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University of Colorado Denver

The Office of Student Housing

Resource Center

For students living off-campus

First Time Renters

  1. Understand Your Finances
    Understanding your financial situation completely is a very important first step to finding your first apartment. Do you know how healthy your credit score is? Do you have a budget? Having a household budget is important for controlling spending, and it is absolutely critical for anyone contemplating a major purchase like a house, car or new apartment.
  2. Know the Difference Between "Need" and "Want"
    Hand in hand with knowing your budget and thus how much you can afford to spend on your new apartment, you have to define your priorities. While you might WANT a private deck and a building with a pool, you may NEED off-street parking and a safe play area for your kids.
  3. Look Everywhere
    You may think, as many people do, that all you have to do is search a few apartment listing services and you'll find the apartment that's right for you. Not so fast, though. There are other techniques you should also be using, including number 1: make sure everyone knows you're looking for an apartment.
  4. Lying About Pets
    If you have a finned, furred or feathered friend, it may be tempting to hide that fact from potential landlords, but it can land you in a world of trouble. Keeping an illegal pet is a violation of your lease and can leave you homeless faster that you might think. If you do have a pet, be honest about it. There are more and more landlords who will accept well-behaved and well-cared-for pets, so you needn't despair or lie.
  5. Read the Lease
    Your lease is a legal document which defines every aspect of your relationship with your landlord. It is in your best interests to make sure you read and understand the entire lease and any other regulations which your landlord gives you. If there are terms you don't understand, ask. If there are things you don't agree with, ask to have them changed. If you and the landlord have agreed on changes, make sure they're in writing.
  6. Turn on the Utilities
    Most utilities in your apartment will probably be your responsibility. That means you are going to have to have them turned on and changed to your name before you move in. Your landlord can usually give you a list of utilities and contact information for the companies. Call as early as possible (a month isn't too soon) before you plan to move in to make sure the utilities will be on. If you haven't had utilities in your name before, you might also have to pay a refundable deposit.
  7. Inspect the Apartment Before You Move In
    Whenever you move into a new apartment, you should inspect it. Ideally this should be done before you move any of your belongings in. This will allow you to document any pre-existing damage or problems with the apartment so you aren't blamed for them when you move out. It will also allow you to have any serious issues taken care of early.
  8. Have the Necessities
    If this is the first time you will be living on your own, there are a number of things you will have to purchase before or immediately after you move to make things like cooking, cleaning, and even taking a shower possible.
  9. Get Renters Insurance
    Nearly all, if not all, renters should have renters insurance. It is an inexpensive (often a few dollars a month) way to protect yourself, your family and your belongings in case the unthinkable happens. Dispel some common myths about renters insurance, then make a phone call or hop on the website of your chosen insurance company to get yourself a policy. Typically your car insurance company will offer several types of renter insurance plans.
  10. 10) Clean the Apartment When You Move Out
    Chances are you paid a security deposit when you moved into your new apartment. This deposit is to protect the landlord in case he has to make major repairs or do excessive cleaning when you leave. Usually all or a portion (after deductions) of the security deposit will be returned to you, provided you clean your apartment before you leave.

Source: About, Inc.

Before You Sign the Lease

Before you sign the lease or give a landlord any money for fees or deposits do a thorough inspection of the premises you plan to lease, and find out about your credit rating. NEVER sign a lease or even put a deposit down on an apartment or house until you have seen the exact place you will be renting. Some apartment complexes will show you a model apartment. Often, the apartment you actually get will not be as nice as the model. When you inspect the place you may rent, look it over carefully.

Questions to Ask the Landlord Before Signing the Lease

  • How much is the rent? When/Where must it be paid? If it's late, will you get charged a fee? If so, how much?
  • What is included in the rent?  What must you pay?

Shared Responsibilities between You and Your Landlord

Find out and include in the lease prior to move in, if the landlord will clean the carpeting or paint the apartment. If you are planning to paint the apartment, obtain written permission in advance from the landlord, this way you can avoid being charged to repaint or losing some of your security deposit. If the landlord verbally agrees to fix something, make sure it is included in writing in the lease, or he/she will not be required to fix it.

Rental Application

Sometimes you will be asked to fill out a Rental Application before being presented with a lease. This is more common with apartment complexes. Be sure to ask:

  • Do you have to submit an application for a lease?
  • Is there a fee? What happens to that money?
  • If you submit an application do you have to then sign a lease?
  • If your application is accepted what do you have to do?
  • Can you see a copy of the lease at this time?
  • Will your credit report be checked by the landlord or property manager

The Lease

A lease (oral or written) is a contract. In this case, it is an agreement between a landlord offering the use of his/her property to a tenant in exchange for rental payment. The lease also regulates the relationship between the landlord and tenant by establishing the rights and responsibilities of both parties. In order for the lease to be valid, it must include: the complete names and signatures of the landlord and tenant(s), the date of the signing, the exact location of the property, the term of the lease (including beginning and ending dates), and a description of the consideration (a detailed account of what is included in the rent, such as utilities and furniture). The parties on the lease (the landlord and tenants) should each get a signed copy of the lease and any additional pages, such as appended schedules.

The Deposit

Depending on your lease agreement, there will typically be a deposit requirement between $0 and 1 month’s rent. Colorado law requires the landlord return the security deposit or an itemized statement of the deductions and balance, if any, to the tenant within 30 days after termination of the lease or the surrender and acceptance of the premises, whichever occurs last. This time period may be extended up to sixty days if specified in the lease. The landlord must either deliver or mail the full deposit or a statement of deductions and the balance of the deposit to the last known address of the tenant. If the landlord fails to provide a written statement of deductions and the balance of the deposit in full within the specified time, the landlord forfeits his/her right to withhold any portion of the security deposit.

