I’m deciding on the perfect place
Once you’ve located a rental (or rentals) that you’re interested in, there are a few key things to review and keep in mind (select a topic to expand its content):
Leases: A lease is a binding contract, the same as a will, mortgage, car loan or a Residence contract. Here’s a few things to consider:
- Tenants are bound to the rental property for the length of time specified in the lease agreement.
- The lease must contain the legal name and the address of the landlord. All parties are entitled to a copy of the lease. Rent can be withheld until this information is received, at which point all rent is due.
- Oral agreements made at the time of signing supersede the written contract, but it is best to have as much as possible in writing and signed by both parties.
- Know the other people who are on the lease. Anyone signing a lease can be jointly or singly held responsible for the entire rent. Many landlords will let you sign separate leases for each bedroom.
- When leaving you must give two months written notice lease or no lease. It’s the law.
- Lease terms
- When you read a lease carefully, there may be terms you do not understand. Do not skip over what is unclear to you. Ask before signing anything.
- Off-Campus Living, a legal aid organization, or your family’s private attorney, will be able to help you interpret anything that might be confusing to you.
- Parts of a written lease: There are seven crucial parts of a lease that usually appear at its very beginning. In the document below, the first four parts listed are the minimum requirements needed to make a lease legal.
- Note: the lease document below may be tedious to read, however we encourage you to take a close look and familiarize yourself with lease information. It could save you a lot of trouble down the road!
- Understanding the parts to a written lease
Budgeting: when searching for accommodation, make sure you take into account the various expenses you will incur each month:
- Rent: rent may be cheaper per month off-campus, but in some cases you will be asked to sign a one year lease and pay rent over the summer months.
- Utilities: may or may not be included in the cost of rent.
- Transportation: bus passes are included in tuition, however if you plan to drive a car, consider the cost of parking and gas (see Getting to school below for more information)
- Phone/cable/internet: the costs for these services may be shared amongst tenants.
- Food: If you have classes during meal times, are you going to take a lunch from home, buy it at the school, or purchase an on-campus meal plan?
- Laundry: this may or may not be included in your rent. If it is, remember that it may also impact your utilities cost if you are paying for them (don’t forget soap).
- Entertainment: It is important to balance school and social life, so factor extracurricular activities into your budget.
- Extras: remember that there will be unexpected costs. Leave yourself some flexibility. For more information on budgeting and finances, visit the Financial Aid and Awards website or download our budgeting guide
House Dynamics: consider who you are going to be living with.
- If you’ll be sharing housing with others, be sure to discuss study habits, sleeping schedules and housekeeping requirements beforehand.
- It is important to also consider the needs of your neighbours, who will have expectations and rights concerning things like noise, so please be considerate.
- The cities have parking bylaws and parking on lawns or across driveways is not allowed.
- Tenants are required to keep the property in a condition of good repair and appearance.
- Lawn maintenance and show shovelling should be discussed with the landlord as part of the rental agreement.
- Housemate agreement form: even if you think you know your housemates, they may surprise you. Take time to clarify expectations and discuss potential areas of disagreement.
Getting to school
Getting to school:
- All Niagara College students receive a Universal Bus Pass as part of their tuition, providing unlimited access to St. Catharines, Welland, and Niagara Falls transit systems from April to September.
- Pick up your pass at the SAC office to obtain your U-Pass sticker. You must have your student card.
- Consider not only your proximity to Niagara College, but also your access to grocery stores, hospitals, and other amenities.
- Bus routes and schedules can be found one the Welland Transit website . If you’re planning to drive, you will need to purchase a pass from Parking Services.