Should I sign a lease for the 2021-22 school year?

April 19, 2021

There is no set timeline or rush to find housing in Milwaukee, as off-campus housing typically is available all year long.

When making living arrangements, you should take into account factors like finances, employment, internships, undergraduate research, study abroad and access to activities. Which living arrangement is most conducive to your health, well-being, safety and learning is a personal decision, and the best fit could be living in a family home, on campus in a residence hall or renting off campus. If you are considering off-campus housing, start by completing the online Preferred Tenant Program through the Neighborhood Housing Office.

At this time, the UW System Residency Requirement is in effect for the 2021-2022 academic year. The policy states: “Those freshman who are not veterans, married or living with parents or guardian shall be required to live in a University operated Residence Hall when such accommodations are available.” The suspension of the residency policy only applied to students entering UWM in Fall 2020 and Spring 2021. For more information about requesting an exemption, please visit University Housing’s Residency Policy Toolkit website.

If you decide to sign a lease, please keep in mind that a lease is a legally binding contract. You are bound by the terms for its duration. Signing a lease does not qualify you for a residency requirement exemption. Once a lease is signed, you, your roommate(s) and landlord must agree to any changes. Get those changes in writing. Take time to review all terms. The University Legal Clinic will review your lease for free. If you have roommates, make sure everyone is in agreement if something happens during the course of the lease (someone transfers, plans to study abroad, has a change in financial situation, etc.)

If a landlord is pressuring you into signing a lease, don’t do it! If a landlord is pressuring you now, you can expect them to act accordingly throughout the duration of your lease. And remember to ask about when you have to provide notice if you plan to stay or leave for the next year. Avoid agreeing to provide more than 60 days’ notice before the end of the lease.