Where to Look for Housing
Metropolitan State University of Denver is a non-residential commuter campus. This means that we do not provide on-campus housing to our students. As a result, finding an apartment or house near campus is probably one of the first things you will want to do after being admitted to MSU Denver.
The Dean of Students' website has a page dedicated to Housing resources for students, including student apartments, hotels, rentals, and emergency housing information. The information on their page is useful and should be reviewed carefully! However, please note that as an international student, you may have slightly different guidelines due to the nature of your immigration status.
If you do not already have housing in Denver, take some time to review the three student apartment complexes near campus:
If these student apartments are full, or if you would like to examine other options, there are some useful websites to help you find the apartment or house that is right for you:
Another way to look for apartments or rooms available for rent is through the community website craigslist.org. This site is useful for finding things like housing, furniture, bicycles, etc., but be wary of potential scams. If you are going to look at a prospective apartment, it is a good idea to bring a friend with you for safety. Additionally, be careful with payment interactions and transferring money to someone you do not know. Newspapers such as the Denver Post and Westword are also good resources to use for housing.
Finding a Roommate
Another popular and modern way to look for housing is through the website RoomSurf. RoomSurf is a way for you to look for other MSU Denver students who need a roommate or are looking for rentals in the Denver area. The website will allow you to create a profile based upon your own preferences, major, and interests so that you can be placed with a roommate who has similar roommate preferences. RoomSurf provides an additional housing resource guide and information for students to access. This service is available ONLY to MSU Denver students.
- You must visit www.roomsurf.com/ to login using facebook credentials. Note: A basic facebook profile is required.
- Then use the following pass key to access the service. This pass key is case sensitive.
- ROOMSURF PASS KEY: MSUDRoommates1
Additional tips when searching for an apartment can be found below.
These are some questions to ask yourself before you begin searching for your apartment. This can help you narrow your search so that you find something that is the right fit for your needs.
- What can I afford for rent? Do I need to pay extra for internet, cable, and other utilities in addition to rent, or will these be included?
- How close is the apartment to campus? Will I need to drive? Is walking or biking an option?
- Where is the closest public transportation stop? How long will it take me to get from my apartment to school?
- Is the apartment already furnished? Do I need to buy my own furniture?
- Will I have a roommate?
- Will I have to share a bathroom with someone?
- Is there a washer and dryer (for clothing) in the unit? If it is not in the apartment unit, is there a laundry facility in the apartment building? If not, is there a laundromat close by?
- Where is the closest grocery store?
Most apartments will have an application fee before you sign the lease. The fee will allow the landlord to run a background check on you to see if you have a criminal history in the U.S., or to check your credit, before agreeing to rent their unit to you.
Leases are legal contracts which will obligate you to pay your rent for a specified amount of time to the property owner or property management company. Leases are often rather long documents. You should read the lease before you sign it! Read it carefully and keep a copy for yourself as a reference in the future. The lease will outline important parts of your agreement, such as when rent is due each month, rules regarding pets or parking, cleanliness of the apartment, etc. You should ask the landlord or property manager any questions you have before you sign the lease. Make sure you understand what your agreement will obligate you to do!
Breaking a lease can be difficult if you decide you no longer wish to live at your apartment before the lease is over. Make sure you understand what will be required if you do need to break your lease.
Know your rights as a tenant! Review some of the resources below to familiarize yourself with what is allowed (and not allowed) in Colorado in terms of what a landlord can do, and what you can do as a tenant:
When you first sign your lease, you will often be asked to pay a security deposit for your rental unit. This typically is about the cost of one month's rent, but may be more if you do not have a guarantor or cosigner for your lease. If there is damage to your apartment after you move out, the security deposit allows the property manager or property management company to pay for those repairs. Ideally, if you leave your apartment clean and in good condition after you move out, you should expect to get most (or all) of the security deposit back.
Complete a check-in sheet before you officially move in. This is a written document that helps you describe the condition of each room in the apartment before you officially move in. If there is damage (such as chipped paint, scratched floors, stains, etc.), you should write this down on the check-in sheet. Document anything that will need repairs, such as faucets, showers, or furniture if provided. If possible, you should take photographs of any of the damaged areas as proof that the damage existed before you moved in. Keep a copy of the check-in sheet and give a copy to your landlord. When you move out, you can use this as a reference if you have a dispute regarding certain damages in your unit.
Colorado law requires your landlord to return your security deposit within 30 days of you leaving the property. Leave an accurate forwarding address when you move out so that they can send you the check. If you do not receive the entire security deposit back, the landlord should explain why (such as any unpaid bills you left behind, damages to the unit, cleaning costs, etc.).
Even if your property manager, landlord, or property management company does not require that you purchase renter's insurance, it is still a good idea. Floods, fires, theft, and vandalism happen sometimes, so insurance is a good way to cover the cost of your belongings for a relatively low price. Insurance policies will typically provide coverage for clothing, electronics, and other types of personal property. If you own anything valuable, such as laptops, a TV, jewelry, etc., it is a good investment to get renter's insurance.
Read more about Renter's Insurance through the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies' website.
Before signing a lease, you should review what is included in the cost of your rent. Charges for your utilities are often separate from your general rent cost. Some rental companies will cover the cost of certain utilities, such as water, garbage/sewage, and internet, but many landlords or property management companies will require you to pay for these utilities on your own. Below are some typical utilities that may cost "extra" in addition to your general rent, as well as some of the popular service providers in the Denver area:
- Electric and Gas
- Internet and/or Cable Television
- Garbage and/or Sewage
- Provided by the City of Denver
- Local Telephone Service
If the utility is not already included in your rent costs, you may need to contact a service provider directly to activate things like power, water, internet, etc. Some service providers have deals that allow you to purchase multiple services for a discounted price.
If you have roommates, you should discuss these utility costs and establish how they will be paid every month. The person who schedules the service, or the people whose names are on the leases, will ultimately be held responsible for these types of costs.