Already signed a lease somewhere? Then this section is for you! Here we’ll provide you with information about what to do now that you’re in the process of moving in. We can help you with your UDAP and utility questions, provide apps for grocery lists, chores lists, decorating tips, getting to campus and more.


The Utility Deposit Assistance Program (UDAP) is a JMU sponsored program that protects your credit rating and allows you to get utility service connections without a deposit.  JMU becomes your guarantor for payments up to specified limits: $200 for gas, $300 for electric for HEC, $600 for electric for SVEC and $185 for water.  Visit Student Gateway to purchase your UDAP contract or contact Off-Campus Life for further information and instructions.

If the apartment or home you live in has more than one meter to measure utility usage, make sure to stop by Off-Campus Life to complete a multi-meter contract.  OCL can help you fill out this contract and send it to your utility companies.

Setting Up Your Utilities

When you first move in, there are several utilities that you might need to have connected, depending on what type of housing you are in.  Click each item to jump to information on that utility:


If you are moving into a house, apartment or business with an existing service, in most cases all you need to do is stop by the billing office and pay a deposit. Water and sewer services can be connected the day the deposit is made, or one day later. Water services are generally turned on during business hours.

When visiting the billing office to pay your deposit, please bring the following:

  1. Lease.
  2. Your address.
  3. Telephone number.
  4. Social Security number.
  5. JMU students should bring the Utility Deposit Application Payment (UDAP) contract.

More Information: Harrisonburg Water and Sewer


Get your electricity connected by opening an account with Harrisonburg Electric Company (HEC).

Harrisonburg Electric Company

89 West Bruce Street

Harrisonburg, VA 22801


Harrisonburg Electric Commission


Harrisonburg customers typically use the following companies:

Access Media 3:

Basic Talk:



Direct TV:

DISH Network:





Depending on where you live, there are two options for gas services.  Check these websites to see which you need to use.

Natural Gas Service:

Columbia Gas



Propane Gas Service:




Trash pickup begins automatically for residents living on public streets.
Additional information:
For trash pickup questions call the Public Works Department at 540-434-5928.
*If you live on a private street or in an apartment complex please inquire with your home owner’s association or property manager.*


The City encourages residents and businesses to become a part of Harrisonburg’s recycling program.
If you need a recycling bin or have questions, please call 540-434-5928.
Accepted items:

Useful Downloads

Roommate Agreement

OCL offers a sample Roommate Agreement Form (PDF) that can be used as a template for creating one for your own living situation.  This is a great way to divide tasks, talk about utility payments, etc.

Damage Checklist

Many apartment complexes and property managers will supply you with a damage checklist when you move in, but if they don’t we have a Sample Damage Checklist (PDF) you can use and have your landlord sign to keep both of you accountable.
*When completing a damage checklist, be sure to take pictures of any damages for documentation. This will help you avoid future fines related to damages for which the previous residents were responsible.*

Now That You Have Moved In

There are a lot of things to think about!

Grocery List- Apps

There’s an app for everything these days.  Here are seven apps you can use to digitalize your shopping list and make grocery shopping easier: Grocery List Apps

Chores List

While it’s up to you and your roommate(s) to decide how to distribute chores, check out our Sample Chore List (PDF) for an idea of what needs to be cleaned throughout your house.


Now that you’ve finally moved off campus, you will want to live in a place you can make your own.  Check out these tips for decorating your apartment.   Pintrest and other sites have great ideas as well!  Just be sure to check with your landlord or manager before you modify too much.
Homeguides  “How to Decorate a College Apartment”
EHow “How to Decorate your College Apartment”
Apt2B “Tips on Decorating your College Apartment: Living Room”

Need to Rent a Trailer?

Have a lot to move?  A trailer could be your solution.   Harrisonburg has multiple venues that offer trailer rentals and drop offs.  Check out this link to google maps to find out you who you can rent from and where!


Need a Ride? Jump on a Bus!

Harrisonburg offers a great service to JMU students: Free Bus Rides!  Many off-campus living areas are on bus routes that can get you almost anywhere in Harrisonburg.

Check out the HDPT website for schedules, information, and more.  Harrisonburg Department of Public Transportation

Need an app about bus routes for your smart phone?  There are a few options: one was created by a former JMU student!


Want to Eat on Campus?

Don’t know how to cook?  Don’t want to cook?  Miss JMU food?  Don’t worry!  Check out these Commuter Meal Plans.


Whether you are looking for an apartment, signing a lease, already moved in, or on your way out safety is a major concern!  Below is a list of tips on how to make your apartment a safe environment so that you can enjoy your time living Off Campus to its fullest!



