What to consider in off-campus housing

Where would you like to live and how many roommates do you want/need?

  • Apartment
  • Condo
  • Townhouse
  • House

There are many factors to consider for housing. 

  • Budget—How much do you have to spend?  Rent, utilities, furniture, dishes, food, personal items, clothing, cell phone, internet, cable, trash,  laundry, + first and last months rent and security deposit.  Figuring out a budget ahead of time can help you determine the best housing situation and will help you avoid stressful situations.    
  • Location—remember the closer you live to campus, the likelihood will be that it will cost more, but living 20 minutes from campus can be a challenge, especially in the snow.  Consider the location, and transportation to and from the university in your decision.  How will you commute from this  location?  Is it close enough to walk, skateboard, bike?  Will you need to take the city bus or have your own vehicle?  If so, do you know the cost of a NAU commuter parking permit?  If you choose on-campus housing you will also have to purchase a parking permit.  For permit costs, information on free city bus passes, biking on campus information and more, visit NAU Parking and Shuttle Services.
  • Location and Weather—remember—it snows here.  Traveling to campus in the snow can be not only difficult, but treacherous.  If you want to know what the weather on campus is like and you’re on the other side of town (they can actually be VERY different)  check out the Reilly Hall webcam.
  • Compare—compare locations, negotiate, look for coupons and don’t over extend yourself.
  • Roommates—We highly recommend that no matter what housing situation and number of roommates you choose, that you have a roommate agreement.  It doesn’t have to be as formal as Sheldon Coopers on Big Bang, but you should have one.  We have several sources of roommate agreements to assist you.  Remember, the best way to handle a roommate problem is to discuss it, honestly and without hostility.   A few helpful tips:
  • Friends don’t always make good roommates
  • Consider not only your habits, but your roommates sleeping, study and cleaning habits.  Are you a “neat-nick” while they are a self professed “messy bessy”?
  • Do you or the other person have a significant other that will stay over?
  • How often will you both be home?
  • Do you or the other person have a large social group that will be over a lot—are you or the other person a part of that larger group?
  • Have you talked to the other person about their budget?  Will they be able to afford  it?
  • Landlord/Tenant—Be a good roommate, tenant, neighbor!  Know the city codes and ordinances on parties, ignorance isn’t an excuse.  Make sure you sign a written lease, seek out expertise when you need assistance and don’t sign anything you don’t understand.  Keep copies of all documents including rent and utility receipts.  When you first move in, video or photograph the condition of the space you are renting.  That way if there is a damage dispute when you move out, you will have documented the damage that was already there before your arrival.