Off-Campus Housing Advice
This is one long funky stretch of a neighborhood centered on Hawthorne Boulevard, three or four miles from campus. The distance, however, is easily surmountable by the cyclist or the bus commuter (#75 runs frequently up and down 39th, and #14 runs up and down Hawthorne into downtown Portland). Perhaps the best thing about living in the Hawthorne district is that it feels really far away from school, but in fact isn't. Just far enough to give you the impression that you've left your hassles in the parking lot at Reed, but close enough to get back to them quickly. Hawthorne has been found by many Reedies to be an ideal neighborhood.
Many Reed students choose to live in this area, due to its proximity to many nifty shops, restaurants, coffee houses, and grocery stores. In addition to the amenities, facilities and familiar faces this area has to offer, Hawthorne Boulevard runs east into Mount Tabor, one of Portland's many wooded and scenic parks. Mount Tabor is an excellent place to run, bike, walk your dogs, or just take a nice leisurely stroll. The view of the city from the top of the hill is one of the nicest in Portland. Though there are several apartment complexes in the area, Reed houses abound near Hawthorne as well.
Download this pdf to get some answers to common questions, such as where to look, questions to ask, advice on packing, pets, and budgeting. There's also reference information for emergencies, legal assistance, and laws on alcohol, drugs, and quiet hours. Information on setting up utilities, dealing with your landlord, and getting your housing deposit back can also be found here.
- Reed online housing board
- Apartment Locator Services
Think about contacting an apartment locator service after you arrive or just before. These services handle rentals of all sizes and locations.
Vacancies Unlimited: 503-232-9070
Rental Relocation Apartment Finders: 800-858-6277, 503-590-5550
Contact property management companies in Portland like www.mainlander.com, www.inter-west.com, www.capmng.com, or rent.apmportland.com to see what they have available. Other websites that may help you in your housing search are:
Friend networks and Reed House connections are also very important. Word of mouth is as strong a connection for finding a great place to live as it is in many other endeavors.
Also keep in mind that if you like a place you're going to want to apply immediately. Many places will require a formal or informal application. Make sure to have your information, as well as that of any potential roommates. You may need social security numbers, driver license numbers, telephone numbers, home and school addresses, employer information, references, and so on.
You'll want to try and get as much information as possible from prospective landlords before agreeing to take the place. This will not only help you determine whether this is the place for you, it will also give you a better sense of your landlord's personality. Some questions you may want to ask:
- How long is the lease? (month to month and 1 year are the most common)
- What are the move-in costs? (deposits, cleaning fees, first month's rent)
- Are the deposits refundable?
- How much is rent and when is it due?
- Does rent include any of the utilities or garbage and recycling, and if not, how much do they usually run? (You can usually call the utility companies to find out the average utility costs if the landlord doesn't know.)
- What is their policy on pets? (if you're planning on bringing one or getting one)
- Are you responsible for keeping up the yard? (if you have one)
- Are there fines for late payments?
- Is there a washer and dryer, dishwasher, or microwave?
- How do they feel about you hiring outside contractors or repair people without asking them, for instance, if the plumbing gets clogged on a weekend and you're having difficulty getting in touch with them or you call someone and then they refuse to reimburse you. It is important to be clear on their expectations about repairs, if they have established or contracted service people.
- If you receive financial aid, how will your aid be affected? (See section on financial aid)
- Real cost. This includes monthly rent, water bills, electric and gas, garbage and phone, and any security deposits that may be required by the landlord. Money concerns between potential roommates, even between the best of friends, should be discussed openly before any commitment is made. At some point you're going to need to decide whose name, and in turn whose social security number, will go on utility bills because that will be the person who is stuck with the debt or bad credit if people do not pay them or the company.
- Depending on the number and value of your possessions, you may also want to consider purchasing renter's insurance.
- Another thing to consider is how much you will spend on gas or bus passes depending on where you work and play. How close are you going to be to the places you spend most of your time?
- How far are you from Reed? It may look like a wonderful four mile bike ride in August, but what about on a rainy 35-degree day in February? Note the range of the Night Bus, TriMet schedules, and bicycle routes.
- Keep in mind you're probably still going to want to eat! Grocery money is important.
- Finally, if you're not going to rent a place by yourself, give some serious thought to the people you're going to live with. Are they quiet? Do they like to party? Will their quietness or party tendencies work with your personality?
