Off Campus Housing 101
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Is your student talking about off-campus living? Before you get too deep into the conversation, read TTU’s Student Off-Campus Eligibility. If your student qualifies, the good news is that plenty of apartments, houses and other living facilities are within minutes of Texas Tech.


Take your time to review with your student all aspects of living off-campus.


Compare cost-of-living stories with friends at other universities, and you’ll find that Lubbock is one of the least expensive college towns in the country as far as rent and real estate go.
>> It make sense that closer to campus will be more expensive housing.  However, the closer the off-campus housing is to the university, the more likely the student is to retain campus life amenities.
One unmistakable advantage of on campus housing is the proximity to campus life – academic and social.  Further, on campus housing provides a private place to rest and relax between classes. Commuting requires more effort and self-discipline.  Most course work is done at home rather than in the library or (residence hall) learning centers.  To live off campus, students must be self-motivated and dedicated to driving to campus everyday – regardless of any perceived obstacles such as sleepiness or rain or snow.  Nevertheless, independence that students learn from commuting can carry them forward in their after graduation careers.  
The questions are - which arrangement and where is the best housing?  
Texas Tech Parents Association does not endorse any housing arrangement or apartment complex.  But we do have some advice on how to make your selection.  Let’s start with general information.  
Get a map of Lubbock and circle areas that will provide relatively easy access to campus. Explore them with an eye on "for rent” signs. Check real estate ads in the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, The Daily Toreador and Craigslist.  Area realtors can be very useful, especially if you are seeking a duplex or a house. Call several.  Finally, don't overlook our Parent Chat (forum) for subleases.
Even if your student has a car, check the city’s bus route.    
For campus routes see bus schedules.
The Lubbock Apartment Association (LAA) is a professional trade organization representing the rental housing industry. LAA, one of the largest apartment associations in the state, is an affiliate of the Texas Apartment Association and the National Apartment Association.  Be sure to review their "Renters Resources” tab for valuable advice. For resources, availability and full property search, visit their site and their facebook


Additional online apartment guide:  
If utility bills are not included in your rent, plan to spend at least $90 per month on electricity if your apartment is all-electric during the moderate months and more during summer for air conditioning and winter for heating. Older apartments with window AC units and gas heating usually cost less. If you have to pay for the water bill, expect to pay around $20 per month.  
Some things to keep in mind…  
Most of the larger apartment complexes are owned by out of town developers. 
Questions You Should Ask:  
  • Will the apartment be freshly painted?
  • Will the apartment have new or freshly cleaned carpets? 
  • Are there rules about painting or hanging pictures?
  • Are carpeting, blinds and drapes supplied?
  • Is extra storage space available for bikes and large objects?
  • How many crime reports have been filed at the complex recently?
  • Do many students live there?
  • Is there easy access to the bus line?
  • What lease lengths are available?
  • When will the apartment be available for move in?
  • How much are typical electricity bills?
  • When is rent due and what form of payment is required?
  • What are the penalties for late rent?
  • What is the penalty for lease-breaking?
  • What is the policy regarding subleasing?
Fire Safety Questions
  • Are working smoke alarms installed? (Preferably in each bedroom, interconnected to sound all if any one detects smoke)
  • Are there at least two ways to exit your bedroom and your building?
  • Do the upper floors of the building have at least two interior stairs, or a fire escape?
  • Is a sprinkler system installed and maintained?
  • Are the existing electrical outlets adequate for all of the appliances, computers, printers and electronics that you are bringing – without the need for extension cords?
  • Are there EXIT signs in the building hallways to indicate accessible escape routes?
  • Does the building have a fire alarm system installed and maintained?
  • Has the buildings heating system been inspected recently (in the last year)?
  • Is the building address clearly posted to allow emergency services to find you quickly in the event of an emergency?
  • Does the sprinkler system or fire alarm system send a signal to the local fire department and/or campus security?


Other recommendations to check are the South Plains Better Business Bureau


Always obtain a move-in inventory sheet and take pictures of pre-existing damages to protect yourself from unfair move-out charges. Once it is filled in, make sure the apartment manager signs it.  At the other end, when moving out, make sure to compare move-out condition with move-in condition and have the apartment manager sign that one, too.  
Written Notice: Failure to provide the proper notice of move-out after the written lease term has expired may result in a month to month tenancy. You should look at the lease prior to termination to see the terms for completion. Customarily, 30 days WRITTEN notice prior to move out is required or the landlord may withhold the security deposit due to your failure to give notice. Do your part to prevent loss of your security deposit. Give 30 days written notice prior to move out. This means that you must give notice to your landlord EVEN THOUGH there is a termination date stated in the lease. Even if you have no written lease, state law requires that you give thirty days notice BEFORE you move out. If you are moving out prior to your lease termination date under a special arrangement with your landlord, then have that arrangement put in writing. Changing a written contract requires that the change be in writing. Give the landlord a forwarding address, in writing, for the return of your security deposit. See Move Out Notice to Landlord/Request for Return of Security Deposit (SLS)
The strongest advice is this - before signing a lease, encourage your student to visit TTU Student Legal Services.  SLS provides free lease reviews; schedule your appointment before you sign a new lease. 

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