Living off-campus introduces plenty of new choices and new responsibilities. Off Campus Living is here to help you learn about the basics of renting, your rights & responsibilities as a tenant, and creating community. We also point you to important links on safety, commuting, and getting to know the Bellingham area. This website is intended to give you an overview of what you can expect—and what is expected of you—as an official Bellingham resident.
….. Basically, we’re all you need to know about adulting.
7 tips to making your move out experience the best it can be
- To maximize your damage deposit refund, get a cleaning checklist from your landlord and double check to make sure you cleaned everything on the list!
- Replace your light bulbs and old batteries in smoke detectors before you move out! Many landlords charge $20 a pop to have their maintenance team replace them.
- Don’t leave any unwanted household items anywhere in the unit, yard or sidewalk after you leave. Landlords will charge you to clean them up!
- Anything that is sitting near the dumpster won’t get picked unless you ask your landlord to order a special pickup for it so ask early to avoid fines!
- Make sure to give your landlord an updated address where they can send your refund check. Landlords must send you your refund (or receipts showing what they spent your refund on) within 21 days of the end of your tenancy.
- Check out this handy flier on how to get rid of your unwanted household items.
- If you need to rent a truck to move your stuff, make your reservation early! Uhaul is the only company in town that will rent trucks to people under 21.
Moving off campus in five easy steps
November – December
Develop a budget and identify how much you can afford to spend on rent, utilities and transportation/ parking every month. This will help you determine how many roommates you should plan for and where to live. Need budgeting help? Contact the Student Business Office!
January – February
Talk about your expectations before you move in with a roommate. Choose a roommate who has a similar lifestyle, sleep schedule and cleanliness standards; someone you can rely on to pay the rent! Check out the Roommates page for more info!
Finding a place
March – April
Finding a place may seem daunting, but Off Campus Living can help! Start your search in the neighborhoods near Western: York, Happy Valley, Sehome or Puget. When you tour a rental make sure it is clean, safe and in good repair. If you have concerns about the rental company, look up reviews online. Check out our Finding a Place page for more tips!
Signing a Lease
April – May
A lease is a legal document that makes you and your roommates equally responsible for paying rent through the full term of the rental agreement. Before you sign a lease, read the whole thing so you are aware of all rules and fees included in it. Always view a rental before signing or putting down a deposit. Check out the Leases page for more info!
August – September
When you move in, complete a damage checklist with your landlord & make sure you both sign it. Any damage not noted will be your responsibility to pay for. Next step: be a great neighbor! Check out the Off Campus Living website for adulting tips!
Take this 30 minute course on CANVAS now! You can learn all you need to know about signing a lease, your rights and responsibilities as a renter, and how to find a safe and comfortable place to live. 30 minutes now will save you time, money and friendships in the future!