Renters’ Tips and Resources for Off-Campus Living

Renters’ Tips

What’s your budget?

  • What can you afford?
  • Security deposit, first & last month rent
  • How much financial aid will you get?
  • What other bills?
  • Renters Insurance

Is heating and electricity included in the rent? What is the cost of those utilities and additional ones? How much is the security deposit? Do you require a furnished apartment? What will be the cost of furnishing an apartment? How much will Wi-Fi, Internet, or cable TV cost? Do you pay for snow removal?

Renters Insurance is strongly encouraged. Your landlord will only insure the property only; you must purchase Renters Insurance to insure your belongings. In some cases parents’ home-owner insurance may cover a student’s possessions but probably not. Check with your insurance agent and make sure your personal property is covered.

What type of housing /neighborhood is for you?

  • Privately owned “student” housing
  • Apartment complexes
  • Single unit apartments
  • Shared house in family residential area
  • House converted to apartments
  • Room in owner occupied home

Choose a neighborhood that matches your own lifestyle. Who will be your neighbors?  “Student” housing means there will be more 18-22 year old neighbors who are more likely to follow a similar daily schedule.  The neighbors in family residential areas tend to be quieter and expect you to be quiet too.

Consider complex regulations or town codes about parking, noise and occupancy. Apartment complexes often offer more amenities; like on-site laundry, parking lots, and snow plowing.


  • Walking distance
  • On the bus route: Community Connection or Orono Express
  • Your own transportation

Do you have transportation available to travel to; the university campus, work, grocery store, laundromat, and bank?   Does the location have access to public transportation?  What days/ hours do the buses run?


  • 12 month lease or month to month
  • Can you sublet
  • No lease

Carefully review the lease before signing. What is the length of the lease? Does the lease cover the summer?  Are you allowed to sub-lease?  Who is responsible for the damages with a sub-lease?  Are you living there month to month and/or at the discretion of the landlord? Student Legal Services can review your lease, if you have questions or concerns.

Model Lease

The Maine Attorney General website provides a model landlord-tenant lease.


Are you willing to share your space?  How will expenses be shared?  How will conflict be resolved? How will lease agreements be upheld if roommates’ relationships dissolve?  Did everyone sign the lease?


Does the apartment have working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and sufficient exits?  If you have children, is the property safe for children?

Other Considerations

  • Pets /Extra fee
  • Parking/ Plowing
  • Furnished / Unfurnished
  • Garbage removal & recycling
  • On site landlord

Are pets allowed and is there a pet fee required?   Is there enough off street parking places for all the vehicles?  Who is responsible for snow and garbage removal? Is the property owner on site or easily accessible?

Renters Guides: helpful resources for finding your off- campus home  provides a Renters Guide for college students navigating the off-campus rental market. Check it out for helpful information about choosing your off campus housing.

Renters Insurance

Guides and tips to Renters Insurance

How to Compare Renters Insurance: Tips for Finding the Right Renters Insurance Company & the Best Rates –

Protecting Yourself as a Home Renter

QuoteWizard  provides a Rental Guide  with  more tips on Renters Insurance

Other Resources

  • Pine Tree Legal Assistance: Renters’ Rights in Maine
  • iPropertyManagement’s guide to landlord and tenant rights
  • Student Legal Services: Student Legal Services is an arm of the Univ. of Maine Student Government which provides legal assistance to the undergraduate student population of the University of Maine. Student Legal Services can provide consultation with leases and landlord/tenant concerns. Their office is on the first floor of Memorial Union and can be reached at 207.581.1789