can call the Keene Police Department at 357-9813, to give them a heads up. They can cruise by your house to let you know if you are on the verge of a noise or occupancy violation. Avoid a ticket and work with the KPD! Also, when your party is over, let the KPD know. They can assist with keeping the noise down as your guests head back home. Also, let your neighbors know if you plan to have a gathering. Exchange contact info and ask them to call you if they are being disturbed BEFORE they call the KPD.
When out and about in the City of Keene, remember that ALL Keene State students are role models to younger children in our neighborhoods. Please consider your behavior and use of language! Be Owl Proud!
Student Information for those considering a move off-campus.
Students and parents read this first before signing a lease!
Moving off-campus is a big decision. Financial, academic and life-style considerations are essential to making the best choice.
The Office of Student and Community Relations at Keene State College provides resources and support to assist in improving the quality of the off-campus experience. Please utilize the resources offered to make a well-informed and appropriate decision about living off-campus. If you have any questions or concerns please contact our Coordinator of Student & Community Relations, Robin Picard, at 603-358-2994 or by e-mail.
Leases are legally binding contracts. Be sure you do not sign or commit to multiple leases. Signing an off-campus lease and a KSC Housing Contract obligates you to fulfill both agreements. Do not place yourself in a situation where you are legally bound to a lease you do not intend to fulfill!
Read the ENTIRE lease. Do not sign a lease until you understand ALL of the terms in your lease. The lease outlines your rights and responsibilities. Be sure the landlord thoroughly explains each provision.
Do not sign a lease until you personally enter and view the exact unit you will be renting. SEE IT BEFORE YOU SIGN IT! This includes all rooms, particularly the bedrooms. If the individual bedrooms are locked because it is currently rented by another student, ask the landlord to schedule another time when you can see all the rooms. While model units may give you an idea of the available units, ask to see the specific unit for rent, even if people are currently living there.
Before signing the lease, review with your family and an attorney. If you have housemates, the cost of an attorney can be shared among housemates for affordability. If any aspect of the lease is uncomfortable or not agreeable, discuss this with your landlord. As with any contract, negotiation is appropriate. It is easier to negotiate a lease BEFORE you sign.
After signing the lease, your co-signor will also be asked to sign. Ask for a copy of everything you and your landlord sign. If the landlord agrees to make any changes or repairs to the property, you should document the agreements in writing. You can add amendments to your lease to document any oral agreements between you and the landlord.
Security Deposit – The deposit is usually equal to one month’s rent. Landlords are expected to return the deposit within thirty days of the end of the lease period. Be sure you provide your forwarding address. Landlords are required to provide a written bill or estimate for any damages which will be taken from the security deposit.
If you feel that the landlord’s requirements are unjust and you are being discriminated against, contact The Office of Student and Community Relations (603)358-2994 or Legal Aid (800) 639-5290. Helpful resources can be found at (http://www.nhlegalaid.org/self-help-guides/housing/tenants-rights/tenants-rights) and (http://doj.nh.gov/consumer/sourcebook/renting.htm).
Your Housing Search
Does the landlord participate in the Voluntary Housing Inspection Program? KSC only lists properties that have met the requirements of the Voluntary Housing Inspection Program. This program addresses rental properties, not landlords. When viewing properties, ask if each particular unit or house has been inspected and met the health and safety criteria of The Voluntary Housing Inspection Program. If the unit has passed the Voluntary Inspection Program, it will be listed here: (https://ci.keene.nh.us/code-enforcement/). Refer to the Inspection Report to check if your address is listed as a passed inspection. We strongly advise you NOT to rent any unit that is not on this list. Be wise. Be safe.
Print this out and bring with you when you view rental options. Consider the following and ask your landlord about:
Deadbolt locks on the first floor or keyless entry, locks on all first floor windows, outdoor motion lights, landscaping and bushes cut to avoid blocking entranceways, porches and windows and specific information for emergency maintenance contacts.
Fire Safety - Are all smoke detectors in working condition? Test them to make sure. Each level must have at least one smoke alarm, including the basement. Each bedroom and living area must have at least one window.
