Caution advised in signing apartment lease

By Julie Listek

Apartment renting might be a new and exciting experience for many NIU students, but there are many quarks to beware of before signing the lease.

The general manager of University Heights, Amy Sharer, said one of the most important things to do is to read all of the material.

“Read everything and then ask questions,” she said. “People don’t read the rules and regulations and they should.”

Another hazard to avoid is looking for apartments strictly by price. This is dangerous because some prices include utilities and others do not. One might find an apartment for a very reasonable rent with no utilities included and then find the more expensive rent is really a better buy because the rent includes utilities.

“Make sure you find the best package,” said High Meadows rental consultant, Brent Jacobsen. “Rent may be cheap, but doesn’t cover utilities.”

He said it is important to get the best deal that covers utilities, cable, electric, gas, food, phone and heat.

Dave Noble, Bromley Apartments assistant resident manager, said it also is best to see the actual apartment the prospective tenant will reside in, not a model, and then inquire about the quality and willingness of the management.

Sharer said, “Models are always clean. If you see the actual apartment you can see what you’re really going to get for your money. You can check out the condition of the apartment and the maintenance.”

She suggests asking the tenants already residing in the apartment about such things as bus stops, travel time, maintenance, laundromats, noise levels and management.

“We (landlords) don’t like it when tenants have to break their lease. Make sure you get all things important to you out in the open at the beginning and ask questions and be picky,” she said.