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Should I Move Off Campus?
It's best to make your decision by late fall. In February, the Housing Office holds their room sign up for students wishing to return to the residence halls for the following year. As a returning student, it is important that you begin your search for off-campus housing as soon as you make the decision to live off campus. Most landlords in the city of Platteville begin signing leases in fall of the previous year. However, don't panic as listings are always coming in year round.
Off-campus Housing Qualifications
As a UW-Platteville student, your first concern is to meet the qualifications necessary to live off campus. University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents policy states that all freshman and sophomore students must live in university residence halls unless they meet established criteria for exemption. Exceptions to this requirement are authorized with the appropriate completion of a Request for Exemption form available in the Residence Life Office in Royce Hall, for the following reasons:
- Students who commute daily from the home of their parent/legal guardian (50 miles or less)
- Students who are 21 years of age or older
- Students who have been out of high school for at least two years
- Students who have 60 or more post high school university credits
- Students who are married
Students are not released from the requirement unless they receive written authorization from the Director of Residence Life.
For more information, view the Off-Campus Housing Qualifications document.
Annual Housing Fair
The Office of Rental Resources sponsors a Housing Fair to be held in October of each year. Our fair is the easiest and most convenient way for students to start their housing search and collect a variety of information on available properties and services. If you are not sure where you’re living next semester or next year, or if you just want to learn more about preparing to move off campus you do not want to miss this event! The Housing Fair is not a place for students to go to sign leases or feel any pressure to do so. Rather, it is an opportunity to ask questions, find out information and learn more about local options.
Moving Off Campus
When you move off campus, you become a member of the community and are responsible for your own safety. Keep this in mind when searching for a place to live. Living off campus is very different than living in a residence hall. Each has advantages and disadvantages and students need to take these into consideration before taking the plunge to move off campus. Now that you will be living on your own, it is important to educate yourself as a tenant in Wisconsin. You will need to know your rights and responsibilities to help avoid problems before you sign your lease.
A Monthly Budget Summary and Housing Checklist will help you determine rental payments you can afford and what to look for when viewing rental properties. If utilities are not included in the rent, before agreeing to rent an apartment/house you should ask the landlord for the apartment's "average utility costs." If the landlord does not have this information, you can contact the utlity company directly.
Things to Look for in a Lease
It is highly recommended that you inspect the property you would like to rent prior to signing a lease. Also, ask for a copy of the lease in advance, and read it carefully. Don't be pressured into signing or paying for anything that appears suspicious or that you do not understand. ONCE YOU SIGN A LEASE, YOU HAVE ENTERED INTO A LEGALLY BINDING CONTRACT. Make sure that you receive a copy of the fully signed lease-one that has all tenant signatures and the Landlord's signature!
- Before You Sign a Lease
- Landlord Disclosure Requirements
- Prohibited Lease Provisions
- New Required Lease Language as of March 1, 2014
Types of Leases
- "Joint and Several Liability" - When more than one person is on a lease, they are typically held "Jointly and Severally" responsible for rent and damages. This means that if a roommate fails to pay rent, violates a lease clause or damages the unit, the landlord may go after any tenant/co-signor that they choose to remedy the situation. It is a good idea to spell out some basic rules in a Roommate Agreement which should establish each roommate's obligation to the others. All roommates should sign, date and keep one copy of the Agreement in their own personal file. Execution of a Roommate Agreement does not alter the "joint and several liability" of the Rental Agreement with the landlord. However, it may be useful if a dispute among roommates arises.
- Individual Leases - In this case, each tenant (roommate) will sign his/her own separate lease for a shared rental. This type of lease should make each person responsible for only their share of rent or damages. If you will be living with roommates whom you do not know, it would be a good idea to ask the landlord to let each roommate sign an individual lease. Landlords may, but do not have to, let you and roommates sign separate leases.
Ready to Take the Next Step?
- Choose your roommates wisely!
- Search the rental listings on our website and find valuable information/resources to help in your search.
- Check out the landlord. Use the links on the right to research the Wisconsin Court systems and the City of Platteville website to check for violations. Make sure that the landlord holds a current valid rental license if required by the City and that he/she is in compliance with applicalble local, state and federal rental codes.
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Residential Rental Practices
Wisconsin Administrative Code ACTP Chapter 134
Wisconsin Landlord & Tenant Law
Wisconsin Statutes Chapter 704
Wisconsin Circuit Court
Check for any Landlord lawsuits/court orders
- Wisconsin Sex Offender Database
Tenant Resource Center
Free housing counseling and information regarding rental rights and responsibilities
TIP: Visit alliantenergy.com to find estimates for electric and gas costs for any property. Just go to the "Get average energy use for a property" link in the lefthand column and enter the address of the property. This will bring up the monthly high and low costs as well as a monthly average.