The Transition: Tips & Resources

Moving in to your off-campus housing
Moving out of your off-campus housing
Tips for being a good tenant and neighbor
Food and Dining
Entertainment, activities, and organizations
Transportation and parking


 
Moving-in to your new apartment or house can be a very exciting time. This is also a critical time to take various precautions and begin the documentation process. There are many steps you should take during move-in time.

Moving In to Your Off-Campus Housing:

Note for students moving from on campus to off campus housing:
When you live in the residence halls you sign a contract with terms and agreements.  Breaking that contract may result in penalties.  Before deciding to move off-campus, read about the terms and conditions of living on-campus to see if you might face any penalties/fines.            
Residence Hall Contract Terms and Conditions

Fill out a Move-In Checklist available at the bottom of this page. 
 

  • You will want to walk through the entire unit, preferably prior to moving your furniture in, and document any and all damages/problems that you see. It is to your benefit to fill out the Move-In Checklist, make a copy for your records, and provide a copy to your landlord within the first 7 days of the lease term.
  • You should also send a 'Notice to Repair' letter to the landlord, outlining all repairs that need to be done.

 Pictures

  • In addition to filling out the Move-In Checklist, you should also take pictures, so that you have visual documentation of any pre-existing damages (preferably prior to moving in furniture).
  • Make sure you always keep a copy of any type of documentation for your records. Never hand over your only copy to anyone!

 Video-Tape

  • In addition to filling out the Move-In Checklist and taking pictures, you may also want to video-tape the entire unit. Make sure you do this as early during the lease as possible (preferably before furniture is moved in). Document the date (i.e. at the beginning and ending of the video-taping, hold out a newspaper with the date clearly visible). Video-tape the entire unit in one taping (do not stop or pause at any time).

 Renter's Insurance

  • It is highly recommended to have renter's insurance. Landlords typically have property insurance, but this does not cover your personal property. You want to make sure to have insurance to replace your belongings if they are damaged in a fire or stolen from your apartment, for example.
  • It tends to be cheaper to add a policy to the same company as your car insurance, for instance. You may also be added to your parent's home owner's insurance (check with their company's policy for details). If either is not an option, it is still inexpensive to purchase renters insurance.

 Trash Collection

  • While living off-campus, you will obviously need to be aware of your trash pick-up day. Visit Cedar Falls Public Works for information on trash collection in your area. Remember, being a good neighbor also means keeping your property clean and clear of garbage.

 Utilities

  • Generally speaking, it is the tenants' responsibility to set-up the utilities, but you should confirm this with your landlord.
  • It is beneficial to call the utility companies at least 2 weeks in advance.
  • When doing your budget, you not only have to consider your rent each month, but also utility costs on top of that. Generally speaking, the cost of utilities may be the greatest when living alone. If you are sharing an apartment/house, you are able to share the cost of utility bills.
  • When living in an apartment, many landlords will pay the water, but you are usually responsible for all other utilities; gas, electric, telephone, cable, internet, cell phone, etc. When living in a house, landlords will typically ask you to pay for all utilities, including the water.
  • Utility costs greatly vary. If you are living in an apartment complex versus an older home, the quality of insulation can be quite different. Houses tend to be a larger area of space to heat/cool.
  • It is often beneficial to ask tenants that currently live in the apartment complex/house how much they pay for their utility bills on average. Gas, electric and water can vary based on usage. You can call the cable, internet and phone companies to get price quotes for the various packages they offer.

 Change Your Address

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Moving Out of Your Off-Campus Housing:

Moving out of your apartment/house can be a very hectic time. There are a number of steps you need to take during the move-out process:

  • Clean your apartment/house thoroughly! Remember: Your landlord can deduct money from your security deposit for damages and items not properly cleaned.
  • Take pictures and video-tape the unit. When video-taping the unit, make sure to document the date (i.e. Hold a newspaper from that day and video-tape this).

Fill out a Move-Out Checklist available at the bottom of this page. 

  • Document the condition of the property once you have moved out. Send a copy to your landlord and make sure to keep a copy for your own records.

Contact

  • Make sure you have provided prior notice to your landlord for when you will be vacating the premises. Some landlords require 60 days or more notice, but to find out your landlord's policy, check your lease and call to make sure you have notified them appropriately. Remember: Even if you verbally notify the landlord, you must still provide this notice in writing!
  • Provide your landlord with a forwarding address, so that they know where to mail your security deposit (preferably send certified mail), and always keep a copy for your records.
  • Don't forget to return the keys to the landlord by the end of the lease term!

