Last year, every student here at West Chester made a decision as to where they were going to live this year. While some opted to stay in the dorms, many students also decided to move off-campus or continue to live off-campus in an apartment or house. Moving into an apartment or house off-campus comes with many freedoms, but also a lot more responsibility than living in a dorm.Some of the benefits of living off-campus include the fact that there is much more freedom. Without the burdens of quiet hours and roaming security guards, students have the capability of inviting large groups of friends over without having to worry as much about the noise level. Another perk of living off campus is that students are more capable of having a car at school. This can be especially helpful to students that have a job around West Chester. Having an apartment or house also gives students a lot more space, and also private bathrooms and showers.
However, although there are a lot of perks to moving off campus, students face more responsibilities. Having to worry about West Chester Borough trash requirements and mopping the floor after class aren’t what many students want to be thinking about when having to focus on schoolwork. Sharing an apartment or a house comes with a lot of work that many students aren’t prepared for. Cleaning and cooking are two big things that make off-campus living more work for students.
Lauren Hayes, a third-year student, is now living off campus for her second year. Some tips that she recommends to students who made the move to live off-campus this year are to “bring a lot of toilet paper, manage your time well, always lock your door, and respect your roommates. Clean up after yourself, and always ask your roommates if visitors are okay. And don’t get off track, because you can forget that you’re at college,” Hayes said.
There are many other good tips for students who have moved off-campus this year. Among them would be to distribute cleaning responsibilities among roommates evenly and making sure the share of the work is completed. Another would be splitting the cost of cleaning supplies and necessities for the apartment or house. One of the biggest tips regarding off-campus housing invalues the issue of roommate conflicts. Being respectful of your roommates is the key to living in a peaceful environment, and this can be done by doing courteous actions such as being quiet while a fellow roommate is sleeping, asking to borrow a roommate’s belongings instead of taking them, and to clean up after themselves. Off-campus students will tell you that nothing is more frustrating than living with someone who is a mess.
The university has provided a list of tenant rights to students who live off-campus. These rights include: paying the amount of rent specified in a rental agreement, making a checklist with the landlord of the property they are renting, obtaining a receipt for money given to the landlord, living conditions that are clean, dry, warm, and up to the Borough Housing Standards, expected privacy from unjustifiable landlord visits, legal protection from unfair eviction, and to receive a full refund of their security deposit if the landlord deems the property satisfactory. However, there are also tenant responsibilities.
Tenants must keep the apartment/house in sanitary condition, keep supplied equipment and fixtures clean, dispose of all garbage, pay costs for extermination for pests caused by the tenant, properly use electrical, gas, heating, plumbing, and other appliances, refraining from intentionally destroying or defacing property, becoming a nuisance to neighbors, following obligations and restrictions contained in the rental agreement, and when moving out, cleaning everything- this includes the refrigerator, oven, and stove.
It is obvious that while moving off-campus is in a sense a rite of passage, there are many responsibilities that students and their roommates should recognize. As students adjust to off-campus life, they will find that life can be a lot more fun, but a little bit more complicated.
Marcelle Bacon is a third-year student majoring in French. She can be reached at MB650800@wcupa.edu.