Desis usually prefer to live in
off-campus apartments. There are quite a few apartment
complexes in walking distance from VCU Monroe Park Campus
and some close to the Medical Campus.
Click here for a list.
Usually the rent for a 2 bedroom
apartment is $800-$1100. With four people sharing the
apartment, the rent comes to $200-$300. It may include some
or all utilities.
- Most apartment lease are for 1 year. Some may have a
six month lease option too.
- Generally only two people can sign a lease for a one
bedroom apartment or an efficiency and four people for a
two bedroom apartment.
- Most managements require a two month notice before
you vacate your apartment. This applies even if your
lease is expiring. Let's say you leased an apartment
from Aug 2005 to July 2006, You will need to give a
notice latest by May, that you are going to vacate the
- The monthly rent is decided at the beginning of the
lease period and usually remains same until you renew
your lease. Check with your management before you sign
- Before signing the lease, the apartment managements
like to look for your credit history and lease history
(if you have leased some apartment before). If you are a
new student here and do not have an SSN, you may find it
difficult to sign the lease. Some managements allow you
to have a cosigner (e.g. your uncle who has been living
here for 40 years) who can sign on the lease with you.
- In some cases, you might be paying a higher rent if
you sign a new lease compared to subleasing an existing
tenant or transferring a lease in your name from someone
else. For example, if person A signs one year lease in
June 2006 at $700 per month, his rent would stay same
atleast till June 2007. If the management increases the
rent to $800 in October 2006, Mr. A would not have to
pay higher rent till June 2007.
- Rent: This is one of the most important
considerations while choosing an apartment.
- Room size: This tells you if you can
comfortable share your room or not and thus affects the
per month rent. Go visit the apartment before you sign
on the dotted line. It's better to actually see the room
size than trying to visualize it from the floor plan
- Utilities: Find out what utilities are
included with the rent and what bills you need to pay
extra. Utilities include electricity, water, waste
disposal, gas and cable. Utility bills can add a lot to
your monthly expenses if they are not already included
in your rent.
- Location: Make sure the apartment building is
in a safe location and close to campus in case you have
to walk back at night. Ask seniors for advise. Also make
sure it is close to a VCU shuttle stop in case you have
to go to other campus for classes or lab.
- Air-conditioning and Heating: Most apartment
buildings close to VCU have both AC and heat available.
Some apartments have central heat/cooling while others
have individual units within each apartment. In latter
case, you have to pay for these separately (as part of
electricity bill). Generally there isn't much difference
in rent of an apartment with heat/cooling and one
without it. So better go for one which has all these
- Quick maintenance: A lot of high rise
apartments offer quick round the clock or next day
maintenance for common problems with plumbing,
electricals etc. Ask your apartment management if they
have this available in their building.
- Security: Some apartments have round the
clock or daytime security guard available (just in case
you are a little paranoid). Others have a swipe card
- First thing is finding roommates. This generally
takes more time than finding an apartment.
- You can mail to our group on yahoo (you need to be a
member first) looking for roommates.
- If your roommate is a current student here, he
should have a good idea of what apartments are available
and which of them are good.
- If all your roommates are new students, you will
need to contact the apartment managers and find
information like room size, rent, utilities etc. You can
also checkout the websites below for directory of
apartments in Richmond downtown area.
- Fix an appointment and check the apartment before
you sign the lease.
- Before you and your roommates sign the lease, decide
how you are going to divide the rent. For example, if
two people share a one bedroom apartment, one of them
has the bedroom for himself and other has the living
room (yes! some people do it this way), the one staying
in bedroom might be paying higher rent. So, iron out all
these things in the beginning to save trouble later.