  • JMU has created a Safety Task Force to analyze possible solutions and changes to be made to keep the community safe.
  • Public Safety has 4 officers assigned to off campus patrols, not including the 25 officers assigned to on campus patrol.
  • Safety escorts are available to any student on campus, free of charge.  Escorts are provided by carefully screened and trained student employees known as the Campus Police Cadets. Cadets are on duty 7pm – 2am Sunday-Wednesday, 9pm-2am Thursday, and 9pm-3am Friday and Saturday.  Police officers will provide any escorts outside of those time periods.
  • JMU SafeRides is a student run, non-profit organization whose mission is to create a safer community for the city of Harrisonburg. Members work to prevent drunk driving by educating JMU students, fundraising to help support our mission, and providing free rides home for JMU students. If you are a JMU student and need a ride home over the weekend, please feel free to call us at 540.JMU.RIDE (540.568.7433)! No matter where you are in Harrisonburg, we are here for you!
  • Public Safety offers educational crime prevention opportunities throughout the year.
  • Timely Notifications are issued by the James Madison University Police, giving notice of acts that could pose as a Possible Threat, that reportedly occurred on or near the campus of James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Virginia. Until the investigation of the specific act has been concluded, it can be assumed that conditions continue to exist that may pose a threat to members and guests of the community. It is the duty of the institution to warn of possible “dangerous conditions” on its property; an “affirmative duty” exists to warn of possible peril at the hands of some third party.



Secure your property

  • Utilize door locks whenever possible.  If you have lost a key, please contact your property manager to receive a replacement.
  • Close and lock all windows and sliding glass doors.  Place wooden dowel in sliding glass door track.  (You can purchase wooden dowels at a local hardware store.)
  • Utilize blinds and shades, especially at night.
  • Place all valuables out of site when parking your vehicle. Secure them in the trunk and lock your doors.  Try to leave vehicle parked under a light.
  • Call the police, if uninvited guests won’t leave.


Host a safe party

  • Report suspicious people or activity immediately to the police. Be a witness, don’t be a hero.
  • Register your party with the Harrisonburg Police Department – 540.434.4436.  Instead of sending an officer out for the first noise complaint, HPD will call the host to correct the problem.
  • Have a guest list – know who is in your home.
  • Call the police, if uninvited guests won’t leave.
  • Have a sober host on the premises at all times.
  • Keep it small. Be aware occupancy limits. Beware of overcrowding wooden decks.
  • Lock doors to private areas (i.e. bedrooms) and secure or hide valuables.
  • Limit the alcohol consumption of guests.
  • Provide non-alcoholic beverages and food.


When attending a party

    • Trust your instincts. If you feel uncomfortable, leave the area.
    • Report suspicious people or activity immediately to the police. Be a witness, don’t be a hero.
    • Stay with friends. Look out for each other.
    • Know the hosts of the party you are attending.
    • Drink responsibly.  Do not drink to excess.
    • Secure a safe way to get home, such as a bus, taxi or JMU SafeRides (540.568.7433).
    • Carry only the ID and money you’ll need for the night.
    • Be considerate of others and respectful of property.

Traveling by foot

      • Use well lit and well-traveled areas: Avoid dark and deserted areas, such as railroad tracks, or shortcuts.
      • Do not walk or jog alone.
      • Utilize the sidewalk at all times.  If there is no sidewalk and you must walk in the roadway, always walk facing traffic.
      • Do not approach an unknown car if it follows your, or the driver beckons you while you are walking. Instead, turn and quickly walk the opposite direction.
      • Do not resist or attempt to fool a robber.

Other tips

      • Do not make it easy for thieves. They are on the lookout for items left unattended. It takes only seconds to grab your property and get away.
      • Use common sense.  Trust your instincts and listen to that gut feeling.
      • Report all crimes: When reporting a crime or suspicious activity, give the dispatcher all the information you have. If the crime is occurring during your call, stay on the line until the officer arrives.


Report Suspicious Activity Immediately

      • Look out for your neighbors and call the local police immediately if you observe suspicious activity.

JMU Police 540.568.6913

Harrisonburg & Rockingham County Police (Emergency Communications Center)   540.434.4436

Call 911 for EMERGENCIES!


For additional public safety information visit JMU Public Safety’s Website.

To see a comprehensive list of JMU Timely Notifications visit Public Safety’s Incident Listing page.

To see reports on criminal activity throughout Harrisonburg visit the Crime Reports website.

Follow us on Facebook at JMU Off Campus Life for more tips.

Looking for a Job?

Living off-campus may require you to work to help pay for expenses like transportation, food, and utilities. Working while in school can also help in learning time management skills and in building skills and experience to add to a resume.

As a student, you have options of working on or off-campus.
For on-campus job opportunities, go to JMU Joblink or to Dining Service’s Website to search for any available positions.

You can also visit JMU’s Off-Campus Job Announcements page which provides information on known off-campus work opportunities.

Additional questions regarding student job opportunities can be addressed by visiting the Student Work Experience Center on the 5th Floor of the Student Success Center or checking out their website.

Guide to Living Downtown

If you live in a property downtown there are city ordinances that apply to you and your housemates. We encourage you to print off our Guide to Living Downtown and place it on the back of your front door. Please note that that your trash day may differ from the indicated day on this sheet, check with your landlord to find out which day your trash should go out.

