Student Information for Current Off-Campus Students
Is your off-campus house in adequate repair? Is your heat working properly? Do the locks work?
Utilize the resources available to you. Contact your landlord if you have problems or concerns with your rental. If landlords are unresponsive, call The City of Keene Code Enforcement at 352-5440 or The Office of Student and Community Relations at 358-2994.
All rental properties should have passed the City of Keene Voluntary Inspection Program. Check this list to see if your rental is currently approved. If not, you can call the City to request a free Voluntary Inspection. http://ci.keene.nh.us/code-enforcement Refer to the Voluntary Housing Inspection Report.
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 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
Off-campus students, please remember that you have chosen to live in a neighborhood. Your neighbors likely keep different hours, so please be aware of noise, guests coming and going and other activities that disturb our local residents. Please model positive OWL behavior.
And, 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 2020-2021.
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/search-voluntary-inspections-results). 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. Start a budget NOW and make smart choices and decisions with your money. Managing money is a life-long skill that will serve you well. (https://www.consumer.gov/articles/1002-making-budget)
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.
Renter’s Insurance Information
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) (https://www.nssi.com/marketing/NSSI2018Trifold.pdf?utm_source=BrochureReminder-Apr2019&utm_medium=email)
Good Neighbors - Be sure that you know and understand the City of Keene ordinances for noise, gatherings, trash, and parking. [text] (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.
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.
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