The Housing Search
Your Housing Needs
Before you begin your housing search, you should consider your options and preferences. You may need to re-evaluate your choices as you enter the housing market, but it is helpful to start with some guidelines:
Do you want privacy or would you prefer to share space and living expenses?
What is the rental price range you will consider? Have you considered the cost of utilities such as gas and electric in determining your housing budget?
How close do you need to be to campus?
Do you prefer a place that is furnished or unfurnished?
Do you need a place with parking privileges?
What amenities are important to you - air conditioning, laundry facilities, a yard?
What type of accommodation do you prefer?
Room in a private or student house
Special situation (i.e., housing in exchange for a service such as child care)
Once you have decided on the best housing arrangement to suit your needs, the reality of costs sets in. Generally, the closer one moves to campus, the more expensive costs become. Lower cost housing can be found in the surrounding areas, but be sure to factor in the time and cost of commuting with traffic and parking expenses when making a decision to live a little farther from campus. You can expect average rents from homes, duplexes, or condominiums to be higher. Average rents in Minneapolis are also typically higher.
Minneapolis/St. Paul Average Rents:
|Single family home||2 Bedroom||$1,400|
|Single family home||3 Bedroom||$1,327|
|Single family home||4 Bedroom||$1,629|
|Single family home||5+ Bedroom||$3,025|
|Based on the asking rental price. Source: RentVine.com|
There are many places to find listings of available housing. We think the best for our students is our Off-Campus Housing Listings website, a database of properties available for rent. These properties include houses, apartments and duplexes that are vacant or shared. The University of St. Thomas does not inspect properties or endorse particular landlords. Listings are accepted with the expectation and understanding that the landlord or agent is in compliance with all state, federal and local housing laws and any regulations pertaining to rental properties. View the listings online at: http://offcampushousing.stthomas.edu
You may also consider asking friends. If you know students who will be vacating their place, ask them to provide information about their landlord and property. Or take a walk through the neighborhoods to see if there are any for rent signs. You can also try the local newspapers. The Star Tribune and Pioneer Press are the two major daily papers for the St. Paul/Minneapolis area and both have housing listings in their classifieds section. More local papers include The Highland Villager, Grand Gazette, and Merriam Park Post, all of which can be found at the St. Thomas Post Office in Murray-Herrick Campus Center.
Start looking early. Give yourself at least a few weeks to find housing. Make an appointment to view the unit. Many landlords do not appreciate prospective tenants arriving unannounced, and most landlords are required to give current tenants at least 24 hour notice before showing a unit.
Some landlords require prospective tenants to pay an application fee. Many landlords do not. If required, the fee is used to cover the cost of checking the tenant's references. Tenants should ask if application fees are refundable and ask for a receipt of payment.
Be Persistent. A landlord may take your name and say that he or she will get back to you after reviewing all applicants. Check back and remind the landlord that you are still interested.
If you find a place you like, be prepared to leave a deposit. Make sure you get a receipt for any deposits made. The receipt should specify whether the deposit is refundable if you do no rent the space and how the deposit will be used if you rent the space (e.g., as part of the security deposit or first month's rent).