Start your tenancy the right way.
- Make sure you complete a walk-through form. Share this completed, signed form with your landlord, and have him or her sign it. This shows that you both acknowledge the pre-existing damage in the house, setting a standard for the condition of the home so that you get your security deposit back when you move out.
- Take photos and keep records of things that need repair and when the repairs get made.
- Contact D.C. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) at (202) 442-4400 to schedule a complete inspection of the house if you have any concerns about the property.
- DCRA can identify a wide array of safety issues in a home and you do not need your landlord’s permission to schedule an inspection.
- View the District’s Fire Safety Checklist
- Go to the National Fire Protection Association’s site to look through tips on evacuation plans, causes of fire, and safe equipment, and holiday tips on prevention of fire.
- Be sure to set up your utilities. Ask your landlord which companies services your property, and get them set up in a roommate’s name.
- Register to vote!
- Check that your mail is being forwarded to your new address (you can set this up online through the USPS website).
The Office of Neighborhood Life recommends all students purchase some form of renters insurance for their off-campus property. Renters insurance can protect your personal property in the event of theft or damage. Before you decide on a policy, however, you can check with your parent or guardian to find out whether you are covered under their insurance policy for an off-campus property.
Free Legal Information
Although ONL cannot give legal advice, our staff is available to meet with students to discuss problems they are having with their property or landlord. ONL can suggest helpful information regarding landlord-tenant issues and provide contact information to students in need of additional resources. Please reach out to us by email, phone, or stop by the office to discuss your concerns.