Advice for daughter entering into college shared rental situation?

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texasdiver
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Advice for daughter entering into college shared rental situation?

Post by texasdiver » Sun Apr 15, 2018 12:55 pm

Oldest daughter will be starting her Jr. year of college next year. First year she lived on campus in the dorms. This year she has been living in a 4-bedroom private dorm apartment with friends. One of those new type operations common around universities where each roommate enters into an individual lease with the management company and pays a single monthly all-inclusive rental fee.

For next year she and two friends want to rent their own house together They have found a brand new 3-br duplex in a new subdivision being built near campus that they want to share. My wife and I live across the country so one of parents of the other girls who lives locally is taking the lead on helping them out with leases and and administrative details of renting. It looks like it is a single company that is building a bunch of new rental duplexes on the edge of town so a single management company will be dealing with all the leasing as if it were a big apartement complex.

Times have changed since the early 80s when I was in college and you just found roommates off bulletin boards around campus. I'm wondering if anyone who has been through this recently has any advice on how these kids should structure their agreement with both the landlord and among themselves?

-should they all be on the lease?
-how to decide in advance what steps to take if one girl moves out early?
-anything else to worry about or deal with in advance?

FYI, this is a college town in the center of the country. Rent for a brand new 3-br 2 ba 1315 sf duplex is $995/mo so each girl would have a roughly $330 share although they intend to come up with 3 different rents because one girl will get the master private bath and one will get the single car garage and one will get neither private bath nor private garage. And they will have to share all utilities. Right now she is paying $650 per month for her all inclusive share of her 4-br apartment suite in the private dorm that includes a bus shuttle to campus. So she will have to pay for on-campus parking and utilities but will probably still come out ahead. Here in the Portland area I expect those costs would be at least double or more.

arf1410
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Re: Advice for daughter entering into college shared rental situation?

Post by arf1410 » Sun Apr 15, 2018 1:23 pm

In a college town, I can just about guarantee the lease will be structured for this situation. All names will be on the lease, or maybe even 3 separate leases. In many college towns, demand exceeds the supply, so the lease is typically a take it or leave it situation don't plan on doing much negotiation over the terms. Also figure on loosing 50-100% of the security deposit, especially with a new place, where you will get charge for every speck of dust. And you may very well see things in the lease like $25 per burnt out light bulb, etc.

ONe lease, from a couple years ago we (aas parents) refused to sign, was for ahouse that should be bulldozed near campus of a popular large state school. 12 months lease, but only paid twice. Landlord required 2 checks for $61,000. Yup, $122K for the year... 10 "bedrooms" squeezed into a 2500 sqf house. She wound up in a 4 bedroom brand new apartment, where the landlord tried to squeeze about an extra $5,000 out of their $8,000 damage deposit. Ended up using the free campus attorney and got that cut in half , after agreeing to sign a non disclosure agreement.

So bottom line is, I feel your pain, and prepare for the worst.

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Watty
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Re: Advice for daughter entering into college shared rental situation?

Post by Watty » Sun Apr 15, 2018 3:22 pm

texasdiver wrote:
Sun Apr 15, 2018 12:55 pm
-anything else to worry about or deal with in advance?
It is likely a 12 month lease and if some of them will not be there for the summer one of them might want to sublease their room. No only can that result in them having a stranger who is male living with them but the person subleasing the room could be undesirable even if female or they could cause damage.

Collecting the summer rent will be hard if they are not there.

If two of them are gone for the summer but one person is living there how will they split the utility bills?

They should have a clear understanding about how often boyfriends can spend the night. I have seen situations where a boyfriend or girlfriend was spending so much time at an apartment that they should really have been paying part of the rent and it at times awkward when people were going to and from the hall bathroom shower only to unexpectedly run into a roommates partner.

Parking in a place like that can be a real issue so if they have three cars make sure that they are actually allowed to park three cars there. If people would park a car in the driveway that blocks the garage they will have to figure out how to jocky cars and if they will leave a spare key in the apartment so the cars can be moved when the owner is not there.