Location and Safety– How close do you want to be to campus? What kind of neighborhood would you like to live in? Would you feel comfortable and safe here? Visit the different neighborhoods in Keene during the day and at night to see if there is a major difference in the environment. Talk to current tenants about their experiences. Check to be sure there is sufficient outdoor lighting and that tress and shrubs do not block visibility to entrances and windows. Ask the landlord if there have been any prior thefts at the address or neighborhood.
Home Security – Are all doors, locks and dead bolts in working condition? Have the locks been changed from the prior tenants?
Parking – How many LEGAL parking spaces are included? Ask for this information to be noted in the lease. If off-street parking is not available, you will need to make other arrangements. Is there an additional cost for parking?
Space - Is the rental unit and its kitchen, bedrooms, and closets large enough for your needs?
Working Appliances and Plumbing - Is everything in the unit in good working condition? Test the heat, air conditioning, hot and cold water faucets, shower pressure, and toilet to make sure everything works to your satisfaction. Do all lights and electrical outlets work properly? (You can even ask the current tenants.)
Cleanliness – Is the unit in a condition you are willing to live in? If your rental property is not clean when you arrive to move-in, contact the landlord. Take photos. You will be expected to return the unit in clean condition, you should inherit the unit in that same condition.
Energy Efficiency - Do all windows open and close properly? Test all windows throughout the unit. Drafty windows could mean higher energy bills and future discomfort. Are there any leaky faucets? Leaky faucets could mean higher water bills and possibly future water damage.
Cost – What can you afford? Costs include rent, utilities, and food. Consider the hidden costs as well. Check out Cash Course to start a budget NOW and make smart choices and decisions with your money.
Be sure that you understand what you are paying for, including the dates of occupancy. You do not need to agree to pay for days that are not in your "TERM" or occupancy dates. Example, some leases end mid-month, but request a full month of rent. Do the numbers and advocate for yourself! You should only pay for the days that you occupy your rental!
Your financial aid package does consider costs for housing - either off or on-campus. If you will be using loan payments to pay your rent, discuss payment options with the landlord, including the clause on late fees. https://www.keene.edu/admissions/aid/understanding/need/
Roommates- How well do you know your potential roommates? Your best friend may not be your best choice for a roommate. Take the Roommate Inventory to get started. Be proactive and agree to a Roommate Contract.
Subleasing – Does your landlord allow subleasing? If you are considering a Study Away semester or returning home for the summer months, you need to talk to you landlord about subleasing BEFORE you sign!
Renter’s Insurance - Your landlord’s insurance DOES NOT cover your personal property in the event it is damaged, in a fire or stolen. Check with your auto insurance company or other insurance companies for a price quote. NH students can be covered under their family homeowner’s insurance with a simple and inexpensive policy rider.
Review your renter’s insurance policy (or any potential policy) to ensure you are covered for acts of negligence. Some insurance policies will exclude your acts of negligence from coverage.
Did you know that Renter’s Insurance will cover cracked computer and cell phone screens? (https://www.worthavegroup.com/email-marketing/CPParents-EmailHost/index.html)
Good Neighbors - Be sure that you know and understand the City of Keene ordinances for noise, gatherings, trash, and parking. https://www.municode.com/library/nh/keene/codes/code_of_ordinances Say hello to your neighbors. A smile is all it takes to start a friendship!
Moving off-campus and living in a residential neighborhood comes with expectations of being a GOOD NEIGHBOR. Be Owl Wise and Owl Proud!
Rights and Responsibilities
In addition, remember that with very few exceptions, first and second year students are required to live on campus. Before entering into any agreements with a landlord for the next school year be sure to verify with the Residential Life Office that you are eligible to live off campus.
Questions? Please send us an e-mail.
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Keene State College supports the federal and NH state law regarding non discrimination housing. Tenants are protected from discrimination by the federal Fair Housing Act and other federal laws, as well as New Hampshire state law. Discrimination in housing on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, familial status, and disability are prohibited. The laws cover most housing including both rentals and homeownership.
The Office of Residential Life & Housing Services is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. If you have questions about housing services (room assignments, housing contract, damage billing, etc.) and are unable to stop by the office, feel free to e-mail or call us.
Residential Life Office
229 Main Street
Keene, New Hampshire 03435