Questions about Renting
What is leasing?
A lease is a legal contract between a tenant and landlord so that the tenant will be able to live on the property once they make their payments. Make sure to always have all agreements in writing and read your lease carefully before signing!
What should be included in my lease?
Check out this Leasing checklist to see the things that typically should be included in a lease agreement.
Is there only one type of leasing that applies to everybody?
The simple answer is no. There are different kinds of leases available, so don’t feel like you have to sign a lease for 9 or 12 months! Here are the types of leases available:
- Apartment – You are signing a lease for the entire unit.
- Individual – You are signing a lease for a specific room.
- Fixed Term – This tenancy specifies a definite term for the agreement, such as the academic year (9 months) or one year (12 months).
- Period-to-Period – A tenancy from period to period specifies a definite initial time, but it can be automatically renewed, unless terminated, typically a month-to-month lease.
What is a security deposit?
A security deposit is any money paid to a landlord at the beginning of your lease that protects the landlord against damage or failure to pay rent. You should get this back once you move out if the former conditions do not apply to you.
What are utilities?
These are services you have to pay for, unless they are included in the rent. This could include your electricity, water, internet, trash, etc.
What are amenities?
These are features that are not always included, but do not usually cost extra. This could include a pool, washer/dryer, dishwasher, etc.
What are the different types of housing I might see on the website?
- Apartment: Typically housed in a large building and can range from 1 to 4 bedrooms
- Studio: One large apartment without separate rooms for the bedroom, kitchen, and living room
- Townhouse: Lined up in a row of homes connected to each other, which are available with different number of bedrooms and bathrooms
- House: Most traditional home type and doesn’t have connecting walls to another property; come with a variety of bedrooms and bathrooms, and usually have a lawn and a backyard.
What is subletting?
Do you need to leave town, but don’t want to lose the rent you’re pouring into your current apartment rental? Well, you just might be a great candidate for subletting. When you sublet, you rent your room or your entire apartment out to another party for a pre-determined period of time (preferably for the entire period you’ll be gone, like the whole summer and you want to come back during the fall semester). You can post your sublet opportunities on our housing locator website, och.gmu.edu. You can post your apartment on the rental page (for a fee) OR under the roommate section (free for students!). Make sure you select “have a place” on your profile!
Should I get a roommate?
Some people find that having a roommate or multiple roommates are a good financial and personal decision. Just remember that in Fairfax City, no more than four unrelated people can live together. You can find possible roommate matches on och.gmu.edu, as long as you have created an account with your GMU credentials. To help you get started, check out this roommate questionnaire. Roommate Questionnaire – Who Will You Live With