Landord/Tenant Disputes

Jefferson County Action Center 

Jeffco Action Center's Tenant / Landlord Counseling is a non-profit program where experienced and qualified individuals offer call-in service concerning tenant or landlord rights and obligations under Colorado law. The office has operated for several years as an important part of Jeffco Action Center and has helped countless clients get assistance on tenant landlord problems. There is no charge or fee.

Additional Jeffco Action Center Resources

Move In Check List

Before you move in and sign your lease agreement, check the following items. Remember, once you sign your lease agreement, the lease is legally binding.

  • Do all the appliances work? (Fridge, Microwave, Oven, Stove, Dishwasher, Lights, Heater, etc)
  • Are the locks on the entrance door of the building and on the door to the apartment in reasonable condition? Check the doors for signs of break-ins. As it is impossible to determine who has a key to your apartment, the lock on the apartment door should be changed when you move in (this is usually at the tenant's expense).
  • Check the taps for hot water and the water pressure. Are the drains clogged?
  • Are any of the sinks and or the bath-tub cracked or leaking? Check for water damage.
  • Do the pipes freeze in the winter? Rust in the sinks, mould on pipes, and leaking faucets are all evidence of poor plumbing.
  • If the apartment or room is furnished, is the furniture in reasonable condition? Does it belong to the landlord or to the previous tenant?
  • Are there three-pronged electrical outlets in every room? Are there enough electrical outlets for all of your lamps and appliances? How would you shut off the electricity and the water in case of an emergency?
  • Is heat included in the rent, or does the tenant pay for it? Is the apartment heated with gas or with electricity? Does the apartment have its own thermostat? Are there radiators or heating ducts in each room? If you are responsible for the costs of heating the apartment, make sure that you do not simply accept an approximation of what these costs are likely to be from the landlord.
  • Is the apartment well insulated? Check to see if the windows fit properly. The number of outside faces (roof, outer walls) the apartment has will also affect heating costs.
  • Is there proper ventilation? Do all the windows in the unit open? Are there locks on windows that are at street level?
  • Are there fire exits in the back and front of the building? How would one get out of the building in case of fire? Make sure that fire exits are not blocked or used as storage space. Is there a smoke detector in the apartment or hallway?
  • Are janitorial services offered? Find out from someone in the building how responsive the landlord is to problems with the dwelling.
  • Is there enough storage space? If there is a locker in the basement, find out who has access to that area, and what kind of lock is on the door?
  • Determine an evacuation route in case of emergency; know alternative routes to exit the building. Familiarize yourself with where fire alarms and fire extinguishers are located within the building.

Parking on Campus

Anschutz Campus Information
There are numerous parking and transportation options available to students on the Anschutz Medical Campus.  Monthly parking rates range from $36-$75.  There is also a shuttle service on campus that provides rides across campus to faculty, staff, and students.  This service is available from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Administration Building 500

Downtown Campus Information
There are numerous lots around the campus for parking, ranging from metered parking to the parking garage. Parking rates range between $2.00 per day to $6.00 per day.
Office hours during semesters are 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Phone calls are taken from 6:00 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Fridays. For more information, please contact Parking Services at 303.556.2000.
Parking and Transportation Center (PTC)


Anschutz Campus Information
A number of Regional Transportation District (RTD, 303-299-6000) buses serve the campuse from approximately 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily. Schedules are available at the hospital information desk and at the Parking and Transportation office.  The RTD College Pass will be available to all active (enrolled) AMC degree seeking students (including the Dental ISP Program) beginning Fall semester 2009.  The pass is supported by a mandatory, student use fee of $42.90 per semester that the degree seeking student is enrolled at AMC. 

Downtown Campus Information
The campus is conveniently located in the heart of downtown Denver, walking distance from any bus or lightrail line. Two lightrail stations are located on campus, the Colfax at Auraria and the Auraria West, will all lead you to the heart of the campus. For more information about RTD routes, times and stations, visit their website at or via phone at 1.800.366.7433 or 303.299.6000. Studetns at the downtown campus pay for an RTD pass through their student fees.  This pass provides access to all buses and trains for the entire semester.  Stickers are available at the ID Office in the Tivoli at the beginning of each semester.

Child Care

Anschutz Campus - Child Care
The Anschutz Medical Campus of UC Denver does not have child care facilities. The Downtown Denver Campus of UCD does offer child care, however it is a part of the Auraria Higher Education system (combined administration of the Downtown Denver Campus of UCD, Metropolitan State College of Denver, and Community College of Denver). Their child care information is located at AMC Students are not given a discounted price as AMC students do not pay AHEC student fees associated with the child care facility.

Helpful information regarding choosing and finding childcare can be found at the following websites: and

Downtown Campus -Auraria Child Care Center
The Auraria Child Care Center provides full and part time programs for children 12 months to 5 years old. It also provides a fully accredited kindergarten program and a summer camp program for children through age 12. The Center serves the students, faculty and staff of the University of Colorado Denver.

The educational community consistently recognizes the Auraria Child Care Center as a high quality, early childhood care and education program. All of the Center's programs are fully licensed by the Colorado Department of Human Services. Additionally, the Center is accredited by NAEYC, the National Academy of Early Childhood Programs, a division of the National Association for the Education of Young Children.
9th Street Park
PO BOX 173361
Campus Box N
Denver, Colorado 80217

Colorado Child Care Assistance Program Center

The Colorado Child Care Assistance Program provides financial assistance to low-income families that are working, searching for employment or in training, and families that are enrolled in the Colorado Works Program and need child care services to support their efforts toward self-sufficiency. The child care assistance program is administered through county departments of social services
Division of Administrative Hearings
Chancery Building
1120 Lincoln Street, Suite 1400
Denver, Colorado 80203


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