It would be best if they have good locks on their bedroom doors so they can lock up their stuff when they are gone for the weekend or over holidays.
texasdiver wrote:
Sun Apr 15, 2018 12:55 pm
So she will have to pay for on-campus parking and utilities but will probably still come out ahead.
I suspect that will not be the case even if things go relatively well. If possible I would encourage her to stay in the old housing situation.

livesoft
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Re: Advice for daughter entering into college shared rental situation?

Post by livesoft » Sun Apr 15, 2018 3:28 pm

I'm not sure this can all be pinned down.

My daughter lived off-campus in a rental. The owner made them pay ALL the rent for the one-year lease ahead of time. At least that way, each inhabitant had already paid in advance, so if they moved early it was no big deal. The owner's daughter lived there (was a housemate), was going to the same school, and was good friends with the other housemates. The location was superb (walk everywhere and on the bus line to the airport). I even stayed there a couple of times.

So I'd suggest that someone collect ALL the rent ahead of time. :twisted:
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dm200
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Re: Advice for daughter entering into college shared rental situation?

Post by dm200 » Sun Apr 15, 2018 3:39 pm

What I would watch for (if you cosign or obligate yourself) for the lease is "joint and several" liability -- that means you could be on the hook for the entire amount/damage/etc.

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Pajamas
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Re: Advice for daughter entering into college shared rental situation?

Post by Pajamas » Sun Apr 15, 2018 3:41 pm

I would advise them that this is a good way to end their friendship and to stay in the convenient housing near campus.

euroswiss
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Re: Advice for daughter entering into college shared rental situation?

Post by euroswiss » Sun Apr 15, 2018 6:00 pm

I am a landlord in a college town and I agree with others above that the lease will basically be non-negotiable. We have everyone on the lease and require all parents to co-sign the lease. If one student breaks the lease, the others pick up the slack (or find a suitable replacement).
Tell your daughter to take copious pictures before move-in and then submit a "move-in list of defects" to the landlord within a week of moving in. That way, she will be protected against the abuse of deposit money mentioned above. It is, unfortunately, true that a certain number of landlords do try to get away with over-charging for "$25 burnt out lightbulbs". Don't let them! Your iphone camera is your friend!

Isabelle77
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Re: Advice for daughter entering into college shared rental situation?

Post by Isabelle77 » Sun Apr 15, 2018 7:03 pm

livesoft wrote:
Sun Apr 15, 2018 3:28 pm
I'm not sure this can all be pinned down.

My daughter lived off-campus in a rental. The owner made them pay ALL the rent for the one-year lease ahead of time. At least that way, each inhabitant had already paid in advance, so if they moved early it was no big deal. The owner's daughter lived there (was a housemate), was going to the same school, and was good friends with the other housemates. The location was superb (walk everywhere and on the bus line to the airport). I even stayed there a couple of times.

So I'd suggest that someone collect ALL the rent ahead of time. :twisted:
Yes, this is what I had to do when I rented in college in the late 90s. All of us were on the lease and we all had to pay the entire year up front plus a deposit.

GCD
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Re: Advice for daughter entering into college shared rental situation?

Post by GCD » Sun Apr 15, 2018 7:21 pm

Depends on how mature they are. They are girls, so probably less stupidity than with guys, but what do I know?

During a stint in which I dropped out of college, I moved in with some misfits. Not all were on the lease, but I was. I moved out when it became clear I was the only one paying rent. Ooops. Long story, I ended up paying for back rent and the damage they did to the rental. Lesson learned. Make sure everyone is on the lease so they are on the hook along with you.

If I provided 5 paragraphs of details you might take some different lessons learned, but who wants to read all that?

So then in law school I rented a house with 3 other guys for 2nd and 3rd year. Same 3 guys both years. We got along great, paid the rent month by month and all was well. No need for formal agreements, we just "did the right thing". The way we worked out the differing room quality thing was to make up a rent structure that made each room equally desirable. Then we drew lots to see who picked first. If you set it up right, the drawing of lots is anti-climatic because each room has been made equal.

The law school roommates are all friends to this day so it doesn't have to be a friendship killer.

I have learned over the years that you can't write a contract to cover every possible contingency. A lot you have to just move forward on with some faith. If the girls are all responsible (and financially backed by their parents) then problems will get worked out. If not, tiny problems will become nightmares.

