Moving In To Your Off-Campus Home
This fall, more than 10,000 students will return to Milwaukee’s east side and for many it will be the first time they rent an off-campus apartment, duplex or house.
UWM offers several resources to guide students to a successful off-campus living experience. Most importantly, the Neighborhood Housing Office is their one-stop shop for all off-campus living questions and concerns. Smart renters take a few extra steps when they move-in to start things off on the right foot.
First, have your student review the University Legal Clinic Tenant Right and Responsibilities Handbook, which is available online. Most landlords use a standard Wisconsin Legal Blank Rental Agreement but some will include addendums or additional clauses. If anything seems strange, have them visit the ULC. Also keep in mind that in the City of Milwaukee it is illegal for more than three unrelated adults to live together no matter how many bedrooms.
Second, when your student moves in make sure they use a check-in sheet to record the overall condition of the property. Most people will also take pictures or a video to document the overall state and any concerns they might have.
Third, encourage your student to create a roommate agreement with their new roommates. Spending time talking about expectations around study and sleep schedules, how bills will be paid, overnight guests, cleaning and discussing how the roommates will approach conflict can save hours of headaches later.
These three important tips can greatly improve your student’s off-campus living experience. UWM students who report greater satisfaction with their off-campus living environment obtain higher grades and persist more towards the following year.
A few other suggestions for those who are newer to renting in the city:
- If your student’s unit doesn’t offer parking, they can pick up a permit from a Milwaukee Police Department station for $55/year.
- Parents or family members who are cosigners should note that Wisconsin is a state where tenants can be held jointly and severally liable including co-signers. See Wisconsin Statute Chapter 704 and Chapter ATCP 134.
- Have your student obtain Renters Insurance just in case. Better safe than sorry!
- The Milwaukee Department of Neighborhood Services
can often provide assistance if landlords are not properly caring for properties or making repairs in a timely matter.
We hope your student has a positive experience living off-campus in the neighborhoods around UWM. They are some of the most beautiful and historic around the city!