By: Ignacio Meneses, Greenheart Outreach and Marketing Intern
Housing in the United States can be confusing, but it’s all about guidelines. Follow these tips and housing in the U.S. will be as easy as 1, 2, 3:
- Determine your housing options: You have two options: your host organization provides housing, or you need to find your own. But don’t panic! You can refer to your placement agreement for recommended leads or ask your sending agency and host organization for additional housing recommendations. It’s also a good idea to check out community resources such as local newspapers and websites.
- Set length of lease and other rental agreements: A lease is the amount of time you rent an apartment for. Agree on a 4-month lease or less. Set rules with your landlord, and print the lease or agreement.
- Pay security deposit and 1st month’s rent: A security deposit is money that the landlord retains to ensure you follow all housing lease terms. If you follow the rules, your landlord refunds you all or some of the money at the end of your lease. If you break the rules, your landlord keeps the money. For example, if you damage any property, your deposit will not be refunded.
- Pay utilities: Utilities are extra costs like gas, water, and electricity. Ask if they’re included in the price of rent. If they aren’t, ask if you have to pay your landlord or pay the utility companies directly.
- Enjoy amenities: Amenities are complimentary building services such as a washer/dryer, gym, pool, etc. Some amenities cost extra, so check with your landlord.
- Avoid eviction: Eviction means expulsion from your apartment without a security deposit refund. Breaking the landlord’s policies can result in an eviction. Make sure to pay rent on time, don’t damage property, and honor the lease dates.
- Give notice: Give a 1-month notice before moving out. Clean the apartment, remove your belongings, return your keys, and leave everything the landlord owns. Don’t forget to stop utility services that are in your name.
- Ask for security deposit: After a successful landlord inspection, you are entitled to have some or all of your refund. Determine method of payment with your landlord.
If the idea of living in a cool apartment and working a fun job in the U.S. sounds exciting, contact Greenheart Work and Travel and apply!