Moving with a pet can be difficult. Not only can the change of living environment be stressful on your pet, but sometimes even finding a place that will allow pets can be difficult. However, keep in mind that many landlords are open to the possibility of pets if you can provide some assurance that you will be responsible for any damage they may do (usually this assurance comes in the form of a deposit). Also, many smaller pets (birds, lizards, rats, fish) are okay as long as they are kept in their cages. With larger pets (cats, dogs, alligators) landlords will almost always request a deposit (usually non-refundable) to pay for cleaning and any normal wear and tear that may take place. Be certain to update the tags on your pet, so they can be returned to you if they get lost outside in the new neighborhood.
- Give notice at your current place (usually at least 30 days ahead)
- Leave enough time to pack and clean so you can get your deposit back (see Getting your deposit back for more details)
- Call to have your utilities turned off, your new ones turned on, and your final bills forwarded to your new address (usually two weeks in advance)
- Stop by the post office to fill out forwarding forms for your mail
- Moving everything you own can seem a slightly overwhelming task for some. The best way to simplify things would be to give away everything you own and start over, but obviously this doesn't appeal to everyone. So, my suggestion would be to break it down into manageable tasks. Pack one room at a time, but don't forget to leave yourself a few essentials so you don't have to go digging through boxes for the things you need.
- Set aside enough clothes and essentials (soap, toothbrush, pots, silverware) to last until you move into your new place.
- Save yourself the agony of digging through hundreds of boxes for that one particular item you need by labeling as you fill the boxes!
- Most liquor stores and grocery stores would be happy to give you boxes for free, but you have to catch them before they break them down and recycle them. Find out when they receive shipments.
- If you're not traveling very far (i.e. moving across town) you may want to look into renting a U-Haul type truck, especially if there are a few of you moving at one time. You and your roommates can split the cost of renting a U-Haul for the day. They are relatively inexpensive, and are wonderful for moving big things (beds or couches) and lots of little things if you don't have a truck of your own.
If you did decide to give away all your belongings, or you just decide it's time to stop eating off the floor and get a kitchen table and chairs, there are quite a few options for affordable furniture. Portland is home to a plethora of used furniture stores, antique shops, and garage sales. There are also numerous ads in the Oregonian, Craigslist, as well as postings around campus from graduating or moving students. If you'd like some furniture, but aren't viewing it as a long-term relationship, you may even consider renting some of the basics.
- Once you've moved a bed you will appreciate the brilliant design of the futon. Futons are light, pack small, and can easily be moved by one person. Not only that, but they can serve as a couch or chair when you're not snoozing in it. Frames can be expensive, but you may be able to make one yourself, or have someone do it for you.
- If you're thinking about purchasing a futon, consider asking the store if they carry "seconds." These are futons that are usually sold at discount due to a slight factory flaw (usually not noticeable to the naked eye).
- Foam core futons last longer than the plain cotton variety, but tend to be more expensive. In futons without a foam core, the cotton sometimes begins to bunch up into uncomfortable lumps.
- Be sure to turn your futon occasionally, and don't place it directly on the floor as it will be more likely to grow fungus.
- One thing to keep in mind is that each student's situation will vary to some degree, as each student has a different financial aid package and this will affect to what extent their financial aid will help cover off-campus living expenses.
- If the student chooses to live off campus, a standard allowance for off-campus room and board is included when we calculate their financial aid package. The off-campus living allowance is determined by surveying students living off campus to determine the average amount that is spent on off-campus living expenses.
- If the student is currently living on campus, and then decides to move off campus, their financial aid is reduced by the difference between on-campus housing (typically $9,000 per year) and off-campus housing (an estimated $5,730 per year).
- The best idea is to schedule a meeting with someone in the financial aid office, so they can evaluate your specific situation and give you a more exact idea of how your package may change. Financial Aid can be reached at (503) 777-7223.
- Under Oregon state law, landlords are required to either return deposits or provide a written explanation as to how all or part of the deposit is being used within 31 days after a tenant has turned in the keys (ORS 90.300).
- The deposit may be used to cover unpaid rent or fees, or may be used to cover damages caused by the tenant that are beyond the normal wear and tear of things.
- Cleaning before moving out is entirely your responsibility. You should try to leave your home in at least the condition it was when you moved in.