Common College Housing FAQ For Parents

So your son or daughter is finally making the big move to a new city for school! Congrats!

With the move comes tons of questions, and if you've gotten this far, we're sure you have a few questions on the college housing market and how it all works.

Don't sweat it! Whatever questions you have on the student housing world, we’ve got you covered. Check out LoftSmart’s list of the most frequently asked questions we've gotten from parents from our years in the student housing world.

What is a lease?

A lease is the contract signed by you, your son/daughter and the complex detailing the cost of rent, how long you'll be renting, as well as additional contract terms.

What is a guarantor?

A guarantor is a third party (traditionally you as the parent or guardian) who provides security on a signed lease. Basically, you are there to insure that someone is financially able to afford the lease value.

How do security deposits work?

It’s very common that when you sign your lease, a security deposit will be included. Most deposits are around a half of the first month’s rent, but often times less. The deposit is used to cover potential damages (like paint chips, malfunctioned appliances, etc) that will be assessed once your son/daughter moves out. For the most part, residents do not typically see their deposit back due to wear on the unit, but there are a number of measures you can take to improve the chances that you do. Take detailed notes and photos of any imperfections with the unit when you move in and be sure to share these with management.

Do most apartments charge for utilities?

Utilities are handled differently across apartment complexes, but for the most part, there are two structures that will be established in your lease. The first structure is typically with a ‘utility cap.’ This means that the utility costs (e.g. refrigerator, electricity, heating, etc) are included in your rent with the ‘cap’ being a limit to the amount of utilities your student can use. The majority of residents don’t typically have any issues staying within the cap, barring extreme electricity usage.The other option is through a more traditional utility payment structure. In this format, you’ll pay based on usage that month. In these situations, you can typically ask the property manager for the typical utility charges of other residents.

What are fully furnished apartments?

Many students come to college not fully ready to make the move to a new place furniture-wise. A fully furnished apartment would likely be the best option in this situation. These options are available at select complexes for an extra fee and generally include beds, dressers, a desk, etc.

What if my son/daughter doesn’t have a roommate?

All student housing complexes allow for your son/daughter to request their own roommates. But if they don’t have one lined up, don’t sweat it! Many apartment complexes have amazing roommate matching systems and will set them up with a roommate before move-in. This process typically consists of a brief survey to match them and a potential roommate based on their major, hobbies, habits and more.

How do I know my information is secure on LoftSmart?

Rest assured that we take our users' information protection very seriously. All information entered for your student's application is only shared with you and the Property Manager of the property via HelloSign. LoftSmart does not store any of your personal information, but rather uses a secure and encrypted communication layer to communicate with HelloSign. In other words, our security protection is comparable to the likes of the largest Fortune 500 companies around, so you're in good hands.

Worried about payment via Stripe or Plaid? Fear not. Stripe has a robust security layer that keeps all of your information safe. But if you're interested in more information, you can always learn more here

How long does the process typically take after I submit an application?

Upon your application submission, the property manager will generally take 12-24 hours to review and accept or decline your application, all based on the time your app was submitted. Once your app is accepted, the property manager will send over necessary docs for you to complete which can take anywhere from 10 minutes to as long as you may need to finalize the contract and payments.

Do you have a team on-site in the markets where you have properties?

We do! We employ Operations Directors in each market to assist with all incoming inquiries on any given university. In addition, we work with the most knowledgable students in each market, all of which have real estate backgrounds and aspirations, to best provide our users with up-to-date data and accurate student feedback on all of our listings.

What if my son or daughter wants to take a tour?

That's not a problem at all! Many students are interested in viewing properties in person before signing. We typically recommend messaging a property manager through their listing in order to set up a tour, then if you like what you see, hop back on to wrap up all your documents with ease! This allows you to fully discuss your thoughts with your student after their visit, without the pressure of having to sign then and there with the property manager.

Still have more questions? Give us a shout out through our chat or view our Student Housing Guide here!

Or if you feel like you're now an expert and ready to find your son or daughter's perfect place, just click the button below to start your search!