Before Signing Your Lease

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There are many things to consider before signing a lease, like how long is the lease, will you need to sublease if you are not there in the summer, do they accept pets and more. Below are some things that you may not have thought about when looking for that perfect place.

Know how many people can occupy the rental.
Depending on the location, only three or four unrelated people can live in the same residence, regardless of the number of bedrooms. Routine overnight visitors count too. Not sure if you can have three or four in a residence? Check out this map (2.24mb pdf) or call the Blacksburg Planning and Building Department at 540-961-1126.

The town DOES enforce the occupancy standard. If you or your student has received a notice of violation and needs to find new housing, please call the Planning and Building Department.

This may seem silly, but know if a bedroom really IS a bedroom.
There have been people in the past who have lived in a root cellar while living off campus. Basically they lived on a dirt floor in a basement. That is NOT a bedroom. Bedrooms must have a window for an emergency exit. Also your residence needs to have working smoke detectors; electrical services in good working order; heat for the winter months; stairways, decks and balconies in good repair; and the address visibly posted on the outside.

What’s the neighborhood like?
Are you looking for an apartment in a complex or a house or townhouse in a neighborhood? Get to know the area before making a choice. Who are your neighbors? Are they mostly undergrads, graduate students, families with children or older adults? Is your lifestyle conducive with those in the area? Where is the nearest Blacksburg Transit stop? Does it have adequate legal parking?

And speaking of parking…
$25 can be better spent in Blacksburg than on a parking ticket and getting a ride to the towing company to find your car is a bit of a bummer, so know where you can and cannot park your car. Do not park 15 feet from a driveway, on the grass and where there are yellow lines. Most apartment complexes in town have parking for most residents only and just a few guest spots. Of course, if you rely on Blacksburg Transit to get around town and campus, then parking shouldn’t be much of a worry.

Blacksburg Transit
When deciding on where to live, check out to see how close it is to the nearest Blacksburg Transit stop. Even if you are not a bus rider now, on days when you really don’t want to walk in the pouring rain from the commuter lot to your class across campus or the snow on the ground can be measured in feet instead of inches and the university is STILL holding classes, Blacksburg Transit may be the best option to get around. Check them out at www.btransit.org. You can even use your cell phone to find out when the next bus is coming with BT4U.

Property Maintenance
Will you need to mow before the lawn hits the 10 inch mark? Shovel sidewalks 24 hours after a snowfall ends? Even though you are a renter and not the property owner, you may be responsible for some property maintenance. Check your lease for your responsibilities before you sign.

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