Utilities

  • To stop service of your utilities you will need to call each company and request a shut-off date, as well as provide a forwarding address for the final bill.
  • Gas
  • Electric
  • Cable
  • Internet

Change Your Address

Return of Your Security Deposit

  • Your landlord is required to return your security deposit or an itemized list of deductions, within 30 days of the end of the lease term (assuming they were provided with a forwarding address in writing before the lease term was over).
  • If your security deposit is wrongfully withheld, contact legal representation.

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Tips for Being a Good Tenant & Neighbor

  • Keep the premises as clean and safe as possible
  • Avoid destroying, damaging, or removing items of your rental property or others property
  • Dispose of all garbage and waste in a clean and safe manner
  • Get to know your neighbors
  • Keep noise levels down
  • Park in areas designated for you

Having a Party?       

Make Safe Choices

  • Make non-alcoholic beverages available and visible
  • Always serve food
  • Limit the number of people you invite or allow into a party
  • Never serve alcohol to an already intoxicated person
  • Help people find rides home from a sober driver who has not consumed any alcohol
  • Do not drink too much yourself, so that you can stay in control of your party
  • Know the signs of alcohol poisoning and know what to do to keep friends safe
  • Abide by all local, state, and federal laws in order to avoid legal trouble

Know the Law - it's illegal to:

  • Sell alcohol or cups unless you have a liquor license
  • Permit or cause noise that annoys or disturbs others
  • Consume or possess alcohol in a public place
  • Give or sell alcohol to someone who is intoxicated or under the age of 21
  • Bootlegging: is "when a person sells or dispenses liquor, wine, or beer by gift or otherwise in violation of the law, or .... Aids in the delivery and distribution of [alcoholic beverages].... Or who in any manner procures for, sells, or gives alcoholic liquor, wine, or beer to a person under the legal age...." Code of Iowa 123.59.
  • Noise and Nuisance Ordinance: "It is unlawful for any person to permit, make, continue, or cause any excessive or unusually loud noise or any noise which annoys, disturbs, injures, or endangers the comfort, health, peace, or safety of others within the limits of the city...." Cedar falls Ordinance, Sec. 18-74

Call 911 for emergencies. If you need help breaking up a party that has become out of control, it is wise to call the police and ask for assistance before they come on their own or a neighbor makes a complaint.

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Food & Dining

On Campus:

  • Living off-campus doesn't mean you can't eat on campus. Campus Dining Services offers several meal plan options for students who live off campus. Click here to learn more about campus meal plans.
  • There are multiple places you can eat on campus whether you are on the go or looking to have a sit down meal. You can find just about anything from snacks, breakfast, lunch, or supper, you can even get your groceries on campus. Click here to find places to eat on campus.
  • On Campus Dining Service Hours
  • On Campus Dining Service Menus

Off Campus:

 

  • Restaurants - There are also a wide variety of traditional and ethnic restaurants near campus. When you're searching for somewhere special to eat, you're sure to find a restaurant that will keep you coming back. Check out these websites for information about great food venues in the Cedar Valley!

    Cedar Falls Places to Eat
    Waterloo Places to Eat

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Entertainment, Activities, and Organizations:

There are a lot of great opportunities to for entertainment and to get involved on campus and within the community. Getting involved on campus and around the community can really strengthen your experience at UNI. To find out more about opportunities around on campus and in the Cedar Valley, please refer to the following websites:

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Transportation & Parking:

UNI offers a number of options for transportation and parking if you live off-campus. If you will be on campus a lot during the day, your best option is likely to purchase a parking permit from the UNI Public Safety office located in Gilchrist Hall. There is a limited amount of parking on campus, so you are advised to purchase your permit right away in order to ensure availability.

  • On Campus Parking Permits: To learn more about on campus parking - cost of permits and parking maps - visit the UNI Public Safety website.
  • Biking on Campus: You will find bike racks conveniently located across campus.  Biking is a sustainable and convenient way to travel.  We encourage you to be considerate and safe as you bike, and to register your bicycle with public safety. 
  • Panther Shuttle: If you will be living near campus, you can also view the route map and schedule for the Panther Shuttle. This service is free to students and operates Monday - Friday throughout the academic year. The Panther shuttle provides quick and convenient travel to students on and off campus, as it travels to many nearby off campus apartments.
  • Safe Ride: The Northern Iowa Student Government also offers a weekend Safe Ride free of charge for UNI students. Click on the link above to find the schedule and route map for the Safe Ride.
  • Route 9: UNI also offers a free shuttle service to local businesses in the Cedar Valley through the Met Transit, Route 9 system. To take advantage of this service, simply present your UNI ID card at the time of the ride. Click on the link above to find the schedule and route map for Route 9.

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