Renter Education & Resources

Whether your a first-time or seasoned renter, there are things you need to be aware of when preparing to rent a new place to live.

Working with Landlords

  • Read your lease agreement—the whole thing—and know your responsibilities and rights as a tenant. Many leases require you to shovel snow, mow the lawn, or perform other maintenance. Don't sign a lease if you can't commit to all the terms listed in the contract, and don't be afraid to ask questions such as who provides the lawn mower, snow shovels, etc.
  • Clarify with your landlord how and where you are legally allowed to park. There is no overnight parking on city streets from November 15 through March 15 every year, and you are not allowed to park on front lawns or park strips (the narrow strip of land between the sidewalk and street).  Make sure you have a legal place to park year round that will not disrupt the neighborhood.
  • Make a list of anything that is broken or dirty when you move in. Take a quick picture with your phone, make a list, and send it to your landlord via email or text so both of you have a record.
  • Get any stipulations or changes to your contract in writing and save any communication you have with your landlord (texts or emails).
  • Be respectful of the property and your landlord. This will likely be reciprocated.
  • Notify your landlord in writing of any repairs or maintenance that come up while you are living in the apartment.
  • Pay your rent and utilities on time.
  • Be mindful of neighbors, and the perception you and your roommates are leaving within the Cache Valley community.
  • When you move out, follow procedures outlined in the lease, and again document your cleaning efforts and any damages. You can usually request a walk-through with your landlord so he or she can point out any additional cleaning or repairs that need to happen before you leave.
  • Discuss cleaning and check-out procedures with roommates, and set the expectations early so one roommate isn’t left to clear out all remaining items left behind.

When can you get out of a lease agreement or contract? 

Occasionally students will want to get out of their lease or contract. This usually is because the landlord has done something the renter views as egregious conduct or the state of the rental property is not tolerable, according to the renter, and they want to find somewhere else to live. It is important to know that the list of things that justify breaking the lease is fairly small and includes things like heat in the winter or adequate plumbing. Most things, while certainly hard to live with (like mold in certain places in the home, vermin, or sewage problems) will not, by themselves, justify breaking a lease. Renters should be wary of just moving out of what they view as "intolerable circumstances." It's best to try to work with the landlord to remedy bad situations, leaving breaking the lease as a last resort. This is another reason why the lease agreement should be read THOROUGHLY before moving in. Most lease agreements will contain language that makes it exceptionally difficult for a renter to move out, and instead will put the onus on the renter to notify the landlord, allow a reasonable time to remedy the problem, etc. Compliance with the terms listed in the lease agreement (and documentation) is crucial to whether or not you can break a lease, and in most cases it can be really difficult. 

If you think there is an issue with the condition of the rental unit, follow these steps:

  1. Refer to your lease and follow the directions for how to contact your landlord or manager regarding the issue.
  2. Document all interactions (save the email or text so you have a record of day/time, photos sent, etc.).
  3. Follow up with the landlord/manager as needed, saving documentation and following any procedures and timelines outlined in the lease agreement.
  4. If the situation is not resolved, and you think you need legal advice, consider consulting Student Legal Services offered through the Utah State University Student Association (USUSA), which is listed as a resource at the bottom of this page.

Subletting & Buying Contracts (Lease Takeover)

Most leasing and rental contracts don't allow you to sublet, which means you can't lease to someone else as a sub-tenant. Occasionally, students will think they are legally renting a room when they are, in fact, renting from someone who is illegally subletting the room or apartment. When you rent, it's important that you are either working directly with a landlord, or that you have contact with the landlord so you know your lease is legal. If someone moves and sells their contract, it is important that both the seller and the buyer are communicating with the landlord. Most landlords and apartment managers have procedures for transferring contracts.

If you choose to sublet a room or apartment, or buy someone's lease, make sure you get details in writing such as rent amount, move-out date, cleaning procedures, maintenance expectations, deposit information, paying for utilities, parking details, etc.

Occupancy Limits

It’s important that you understand how many people are legally allowed to live in the same residence.

  • Your landlord is required to provide information regarding the zoning district in which the property is located and the applicable occupancy limitations, i.e., how many individuals can reside there. You can also look up an address on this interactive map.
  • Some residences near campus are zoned as "Campus Residential," which means up to six unrelated people can live in a unit, with up to two people per bedroom.
  • All other residences are zoned as "Neighborhood Residential," which means up to three unrelated people can live in a legal dwelling unit.
  • To be considered family, everyone must be related by blood, marriage, or adoption. Sometimes students consider related individuals, two brothers for example, as one unrelated and then allow two other unrelated individuals, which is over-occupancy. Either everyone is related, or everyone is considered unrelated, with a maximum of a family OR three unrelated individuals. The CR (Campus Residential) zone allows up to six unrelated individuals, up to two per bedroom.
  • Make sure you have enough legal overnight parking spaces for the number of people living with you. This is often overlooked until everyone moves in, so make sure you discuss it in advance. You can't park in front yards or on abutting park strips, and there is no overnight parking on city streets from November 15 through March 15; between midnight and 6:00 a.m.
  • In some areas, homeowners in an owner-occupied, detached, single-family home can apply for a license to rent out an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) in their home. ADUs are only permitted in certain areas within the city, and there are specific criteria that must be followed. Prior to renting an ADU, be sure your landlord has an ADU landlord license, and refer to the fact sheet and other information on the city website.

