Although we're students first, we're also members of the community, so it's important that we remember to be good neighbors. That means keeping noise to a reasonable level, keeping your front yard clean and trash cans hidden, and paying your rent on time. Know your rights, expectations, and resources as a student living off-campus, check out some of our tips below, and feel free to reach out with any questions or concerns.
Reading your lease and familiarizing yourself with your responsibilities before you sign is one of the most important things you can do to protect your rights as a tenant. Failure on the part of the tenants to be aware of their obligations as spelled out in the written lease does not release them from those obligations. Review your rights and responsibilities as a Washington, DC resident.
Once you sign, get a copy of the lease and make sure that any changes or additions, as agreed upon by you and your landlord, are included in the lease before you sign. If a change made to the lease is agreed to and added later, this should also be signed by you and your landlord.
Know that the only legal reason your landlord can evict you without notice is if you fail to pay rent. However, there are other special circumstances regarding eviction and lease expiration, and the law varies by state.
- The Office of Neighborhood Life (ONL) is the University office that offers resources, support services, educational and social programming for students living off campus.
- The Georgetown Student Tenant Association (GSTA) is a student-run nonprofit that offers lease review, education on tenant rights, and individual consultations on specific landlords and policy ideas.
- The Student Advocacy Office (SAO) is a GUSA office that helps students navigate the University disciplinary system through free and confidential advising.
- Roomr is a website developed by The Corp and GSTA that allows you to review your landlord or read local landlord reviews by other students.
- Keep a signed copy of your lease and abide by its terms, including timely payment of rent.
- When you move into your house or apartment, don't delay in documenting any and all damages or maintenance issues that already exist and give the list to your landlord. Take photos and keep records of things that need repair and when the repairs get made.
- Talk with your landlord about entry into your residence by the landlord, workers or contractors the landlord has hired, inspectors and prospective tenants.
- Know whose responsibility it is to maintain the property around your home.
- Make sure your landlord has a required Basic Business License (BBL) by looking up your residence on this government database. If they don't have a BBL for your residence, report the address online.