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Athens landlords offer tips to living off campus

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As Ohio University students begin to look into off-campus housing for the 2014-2015 school year, there are some city ordinances, landlord rules and renting regulations to be aware of.

Tenants attempting to be sneaky by getting more people into a house than there are bedrooms, such as using large closets for bedrooms, could be in trouble according to a city ordinance that states, “every room occupied for sleeping purposes by one occupant shall contain at least 70 square feet of floor area, and every room occupied for sleeping purposes by more than one person shall contain at least 50 square feet of floor area for each additional occupant thereof.”

Also according to city ordinance: “Sleeping rooms shall not be used as the only means of access to other sleeping rooms or habitable rooms,” meaning tenants cannot use rooms not commissioned as sleeping areas for mattresses.

Parking on the street or in a garage may not be available for certain homes and apartments, so some landlords will make agreements on spots in private lots or for parking passes.

Unlike the “quiet hours” policy in dormitories, the city of Athens noise ordinance puts excessive noise under the scrutiny of the Athens Police Department. The rules are all spelled out online and most are common sense, but they basically limit noise to certain times of the night. Apartment buildings may also have their own restrictions on noise level.

Tenants wishing to paint their apartment or home must first ask their landlord unless explicitly stated in the lease. Some residences allow painting under the condition that tenants restore the space to its original color upon moving out.

Keeping residences in order helps with the moving out process, according to Felix Gagliano of Athens Brick Properties.

“If you have kept up with the routine cleaning as required by the lease, a final cleanup should be easy when it comes to move out,” he said.

Gagliano said cleanliness is one of the hardest thing for college students to achieve in their residence.

“Keeping up with picking up trash out of the yard, if you have one, and sweeping or vacuuming the floors on a regular basis is something that will help your rental agreement go smoothly,” Gagliano said.

About a week before the lease starts, tenants should contact the gas and electric companies to get their service turned on so as not to face a waiting period after they have moved in. As The New Political recently reported, the City of Athens is working on making it possible to pay for your city provided utilities via credit card. Right now tenants have to pay for them in cash or check.

It is important to keep up on all these payments too because if tenants vacate the residence while still owing money, they can lose their deposit.

“Read everything. You don’t want to take the chance and miss something in your lease and not be able to get your deposit back or make your landlord mad at you,” Gagliano said.

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  1. Tbone

    November 6, 2013 at 1:11 PM

    This is clearly told from the landlord’s point of view. As a former renter in Athens, I was victimized by a slumlord who charged us for accumulated, abandoned items stuffing a shed in the backyard (139 Franklin Ave) that were there BEFORE we moved in. Here’s some real advice: take pictures of everything, esp. questionable stuff. Print them out, then have the landlord sign and date.

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