Trash Day

• All trash should be in containers

• If bags or containers fail during handling the property owner or occupant will assume clean up. The trash can should have outside handles.

• Residential $25.00/month fee


• Plastic:

• Any container with a recycling symbol with a 1 or 2 on the bottom.

• Procedure: Remove lids and labels then place in recycling bin.

• Glass:

• Procedure: Remove lids and rinse the bottle

• Aluminum:

• Procedure: Rinse, flatten and drop in the bin.

• Steel/Tin:

• Procedure: Remove labels, lids and rinse

• Household Batteries:

• Procedure: Place in clear plastic bag and put in the recycling bin

• Newspaper/Miscellaneous Paper:

• Procedure: Store in a separate recycling bin such as a cardboard box. Keep dry. Do not tie together or place in any kind of bag.

• Unacceptable Materials Include:

• Any unmarked plastic, Styrofoam, and any plastic marked #3, #4, #5, #6, or #7

• Plastic Bags

• Cardboard (waxed, corrugated boxes, pizza boxes, etc.)

Yard Debris/Bulk Collection Day

  • Pick up is on the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of the month

Accepted bulk items include:

  • Furniture, appliances, or large items not taken on you normal trash day.
  • Latex paint must be completely dried out. (Note: Oil-based paints are not accepted for Yard Debris and Bulk Collection, but can be brought to Household Hazardous Waste Collection Days for proper disposal.)

Instructions for Yard Debris:

  • Yard debris/leaves must be in biodegradable bags, loose in a dump-able container, or bundled and tied with string.
  • Please call 540-434-5928 if you have any questions.


Maximum Sound Levels

Nighttime. No person shall permit, operate or cause any source of sound to create a sound level in excess of fifty-five (55) dBA when measured at or outside the property boundary between the hours 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m.

Daytime. No person shall permit, operate or cause any source of sound to create a sound level in excess of sixty-five (65) dBA when measured at or outside the property boundary between the hours 6:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m.

Punishment. Where no conviction under this section has occurred within the preceding three (3) years of the date of the offense, the defendant shall be convicted of a Class 3 misdemeanor and sentenced according to state law in the discretion of the court, however, the city counsel recommends the sentence include fifty (50) hours community service. For each subsequent conviction of a violation of this section within three (3) years, the defendant shall be convicted of a Class 1 misdemeanor and sentenced according to state law in the discretion of the court, however, the city council recommends the sentence to include on hundred (100) hours of community service.

Register your Party

Be smart and register your party with the Harrisonburg Police Department – 540-434-4436 –


  • HPD will call you at the first noise complaint instead of sending an officer
  •  Have a guest list – know who is in your home.
  • If uninvited guests won’t leave, call the police.
  • Have a sober host on the premises at all times.
  • Keep it small. Be aware of occupancy limits. Beware of overcrowding wooden decks.
  • Limit the alcohol consumption of guests.
  • Provide non-alcoholic beverages and food.
  • Lock doors to private areas (i.e. bedrooms) and secure valuables.
  • Report suspicious persons or activity immediately to the police. Be a witness, don’t be a hero.
  • Be considerate of others and respectful of property


Snow and Ice

The City asks residents to keep in mind the following guidelines for driving and parking in winter conditions:

  • Avoid parking on the street. Snowplows can’t fully clear the street with cars in the way.
  • Avoid unnecessary travel when crews are clearing snow and ice from the roadways.
  • Do not attempt to pass snowplows and stay at least 100 feet behind them.
  • Keep a safe distance of at least five seconds behind other vehicles.
  • Be aware of potentially icy areas such as shady spots and bridges.
  • When driving on ice, turn slowly, and do not slam on your brakes. Sudden changes can cause your car to spin out of control.

The City also reminds residents that according to Section 6-1-15 of the Code of the City of Harrisonburg, residents must clear snow from sidewalks in front or on the side of their home within three hours after precipitation stops falling, or by 10:00am the following morning for overnight storms. Citizens should shovel snow to the right side of their driveways (looking toward the street). This way, snowplows will not push already-shoveled snow back into your driveway.

Accumulation of Junk

The city reminds residents in Section 6-2-6 of the Code of the City of Harrisonburg about the accumulation of junk, rubbish or garbage on premises in open view. According to the ordinance, it is unlawful for any person to place or leave on any property in the city any indoor furniture, dilapidated furniture, appliance, machinery, equipment, building material, or other item(s) which are either in a wholly or partially rusted, wrecked, junked, dismantled or inoperative condition and which is not completely enclosed within a building or dwelling. Any such item which remains on the property of any occupant for a period of ten (10) days after notice of violation of this section shall be presumed to be abandoned and subject to being removed from the property by the city without further notice with the cost of such removal being charged back to the owner of the premises.

  • Remember, what you leave on your property can reflect poorly on the area or neighborhood. Keep your front porch/backyard clear of any debris or furniture.


Follow these guidelines and be considerate of your neighbors and surrounding Harrisonburg Community!