Friday, May 31, 2013

It Is That Time of Year: Moving off Campus!

With Spring Quarter finals just around the corner, thousands of UC San Diego students are preparing to move out of their on-campus residences and into a house or apartment off campus next year. Moving off campus is a right of passage, but student tenants need to be aware that leases are binding legal contracts that come with many rights and responsibilities.

Part of signing a lease includes paying a security deposit to the new landlord. Students frequently ask us how they can maximize their chances of getting their entire security deposit back at the end of the lease. We  encourage students to watch this little video we created with the help of TritonTV.

If you take anything away from the video (other than the idea that some landlords like to wear capes and phony mustaches), we hope it will be this:
  • When you get the keys to your new place, but before you move any furniture in, be sure to document the condition of the residence by taking lots of photographs! (Using an inspection checklist is also a good idea.)
  • Take pictures of everything--the walls, floors/carpets, cabinets, appliances, etc.--and pay special attention to anything in the residence that is not in perfect condition.
  • Promptly print the photographs and mail them to yourself at your new address. When the photos arrive in the mail, do not open the envelope! Keep it sealed so that you can use the date stamp on the envelope to show when you took the pictures and mailed them. A dated and sealed envelope full of detailed photos is the best evidence you can have if a dispute arises with the landlord over the security deposit or the condition of your residence when you move out.
  • Make sure to take photos and mail them to yourself both when you move in and move out!

If you are a currently registered UC San Diego student, call Student Legal Services to make an appointment with an attorney to go over your lease contract with you or answer any other landlord/tenant questions you may have.

Until next time, good luck on finals, and happy renting!