Living off campus isn’t always going to be perfect. If you’re running into issues with your landlord, roommates, or you need to sublease, then this section is for you. We'll provide you details here on where to go and resources to use to help with problems.
If you are having issues with your landlord, the Landlord Tenant Act may be of help for your situation: Virginia Residential Landlord and Tenant Act (PDF)
We would also love to meet with you one on one to discuss further options such as on and off campus mediation, documenting situations, taking things to court, etc. Stop by our office, give us a call, or send us an email to set up a meeting.
If you are having issues with your roommates, the best thing you can do is to talk with them. If you have already tried that and still need more help, come and see us. We can offer solutions such as: helping you to document situations in your apartment, on and off campus mediation between you and your roommates, or refer you to the Varner House. Stop by our office, give us a call, or send us an email to set up a meeting.
If you’re studying abroad, graduating early, or just looking for someone to take over your room for a time period, subleasing may be your best option. Check out our Guide to subleasing (PDF) for basic information.
Many property managers and landlords have specific forms you will need to fill out if you’re planning on subleasing, but if they do not have these forms available check out Subleasing Agreement Form (PDF). If you have any other questions, let us know. We will be glad to help!
When you sign a lease, you are entering into a legal contract, so make sure you read the document and know what you are signing.
Beware because the terms and provisions of your lease legally bind you. By signing the lease, you are legally stating that you know what it says and are willing to abide by all the rules in it.
- Carefully examine the lease
- Ask for a copy so you and/or your family can review it more thoroughly
- Some leases are very restrictive. Be aware because you are responsible for knowing exactly what the lease says and means.
- Don’t hesitate to ask the landlord about clauses and terms that you don’t understand. You can also consult with someone at OCL.
- Agree on any changes, additions, or provisions with your landlord and make sure these are stated in the lease before signing on the dotted line.
- If it includes a provision or clause you want to remove, it’s okay to ask the landlord about it.
- Make sure it is all in writing and all parties involved sign, date, and keep a copy.
A lease is a legal document. No matter how your situation may change, you are financially responsible the minute you sign the lease. Make sure you understand the type of lease you’re signing. Below is a description of some common lease types.
An individual lease is when you sign for a single room, meaning you are individually responsible for paying rent and any damages to that room. You also sign for a share of the living area/ other common spaces.
Pro: If a roommate moves out, you are not responsible for his/her rent or damages.
Con: The landlord can put anybody (male, female, non-student) in the empty bedroom without your approval.
A group lease is a lease signed by all occupants, making the entire group responsible for damages and paying the full rent.
Pro: Your group has control of who may move into an empty bedroom.
Con: If a roommate backs out, the rest of the group must make up the difference in cost.
Always ask questions and make sure you fully understand the entire document. Off-Campus Life is more than willing to go over any leases with students and help them to better understand what they are signing.
Leaving half-way through the semester and need to find a person to take over your lease? Learn more about subleasing.
Even when you prepare and plan, living off-campus isn’t always going to be perfect. You may run into problems getting along with roommates, talking with your landlord about concerns, or upholding the terms of your lease. If you’re running into issues with your landlord, your roommates, or you need to sublease your apartment, then this section is for you.