Signing a Contract

Prior to signing a contract, make sure you read the entire contract and ask questions. It's important you understand things like:

  • Does this include parking?
  • Are pets allowed, and if so is there an extra fee?
  • How much is due at signing, such as a security deposit, first and last month's rent, pet deposit, etc.?
  • When is rent due, and how is it paid? When is it considered late and what is the late fee?
  • What is the procedure for maintenance and repairs? What kinds of things am I responsible to replace and what does the landlord replace? (ex. light bulbs, furnace filters)
  • Will I need to set up my own utilities, gas, internet, etc.?
  • When is garbage and recycling collected, and am I responsible to take the can to the curb?
  • Am I responsible to mow the lawn, shovel the driveway, weed flowerbeds, water the lawn, or do other maintenance?
  • Am I required to have renter's insurance?
  • What is the visitor/guest policy?
  • Is there a set day to move in or vacate? If not, how many days in advance do I need to provide as a notice to move out?
  • What is the preferred method of communication with the landlord or manager?
  • Is there a cancellation policy? What is it?

Utilities, Gas, and Internet

Logan City

North Logan City

Parking

Before you sign a lease, make sure you understand if you are able to park your car year-round, and whether it costs extra to get a parking permit for your apartment.

There is no overnight (between midnight at 6AM) parking on city streets from November 15 through March 15 every year, and you are not allowed to park on front lawns or park strips (the narrow strip of land between the sidewalk and street).  Make sure you have a legal place to park year round that will not disrupt the neighborhood.

There are parking restrictions on the streets surrounding campus. Watch the signs, and check the map at https://www.loganutah.org/government/departments/police/patrol/parking_enforcement.php before you park on a city street near campus.

Many students can park at their apartment and ride their bike, walk, or take the Aggie Shuttle or Cache Valley Transit District buses to campus. If you need a commuter parking permit, you can buy one online at https://www.usu.edu/parking/students. Need a bike? Aggie Blue Bikes provides a library of bicycles availble to check out for free.

Splitting Bills

Splitting bills with roommates is a new experience for many incoming students. Here are a few tips for navigating that without drama:

  • Designate different people to handle different bills. If one roommate is in charge of collecting rent, have another be in charge of the Logan City bill, and another in charge of the cable bill, etc.
  • Using a mobile app like Venmo can make paying bills quick and easy. Have a discussion at the first of the year to determine how and when everyone will pay, and make a commitment among yourselves that everyone will make timely payment a priority.
  • Sometimes a deposit is required to set up service. Discuss in advance whether you will split that deposit, or have one person pay it and get it back in the end. How will you handle the deposit portion if someone sells his or her contract to someone else?

Remember that after you move, a final bill will come for your last month of utilities. Even though you are no longer living together, make sure you pay your final bills (again, an app like Venmo makes this easy).

Moving Out

  • If you have roommates, spend some time cleaning and moving out as much as possible before people start to leave. It's tough to be the last roommate in an apartment if others have left items behind or didn't fully clean.
  • Ask your landlord or apartment manager if they have a cleaning or move-out checklist.
  • Remember to clean things like blinds, the oven, under the fridge and oven, and inside of drawers and cabinets.
  • Too busy (or lazy) to clean? Consider searching online for a cleaning company that does move-outs. It might be cheaper than losing your entire cleaning deposit.
  • Document the state of your apartment in case there are questions later. Take a pic of your freshly cleaned oven and that spotless floor under the fridge.
  • Ask your landlord or manager if they are willing to do a walk-through before you leave. They can point out any missed cleaning and eliminate the suspense of whether you will get your deposit back.
  • Take all your things. You may think it's a perfectly good spatula and someone might want it, but take it with you or donate it to True Blue Reuse.
  • Disconnect utilities and internet if needed. Remember the final bill will come after everyone has moved out, so keep in touch and remember to pay your part.

Renter Resources

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Campus Safety

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Student Legal Services

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Living with Roommates

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Student Money Management Center

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Cache Valley Transit District (Free City Buses)

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Aggie Shuttle

USU's free around-campus transportation

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SNAC Food Pantry

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Aggie Wellness

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Renters Insurance