Feb. 1, 2007
Website Provides Tips For Students Seeking Off-Campus Housing
As students begin to seek off-campus housing for the summer and fall, the University of Iowa and the city of Iowa City are promoting a new website that has a wealth of information on rental living.
Students can go to http://www.uiowa.edu/~offcamp/ and get the basics on all aspects of rental living: before, during, and after a move off campus.
"This site provides not only information about housing, leases, and roommates, but also information on being a good neighbor and active citizen in our community," said Angela Reams, director of the campus and community relations in UI Office of Student Services. "The purpose was to provide an easy to use, searchable guide available to anyone at anytime with questions about living in Iowa City or the surrounding communities."
The website is an extension of a booklet published by the city of Iowa City, but provides more information to tenants, including links to important websites related to living off campus. It also allows the Tenant Landlord Association and Neighborhood Services of Iowa City to reach a larger population than would be possible by handing out booklets to individuals, Reams said.
Students wanting to move off campus should start their search soon, Reams added. Fall vacancies in Iowa City and Coralville begin advertising now with the most selection available during the months of January through May, according to the Tenant/Landlord Association at the UI. Fall housing is still available in June and July but choices become limited as August approaches.
The website is a good place to start a search, Reams said. It gives tips on budgeting before a move, determining housing needs and where to start an apartment search, where to look for vacancy listing. Also, the site gives advice on finding compatible roommates, and has a sample roommate agreement on how to split rent, deposits, utilities, and other tenant responsibilities. Before signing a lease, students can follow a checklist of items to consider about the condition of the rental property and what should be listed in a lease.
Marcia Klingaman, Iowa City's neighborhood services coordinator, said the site has information about living in the city, including parking areas and regulations, mass transit, libraries, and recreation. Her office also gathered information on how to start electricity and gas service, garbage collection, cable and high speed Internet, and telephone service, as well as regulations about mowing and snow removal.
Klingaman said that the communities of Iowa City, Coralville, University Heights, and others surrounding the UI are generally safe places in which to live, work, and study, but students should know about some basic safety and crime prevention measures listed on the site, such as how to prevent assaults and property theft and whom to contact in case of emergency. Also, tenants are given advice on how to be a good neighbor, how to get involved in the community, and where they might volunteer.
The site also has videos produced by UI Student Video Production that includes a humorous look at some situations renters might face, including some "scary" apartments, obnoxious roommates and a loud party.
The Stepping Up Project in the UI Office of Student Services and Campus and Community Relations coordinated the off-campus living website. Several campus and city groups contributed information, including Iowa City's Planning and Community Development Office, Campus and Community Relations in the UI Office of Student Service, University Housing, the Tenant Landlord Association, the UI Civic Engagement Program, Campus Information Center, and the Center for Media Production.
STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.
CONTACTS: Media: George McCrory 319-384-0012, firstname.lastname@example.org; Program: Angela Reams, 319-335-1349; Marcia Klingaman, 319-356-5237ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: http://www.icgov.org/neighborsvcs.htm http://www.uiowa.edu/~tla/, http://imu.uiowa.edu/cic/off-campus_housing_service/
SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.