When signing a lease, remember there will be a security deposit. A security deposit is an amount tenants pay their landlords UPFRONT to ensure the cost of repair in relation to any damage specified in the lease. Landlords may take money from your security deposit if damage from you/friends/roommates to your apartment happens. The standard is those damages considered beyond normal wear and tear. If your apartment is properly cleaned and has no damage at the end of your lease, expect the full return of your security deposit when the lease expires. If the apartment is not well kept or if there is unpaid rent, you may not get all of your security deposit back.
Security deposit amount could vary from $50 - $800. Your lease will explain how much your security deposit is. Make sure you have this extra money upfront. For example, you may have to pay $400 for rent your first month and a $300 security deposit. All together you are paying $700 for your first payment.
An application fee is different than a security deposit. An application fee, which is usually $30, is nonrefundable. Some companies ask students to pay a fee to even apply for living at an apartment. This fee, similar to the fee you possibly paid to apply at ISU, will be used for a background check and the cost associated with processing paperwork.
Renters insurance can protect valuable personal property since the landlord's insurance doesn't cover your belongings if something is lost, stolen, or damaged. Examples of when a person would use renters insurance include a fire, water pipe burst, severe weather, and theft.
This insurance can protect you if a visitor has an accident in or around your apartment due to unsafe conditions. Renters insurance isn't common among student renters, but it is absolutely something you should consider. Talk to your parents about adding renters insurance to their home owners insurance policy or look to purchase directly from an insurance company. This cost is approximately $5 - $25 per month. This is not required to sign a lease, but we highly encourage renters insurance for your protection.