How squared away are your daughter's friends? You don't have to reply. That's a question to answer for yourself.
Last edited by GCD on Sun Apr 15, 2018 7:25 pm, edited 2 times in total.

MJW
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Re: Advice for daughter entering into college shared rental situation?

Post by MJW » Sun Apr 15, 2018 7:22 pm

texasdiver wrote:
Sun Apr 15, 2018 12:55 pm
For next year she and two friends want to rent their own house together
Are these the same friends she is living with now? If not, how long as she known her future roommates?

While I normally do not appreciate "don't do it" responses to a question when the decision is already made I would advise against it. Since she has probably already made up her mind and cannot be talked out of it I would heed the advice you've received in this thread about mitigating the risk as much as possible. There's always a chance it will go swimmingly and everything will be fine, but there are also a lot of different ways this can go horribly wrong.

Just to share a personal observation, we have three college aged girls sharing a house across the street from us. They have lots of guys showing up and at times make a lot of ruckus. If there is even one girl in the equation that would prefer to not have the home be a revolving door, it can lead to quite a bit of tension and hard feelings. As mentioned above, there could be privacy issues or even safety concerns depending on who is allowed into the home, friends of friends, etc. Also, if there is a lot of foot traffic/noise/parties happening they could be viewed as "that house" in the neighborhood, which could cause problems for your daughter even if she isn't central to it.

You know your daughter. We don't. I wish both of you the best. :)

Archimedes
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Re: Advice for daughter entering into college shared rental situation?

Post by Archimedes » Sun Apr 15, 2018 8:01 pm

My nephew had a college roommate situation that blew up this year. And his parents had signed as guarantors for their son. The other parents refused to act as guarantors but the landlord still took all of the kids because one parent had co-signed. Of course, that fact did not become apparent until after the lease blew up.

Long story short, his parents became responsible for the entire rent for the entire term of the lease through next August. Them acting as a guarantor ended up costing many thousands of dollars.

I guess I was smart when I refused to be a guarantor for my kids during their college years. My son had to put up two months security deposit to get the landlord to agree to one of his rentals, but this was much lower risk than me signing as a guarantor.

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TxAg
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Re: Advice for daughter entering into college shared rental situation?

Post by TxAg » Sun Apr 15, 2018 8:07 pm

texasdiver wrote:
Sun Apr 15, 2018 12:55 pm
Oldest daughter will be starting her Jr. year of college next year. First year she lived on campus in the dorms. This year she has been living in a 4-bedroom private dorm apartment with friends. One of those new type operations common around universities where each roommate enters into an individual lease with the management company and pays a single monthly all-inclusive rental fee.

For next year she and two friends want to rent their own house together They have found a brand new 3-br duplex in a new subdivision being built near campus that they want to share. My wife and I live across the country so one of parents of the other girls who lives locally is taking the lead on helping them out with leases and and administrative details of renting. It looks like it is a single company that is building a bunch of new rental duplexes on the edge of town so a single management company will be dealing with all the leasing as if it were a big apartement complex.

Times have changed since the early 80s when I was in college and you just found roommates off bulletin boards around campus. I'm wondering if anyone who has been through this recently has any advice on how these kids should structure their agreement with both the landlord and among themselves?

-should they all be on the lease?
-how to decide in advance what steps to take if one girl moves out early?
-anything else to worry about or deal with in advance?

FYI, this is a college town in the center of the country. Rent for a brand new 3-br 2 ba 1315 sf duplex is $995/mo so each girl would have a roughly $330 share although they intend to come up with 3 different rents because one girl will get the master private bath and one will get the single car garage and one will get neither private bath nor private garage. And they will have to share all utilities. Right now she is paying $650 per month for her all inclusive share of her 4-br apartment suite in the private dorm that includes a bus shuttle to campus. So she will have to pay for on-campus parking and utilities but will probably still come out ahead. Here in the Portland area I expect those costs would be at least double or more.
Sounds like Aggieland. My roommates and I did the exact same thing in the early 2000s. We all signed the lease so we were all on the hook. It was on the honor system that nobody would stiff the others by leaving early. I miss that cheap rent!

