The apartment renting process can seem very intimidating for anyone, especially a first timer. There are seemingly so many things to know and take into consideration, as well as different qualification requirements for apartments near UGA depending on where you want to live. For the Athens area, there are several off-campus student housing options for University of Georgia students and the general process for obtaining apartments tends to be the same. Luckily, I've condensed what you need to know about qualifying right here.
What is a guarantor?
Good news, most student housing communities offer guarantor programs where someone who loves and trusts you and has good credit can use their credit and income to co-sign your lease. This is the option that most students use to qualify, since it's tough to build credit and rental history before your rent your very first apartment. Your guarantor will apply for the apartment with you, and the apartment community will check their credit and income to verify that they meet the qualifications. Keep in mind, your guarantor will be responsible for any money owed in your future apartment, so make sure you pay your rent on time to avoid a sticky situation!
Necessary Rental Documents
You'll find that most apartments require you to submit a rental application, accompanied with an application fee. These applications allow landlords to evaluate prospective tenants and decide if they qualify to live in their building. These applications tend to require that you provide personal information, such as your employment status, income level, past rental history, and credit score. In addition, they'll likely also ask for a copy of some identification documents, like a driver's license, ID, or social security card. Many of the new student apartments in Athens require that you have a "guarantor" or co-signer. Guarantors must be at least 25 years old, a U.S. resident, and their income must be at least three times the amount of your rent.
When renting an apartment, you'll also have to sign what's called a lease. A lease is a contract that outlines your responsibilities and rights as a tenant. It is advised that you read through your lease thoroughly, as once it's signed, it becomes a binding legal contract that you are responsible for upholding. Some off-campus apartments near UGA offer individual leases, but others may be traditional and require a signature from all roommates.
Establishing and Maintaining a Good Credit Score as a College Student
It's general knowledge that most apartments require tenants to have both an established and good credit score. Credit scores help tenants see your likelihood for repaying debt, which can be helpful knowledge to have when renting out a space to a complete stranger. As a college student and first-time apartment renter, the idea of credit can seem pretty intimidating, and that's understandable. But it doesn't have to be! You can start establishing your credit by opening a new credit card account with your bank. As you make on-time credit payments, you'll be gradually building your credit score. Of course, you want to make sure that you're taking on a reasonable amount of debt that you can actually manage to pay off monthly and be careful not to spend too much on your card. That's why it's a good idea to do a lot of research beforehand, in addition to talking to your parents or guardians, as well as your bank. Another way you can build credit is by getting added as an authorized user or getting a co-signer. When you become an authorized user on someone else's card that has good credit or obtain approval from a co-signer for a new credit card, you'll be contributing positive payments to your personal payment history. When you continue to make on-time payments, you will continue to build your way to a good credit score–making you more eligible for renting.