FAQs About Off Campus Living
Can I still eat in the Sutton Commons if I live off-campus?
Yes! In fact, many students who reside off-campus choose to do so because of the convenience, low cost, and variety, not to mention the social opportunity of mingling in the Commons. You can purchase either a 9, 14 or 19 meal per week plan which covers the whole semester by contacting the Business Office at 540-375-2255. You may also apply money to your Maroon Card account to be designated for "dining dollars." Dining dollars may be used for individual meals in the Commons and meals or side items at the Cavern. Dining dollars may be loaded to your Maroon account on-line through your MY Roanoke portal.
Why do I have to pay a security deposit in addition to my rent?
The security deposit serves as collateral in the event of damages or default on monthly rent payments. By law, the security deposit cannot exceed the equivalent of two month's rent. If you damage the unit in excess of normal wear and tear, the landlord may deduct from your security deposit only the actual cost to repair the damage. That is why it is important for you to complete the "Checklist of Initial Condition" found in Appendix 3 of this guide immediately before moving in. This way you will have a record of the condition of the unit before you begin living there. If possible complete the checklist with your landlord present and have him/her sign it. In addition to deducting money for damages, if you fail to pay all or a portion of your rent at anytime during the lease, the landlord can deduct the unpaid rent from the deposit as well. If all goes well and you live out the terms of your lease, the landlord must refund to you within thirty (30) days the full deposit or any portion that has not been used to fix damages or repay unpaid rent.
Do I have to pay rent during the summer months when I'm not in school?
Yes! Most leases are for one full year. However, most landlords will allow you to sublet to someone else during the summer months. This means you may allow someone else to rent your portion of the unit. Normally, subletting requires the consent of the landlord. Remember, although you may sublet the apartment to someone else, YOU remain liable for the rent if the subleasee does not pay! You are also primarily liable if the subleasee damages the property!
If my roommate's name is on the lease too, shouldn't he have to pay half the rent?
No! Most leases require each lessee (both you and your roommate) to be responsible for the full rent. That means if your roommate skips out on you, YOU owe the entire amount of the rent. The same is true for the utility and phone bills. To protect yourself, have a separate agreement between you and your roommate to cover these situations. Click here for a sample roommate agreement.
Does my landlord have to fix things that are broken in the unit?
Sometimes. If major structural problems arise or there are major defects in the plumbing, heating, or electrical systems the landlord must fix them immediately. On the other hand, you may be responsible to pay for defects as well. Check your lease for specific wording about your landlord's responsibilities. Additionally, other conditions that violate the minimum housing code must be repaired by the landlord as well. Minor, yet annoying defects do not have to be fixed at all. Normally, tenants are not responsible for ordinary wear and tear to a unit. However, if you break something (rip the carpet, put a hole in the wall, break a window, etc.) you will have to pay for it. If you have questions regarding housing standards in the city of Salem, contact the Building Official's office at 540-375-3036.
How can I get out of my lease?
This depends on the term of your lease. Most leases will not let you terminate early. Some leases can be terminated with appropriate written notice, usually 30 days. Leases are a legal contract. If you fail to live up to the terms of the lease, you may be responsible for all of the unpaid rent remaining on the lease. Because of the long term nature of leases and the costs involved if you do not live out its terms, read the document thoroughly. Do not sign the lease unless you are reasonably sure you can live up to its terms. Lastly, if you break a lease you may also be responsible for attorney's fees and other legal costs the landlord must expend in trying to enforce the lease.
How do I arrange for things like telephone and electrical service?
First, refer to your landlord or your lease to determine which utilities the landlord will provide and which utilities you need to provide for yourself. After you have made this determination, you can go to the Salem City Hall Building, at 114 North Broad Street, to sign up for water, electricity, sewer service, and trash pick up. You will need to contact Bell Atlantic directly to arrange for telephone service. All of these services will require a deposit.