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Steelersfan
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Re: Advice for daughter entering into college shared rental situation?

Post by Steelersfan » Sun Apr 15, 2018 8:15 pm

There must be hundreds of thousand of students entering into exactly that situation each year all over the country. A high percentage work out just fine. For those that don't - a valuable life lesson learned on their own, the best kind.

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Re: Advice for daughter entering into college shared rental situation?

Post by daveydoo » Sun Apr 15, 2018 9:38 pm

texasdiver wrote:
Sun Apr 15, 2018 12:55 pm
One of those new type operations common around universities where each roommate enters into an individual lease with the management company and pays a single monthly all-inclusive rental fee.
DD did this without too much trouble, at a major midwest state university. Apart from the fact that it looked like a tear-down crack house for which each kid paid six or seven hundred a month (in a totally oversubscribed sellers' market), it worked out reasonably well. DD ended up being the one to bug the handyman to do dumb stuff like, you know, actually make sure the smoke detectors were there, etc. I think we, as parents, co-signed the lease with her, and all six of them had to submit similar documentation. We weren't very happy with the level of upkeep (none) over the two years she's been there. But: off-street parking (she has no car) and close to campus.

I'm not familiar with the pay-every-penny-upfront-for-the-year model -- not sure we would have gone for that but I guess when there's no other option, what do you do?
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texasdiver
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Re: Advice for daughter entering into college shared rental situation?

Post by texasdiver » Sun Apr 15, 2018 10:45 pm

Thanks for all the advice everyone. Lots to think about here. A couple of more details.

1. These are the same girls she is currently living with minus one. I've met them and their parents. All super responsible. Parents are all upper middle class like us and footing the bill so I see no issues with equitable lease issues. If they want parents to also sign we will all do so.

2. These girls all attend the same church with my daughter and are trying to get away from the party central scene that exists in the dorms and the giant private dorm-apartments. So I sympathize with the desire to go it their own and get away from campus housing. In any event, that horse has left the barn. They didn't renew their existing lease for next year.

3. The complex is brand new and not yet completed. Completion move-in date is July 1. Their current lease runs through August 1 so they have a 1-month window to move. So obviously no issues with existing damage but they wil obviously on the hook for anything that happens in the next 2-years.

4. Haven't seen any lease paperwork yet. I'm assuming it will be something completely standard as this is a management company building what looks like about 50 new duplexes in what was a pasture outside of town. But according to one of the other moms it sounds pretty standard. First and last month's rent plus a security deposit of some sort.

5. I will give them a list of issues that they need to deal with before moving in such as long-term guests/boyfriends, what happens if someone wants out early, that sort of thing. And expect them to come up with their own reasonable agreements in writing.

livesoft
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Re: Advice for daughter entering into college shared rental situation?

Post by livesoft » Mon Apr 16, 2018 7:52 am

I know some students who also moved into a newly built apartment complex. They signed leases before construction (punch-list) finished. It turned out the building didn't pass fire marshall inspection and no one was allowed to move in even though classes started. The management put the students in a hotel for a few weeks until the safety issues were fixed.
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getthatmarshmallow
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Re: Advice for daughter entering into college shared rental situation?

Post by getthatmarshmallow » Mon Apr 16, 2018 7:56 am

Renter's insurance. Everything else is just the usual negotiation of adulthood (dividing bills, chores; coming to agreements), and a valuable source of lessons. Good luck to her!

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Re: Advice for daughter entering into college shared rental situation?

Post by rcjchicity » Mon Apr 16, 2018 9:47 am

Watty wrote:
Sun Apr 15, 2018 3:22 pm
They should have a clear understanding about how often boyfriends can spend the night. I have seen situations where a boyfriend or girlfriend was spending so much time at an apartment that they should really have been paying part of the rent and it at times awkward when people were going to and from the hall bathroom shower only to unexpectedly run into a roommates partner.
This brings back memories of my senior year of undergrad, where 4 of us shared a townhouse off campus. One roommate's boyfriend basically lived with us too - I'm not even sure he had his own place. But, we liked him much better than her, so we didn't mind his being around. Would have been much fairer to split rent/utilities 5 ways, though...

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