Southern Illinois University Carbondale

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Off-Campus Housing

If you wish to live off campus and are not required to live on campus by the SIU Student Housing Policy, be sure to read the tips below before you sign a lease. You may also wish to ask students for recommendations of areas to live in or avoid as we cannot recommend any specific off-campus housing. Also, we do not inspect, own or approve any off-campus housing facilities.

Before Signing a Lease

Adapted from information provided by Students’ Legal Assistance, the following tips will help you make an educated decision in off-campus housing.

Find Out if You Need a Guarantor
Many landlords require a guarantor on the lease. A ‘guarantor’ is someone - like your parents - who also signs the lease and becomes legally responsible for all rent and fees if the tenants do not pay. Before you sign a lease, ask the landlord if a guarantor is required. If you sign the lease before determining if a guarantor is required, you may forfeit your deposit.

Look into Late Charges and Early Payments
Some landlords charge late fees for every day the rent is late. They may also require monthly rental payments to begin months before you move in. Determine payment schedules and due dates before you sign a lease. Ask what other charges or fees are outlined in the lease, such as sublet fees, lawn care, guests, pets, etc.

Do Your Homework
Get as much information about the landlord and rental unit from past or current residents as possible. Determine if the landlord makes repairs when requested, values privacy, treats tenants with respect and keeps his/her promises. Ask tenants if they would rent from the landlord again.

  • Ask for a copy of the lease to take with you and review it before you sign it. If the landlord refuses, take your business elsewhere. Always make a copy of the actual signed lease for your records.
  • Make sure you understand the lease fully before you sign it.Don't place a deposit unless you are prepared to lose it.
  • Stop by the Students’ Legal Assistance Office, located on the fourth floor of the Student Services Building or call Students’ Legal Assistance at 618.536.6677, to make an appointment if you would like to have them review your lease before you sign.