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Renting Procedures

So you are looking for an off-campus apartment...

Below is information that will be useful in finding an apartment and securing a lease.

Things to look for or to ask about

Curtis strongly recommends that you visit any property prior to signing your lease. Curtis assumes no responsibility or liability for losses or damages to personal property or for problems with your landlord. Curtis also recommends that you purchase renter's insurance; please contact the assistant dean for information.

Is practicing permitted in the building? If so, ask the landlord to put it in writing. Is there an acceptable amount of hours you can practice, and specific times when can you begin and end.

  • Are the other tenants tolerant of practicing?
  • If you love pets and can’t live without them, are you permitted to have pets in the apartment?
  • Does the monthly rent include utilities?
  • Does the landlord provide a trash receptacle in the building? If not, you will have to keep your trash in the apartment for a week until it is time to put it on the street.
  • In addition to smoke detectors, you may want to install carbon monoxide detectors.

For Pianists, Composers and Conductors

  • Can the apartment structurally hold a piano?
  • Is it possible to logistically get a piano into the apartment? Remember, piano movers charge by the stair!

Rental Application

Once you have selected the apartment you are interested in, the landlord will ask you to fill out a rental application. This allows the landlord to obtain information that will determine if you meet their requirements. You may be charged an application processing fee, which ranges from $30 to $50, which covers the credit and background checks.


Many students have to obtain a cosigner or a guarantor’s letter from their parents to obtain the apartment. Please note: Curtis does not co-sign leases. In the past international students have encountered difficulties in applying for apartments, due to the requirement of needing a co-signer to the lease. Some landlords will accept a letter from Curtis stating that you are a full-time student; Curtis can provide you with a copy of your financial aid award letter stating the amount of assistance you are receiving.

Basic rental application information includes:

U.S. Students

  • employment, income, and credit history
  • Social Security and driver's license numbers
  • past evictions or bankruptcies
  • references

International Students: In addition, be prepared to submit

  • passport
  • I-20
  • financial aid award letter

Once this process is completed, the landlord will notify you if you are approved. Some reasons why students are denied include insufficient income and poor credit history (make sure you know what your credit report contains).

Read the apartment application carefully, including the fine print. The application fee is usually nonrefundable. Some applications state that you have three business days to cancel and get your money back. Always keep a copy of the application and any other documents you have.

Security Deposits

After you vacate the apartment, your security deposit can be used to cover damage done by you, your roommate, or anyone else. The landlord does not have to establish who is responsible for the damage and will expect you to settle the matter. Your apartment must be clean and free of all trash; if you do not clean your apartment when moving out your landlord may deduct a cleaning fee and trash removal from your deposit.

The landlord has thirty days to return your security deposit. If you do not receive your deposit within this time period, contact your landlord.