Dorm life is quite a unique experience for most incoming freshmen. The small living quarters and shared bathrooms make that first year interesting. By the time students finish their sophomore year, most cannot wait to make the move into a much larger apartment with more personal space. However, what they do not realize is that soon they will look back on their dorm days and cherish the time when they did not have to pay a monthly bill for utilities such as water, gas and electricity.
Randy Paulissen, Young America’s (YA) property manager, explained that for some of the complexes owned by YA, the utilities are already included. However, if the tenants were to use more than what Young America included for them such as going over on a water bill, the tenants would have to pay the extra amount.
In order to stop this from happening, Paulissen makes sure that his renters know the standards and regulations before signing a lease. It is also policy that YA lets the occupants know what their usage is and if they are going over.
“If they would like to know, they can always just email into us and we can give them a running balance any time of the year to see where they’re at. But, we do let them know four times throughout the year where they stand with their utility balance,” Paulissen said.
Some juniors and seniors nowadays are juggling two jobs on top of school to pay for their rent, insurance and bar tabs. While utilities are not always included in apartment costs, this can be another stressor added on to the list.
Marc Elder, the property manager of Sami Realty, had some helpful tips for the students he rents apartments to. His main advice to his tenants is communication. Communicating with roommates can make all the difference whether or not the utility bill is increasing.
Elder also explained that a tenant should be aware of his or her pipes and whether or not they have any water leaking. It is especially easy to miss when there is a leak in a toilet, so checking all water supplied objects is necessary once in a while.
“It doesn’t take long to get a $600 or $800 water bill because you didn’t address a water leak somewhere in the apartment,” Elder said.
Fees can add up quickly if tenants are not careful. Elder said that he has had tenants call complaining that their air conditioning is broken when it was seventy degrees outside. Sit back, relax and open the windows for some fresh air.
Both Paulissen and Elder went over the obvious ways to cut down on utility cost by turning the lights out when leaving for the day and shutting the air conditioning off when going home for the weekend. However, Elder explained that one should never fully shut off the heat in the winter months to avoid the freezing and exploding of water pipes.
Now, some ways to cut down on utility costs can be quirky such as brushing your teeth in the shower or saran wrapping your windows to keep the cold out. They may sound a bit excessive on paper, but we could all use a few extra bucks, and if you don’t tell, neither will I.