Living by yourself for the first time can be scary for many college students. Even though, in theory, students live by themselves on campus most of their needs are taken care of by the school in place of their parents. So, one way to ease into living alone is by subletting an apartment for the summer. If you are taking classes or have an internship that is not nearby your school or any relatives, subletting an apartment is a perfect solution.
Subletting an apartment means that you are simply leasing the apartment from the person whose name is on the original lease, not the landlord. Often the people subleasing the apartment use it during the school year but leave during the summer so they rent it out in order to cover the cost for those months that they are not using it. However, in most of these situations you will have to share the apartment, either with friends or sometimes people you don’t know. This can make you feel like you’re back in freshman year and have to again face the uncertainty of living with someone you don’t know. Even if you are living with people that you know, everyone will have different schedules which can make it very different than living with them in dorms during the school year.
Here are a few important things to remember when trying to adjust to living with people who all have different priorities and schedules. When you first move in, all of the roommates should sit down to go over schedules for the summer. For example, one of you might be doing an internship full time and another may be taking classes. It is important to discuss things like when everyone will be showering (if you share a bathroom) or when each of you will need to use the kitchen. Be sure to be firm in what you need, but also be open to negotiations. If both you and a roommate need to leave at the same time then consider cutting down your 30 minute shower to only 15 minutes so you can both shower in the morning.
Another thing that you and your roommates should discuss are any ground rules you want to set. Living with people with different schedules can make it harder to co-exist than in college where everyone has a similar schedule. Some rules you might want to consider are guests, sharing food, and general quiet times in the apartment. Again, be sure to assert what you want but be open to change as well. Remember that everyone is paying rent so the apartment is all of yours so you should all be courteous to each other.
However, another thing that you want to consider when subletting is protecting your belongings and yourself when living with people you don’t know or living in an area that is unfamiliar to you. Unfortunately, theft can be a very viable risk if you don’t take certain precautions.
A lot of research that shows theft rates go up during the summer months. The National Insurance Crime Bureau reported that vehicle theft soars in July and August. Theft is also the largest reported crime on college campuses and among college students. The top ten items stolen on college campuses are cell phones, iPods, laptops, cash, bikes, books, jewelry, credit and debit cards, TV’s, and materials used for identity theft. All of these items are relatively small and can easily be stolen by roommates or any other people you or your roommates may invite over.
So how can you protect their belongings? The most obvious tips are to always lock your door and to put away any valuables that you might have out, especially when you are not there or when your roommates may have people over that you do not know. Also, be sure to mark anything that there may be duplicates of in the apartment—such as iPods or chargers—with your name or something that marks it as yours. It is very possible for people to get mixed up and grab yours by mistake so this is an easy way to protect yourself from that. However, another option that you can also consider renter’s insurance. Renter’s insurance can cover both your personal belongings if they are lost or stolen, and cover your liability if damage is done on the property or if someone is hurt on the premises. This is very important because most landlords will not take responsibility or cover either of these. Therefore, it is up to the renter to insure themselves.
GradGuard offers a variety of renter’s insurance plans to fit every student’s needs and budget. The plans are customizable and can cover both personal property and liability. Another benefit of GradGuard’s renter’s insurance is that the policy is not specific to any one location. Therefore, if you have another apartment during the school year, or go back to living on campus, it can still help protect you and your belongings.
Overall, if you are planning on subletting an apartment this summer make sure that you and your belongings are protected so that your first time on your own can be a great experience and not a cautionary tale.
Photo credit: Bohman