Divorcing the dorms: CSU housing fair March 5

The world of renting or buying houses and apartments can seem terrifying to students. There are a million things to consider, with limited time to get them sorted out.

Sophomore equine and animal science major Rebecca Sonn makes dinner at her apartment in Rams Village east Monday night. Sonn moved off campus after living in Braiden Hall her first year.
Sophomore equine and animal science major Rebecca Sonn makes dinner at her apartment in Rams Village east Monday night. Sonn moved off campus after living in Braiden Hall her first year.

The questions are endless. They often range from the general, “How did you find your housing?” to the more specific, “When did you sign your lease?” — and they can be hard to answer explicitly.

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The panic may be real, but CSU and many other resources are more than willing to offer help.

As a first step, students can visit the Off-Campus Life office located on the first floor of the Lory Student Center. In person, or online at http://ocl.colostate.edu/,  there are informational booklets and other resources to get the search for housing started.

On the website alone, students can search for available rentals, search for housing by cost, browse an extensive list of apartment complexes — even find a roommate for the year.

For students seeking roommates or a place to live, the Housing Fair takes place March 5 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the LSC East Ballroom.

Throughout the year, CSU offers several student-based housing options, which can be easy transitions out of dorm life.  Areas such as Ram’s Pointe, Ram’s Village, Ram’s Park and many others are housing hubs for CSU students and include a more social aspect.

Rebecca Sonn is a sophomore currently living in Ram’s Village who recommends the complex for students looking for more connections to people.

“For proximity to campus and overall living, it’s great, but you have to take into account what kind of student you are,” Sonn said.

According to Sonn, the social aspect can manifest in the form of parties. Weekend nights can be noisy due to “party hunters,” Sonn said.

However, Sonn recommends the area to other students, particularly those new to living off-campus.

“Ram’s Village makes it really easy to transition out of the dorms,” Sonn said.

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Ram’s Pointe is located a mile further down W. Elizabeth Street. Sophomore Amanda Vargas lived in an apartment during fall 2012, but moved at semester.

“You have a gym and a pool on site as well as you are able to live with whoever you want. You are matched pretty well,” Vargas said. “But, it’s further than Ram’s Village. The extra mile or mile-and-a-half really makes a difference when you’re trying to get to class.”

Vargas also said that prices are a little high compared to other student housing options.

Students also have the option of leasing newer apartments, such as those at The Summit on College, which officially opens in August of 2013 in time for the fall semester.

Many other apartment and townhome communities also consider students, but can be more selective when allowing students to apply.

Leasing a house rather than an apartment is another potential option for students.

Houses can have cheaper rates in some cases since there are not packaged deals in most communities. Renting a house, however, often results in more responsibilities: shoveling snow, yard care and trash and sewage, to name a few.

Houses are more likely to be under personal renters, but there are several companies in Fort Collins that rent to students: Kevco, All Property Services, Northern Colorado Rentals, Poudre Property Services and others.

Besides finding a location, most students need to find a roommate or two.

Roommate numbers are almost always restricted to three per residence, due to Fort Collins’s U+2 law. Only specific areas and family scenarios are allowed to have more.

Students may want to choose their roommates carefully, as they are legally bound to live together as long as their lease states.

“What are the absolutes regarding the environment? Students know what they need,” Jeannie Ortega, the director of Off-Campus Life, said.

According to Ortega, this is the primary question students must ask themselves before choosing a roommate.

Perhaps it seems like living with a best friend is the smartest choice.

“Best friends might work out great because they are in sync with each other,” Ortega said. “I’ve seen best friends become worst enemies, too.”

For those students who are having major issues with their roommates, mediation is offered through CSU’s Conflict Resolution.

Students who are farther along in the rental process can also visit Student Legal Services, within the LSC. These offices are home to several lawyers who can help students find the fine print on leases and sort out legal jargon.

In an email to the Collegian, Kathleen Harward, director of student legal services wrote, “(Roommates should) talk in detail about their ability to pay their share and their intentions around noise, guests, food sharing, cleaning, alcohol, drugs, and even flushing toilets!”

Student Legal Services also offers free educational seminars for renters to learn the basics.

“The most important thing to is to read the lease. Students are bound to leases and it’s likely that this is the first legal contract for (them),” Ortega said.

According to Ortega, there are, in most cases, additional cleaning fees, re-keying fees and charges that are often overlooked.

“If the tenant doesn’t read closely, they may be unaware,” Ortega said. “The minute the ink dries, you are committed. Do your due diligence.”