Step 16: Living in Your New Home

There are many responsibilities that come with living in your new home and you will want to make sure you are taking care of all of them.

Paying Bills

Paying Bills

Keep track of your bills while living in your house or apartment. You and any roommates will need to decide who will be primarily responsible for paying any utilities that are not included on the lease. Although the cost is usually split between parties, only one name will be associated with the account for payment.

Paying or not paying bills on time directly impact the credit score of the person on the account. Credit scores are pulled and taken into consideration for future larger expenditures, such as new leases and loans. Carefully consider who will be primarily responsible for making on-time payments before starting your services.

Go through the lease as well to figure out what services are included by the landlord and what additional services you need. The most common type of bills are for energy/electric/heat, internet and cable or water.

How to Set Up Utilities

Prominent Utility Providers 

Understanding Your Utility Bill

In addition to these typical bills, you will also need to factor in expenses like groceries.

Winterizing Your Home

Living in Milwaukee during the winter months comes with certain regulations that you should be aware of.

Beginning December 1 and continuing to March 1, winter parking regulations take affect. Many residential streets will require odd/even side street parking. Some streets will restrict parking altogether during this time so it is important to read all posted street signs. More information on parking can be found here.

Another important city ordinance to follow is that residents have 24 hours after the last snowfall to clear snow from sidewalks. Check your lease to see who is responsible for this to avoid facing fines from the city.

The cold weather that comes with Milwaukee winters may cause spikes in the cost of your energy bill. All rooms in your unit must be able to 67 degrees, if they do not reach out to your landlord to have this issue fixed. Check out these heat saving tips!

Garbage and Recycling

Garbage and Recycling

Take your trash out regularly and dispose of it in your designated dumpster. The Department of Public Works has a garbage pick-up schedule, which will tell you what day the next garbage and recycling pickup is for your specific address. The City also provides services and guidelines for different types of garbage disposal, such as electronics, appliances and bulkier furniture items, which can be found here: Sanitation Services.

It is important to dispose of garbage and recycling correctly and in your designated bin.

  • Garbage is collected weekly but recycling varies
  • To properly set out your garbage and recycling, carts and bins must be at a collection point. This is usually wherever your garbage/recycling bins are all of the time.
  • Carts must be 3 feet away from all objects. This is to ensure that the workers have enough room to pick up the garbage and recycling bins. It’s easiest to make sure your bins are isolated.
  • Garbage must be bagged and recycling must be loose. Making sure that the garbage is bagged helps with litter and not attracting as much wildlife.
  • The lid opens to the alley/road. This ensures that the workers aren’t doing more work than they should be.

Recyclable Items:

  • Paper
  • Cardboard
  • Metal cans
  • Glass jars
  • Plastic bottles
  • Jugs
  • Tubs

You should rinse all of these items out before putting them in the recycling to help prevent pests from getting into the recycling.

For appliances like air conditioners, boilers, clothes, washers and dryers, dehumidifiers, freezers and other big things, you can take them to drop off centers along with electronics and tires.

Be aware that you can get a fine from the City of Milwaukee if you don’t follow the rules and regulations about trash and recycling properly. If you get one, you will receive a warning tag on your door/bins. Additionally, remember that your garbage is your responsibility and should not be placed in other peoples receptacles. Learn more about trash and recycling violations in the City of Milwaukee.

Relationships With Neighbors

Relationships With Neighbors

You will want to make sure you introduce yourself to your neighbors, both other college students and long term residents. Let your neighbors know that if they ever have any issues with your or your roommates that they should contact you directly rather than the Milwaukee Police Department.

If you plan to be away from your residence for an extended period of time (winter break, spring break, etc.) you can let your neighbors know and they will be able to keep an eye on your house while your gone.

Building a good relationship with your neighbors is essential to avoiding any issues that have the potential to arise.

Roommate Duties and Responsibilities

Roommate Duties and Responsibilities 

Now that you are actually living in your new home it is time to look over the Roommate Contract you should have completed in Step 14 of the Rental Process. Your Roommate Contract should detail all roommate duties and responsibilities. Referencing this contact will help to avoid any disagreements about responsibilities in your home.

These duties may include doing the dishes, cleaning, taking the garbage out, etc. You will want to make sure all of these duties are completed in a timely manner to avoid conflicts with your landlords or neighbors. It is important to take care of your home to ensure you will get your security deposit back after your lease has ended.

Reviewing Lease Obligations

Reviewing Lease Obligations 

Your lease will include what obligations are your responsibility and what your landlord will take care of. The most common of these are lawn care and snow removal. Check with your lease or landlord to find out who is responsible for these obligations. In the City of Milwaukee you can receive fines for not properly caring for you lawn or removing snow. You will have 24 hours after the last snowfall to have all snow removed from the sidewalks.

Hosting a Safe House Party

Hosting a Safe House Party

If you plan to have a gathering, you will want to communicate with your roommate(s) and make sure they are okay with you inviting people into your shared space. You should also let your neighbors know and ask them to contact you directly if any issues arise.

Tips on Hosting Safer Gatherings

Addressing Issues with Your Landlord

Addressing Issues with Your Landlord

When issues arise at your new home, you should always report them to your landlord. For example, if your toilet stops working you should contact your landlord right away. Bringing these issues to your landlord’s attention before you move out will ensure you do not get charged for any damages or lose a portion of your security deposit.

Landlords must give at least a 12 hour notice before entering your residence, unless it is an emergency.

Leaving Your Unit for an Extended Period of Time

Leaving Your Unit for an Extended Period of Time

Many UWM students tend to leave their rental units for winter,spring or summer breaks. If you plan to be absent from your unit for an extended period of time let your neighbors know so they can keep an eye on your house while you’re gone. It may also be a good idea to let your landlord know you’ll be gone as well. Even if you leave the unit, keep in mind you will still be responsible for your lease obligations.

 

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