Student Life Coordinator: Victoria Dolce
Gainesville is full of student-centered apartment complexes and we are sure you will find somewhere comfortable to live. However, the apartment rental process in the US may be very different from the rental process in your country. It’s important to understand the rental process here so that you can find the best place possible. We all want you to be happy and comfortable in your home here.
The most important thing to know about finding an apartment in the US is that once you sign a contract with an apartment complex, you cannot change anything. Your contract, or “lease,” is a legally binding document. Therefore, you must be sure that your lease does not include any rules that you cannot follow.
Many places in the USA want you to sign a lease for one year. This is very normal for the US. However, unless you know that you will definitely be here for a year, do not sign a one-year lease! Once you sign a one-year lease, you are agreeing to pay rent for the entire year. Even if you leave early, you will be responsible for paying for the entire year. It is impossible for anyone at the ELI to get you out of a lease early.
Because we know that students often have this problem, the ELI only recommends apartment complexes that we know will accept short-term leases. Here is a list of recommended apartments. All of these apartments have told us that they will be happy for ELI students to live there for one or two semesters, but you must ask them for a short-term lease. The details of each apartment complex, including the price of rent, are on the list (PDF).
Please keep in mind that when you sign a lease, you will probably have to pay some application fees, a security deposit, and first and last month’s rent. You should expect to pay between $1000 and $1500 when you move in to your apartment. Most apartments require that you pay with a check or money order when you first sign your lease, but you can usually pay your monthly rent online after that.
Most student apartment complexes have “individual leases.” This means that students pay for their own bedrooms (and sometimes bathrooms) individually and share a living room and kitchen with 1-3 roommates. Furniture is included in most of the apartments we recommend, as well as utilities. Students with families will need “joint lease” apartments, which means that they pay for the entire apartment, not just one bedroom.
Students can usually move into their apartments one or two days after signing the lease. Therefore, we recommend that all new students stay in a hotel for a few days after arriving.
If you would like help finding an apartment, you can contact the Student Life Coordinator, Victoria Dolce with questions. We also hold housing help seminars during check-in week each semester. During these seminars, we will explain more about finding apartments in Gainesville, and we will drive you to see some apartment complexes. We can help you sign a lease if you decide to do that. During check-in week, we also have a shopping trip for students to buy necessary supplies for their apartments.