Housing for Upperclassmen & Students with Family
If you will be living in Grenada with your family, you will need to secure appropriate off-campus housing, as housing is not available on campus to accommodate families.
The Housing Office is a good place to start your search. Depending on the type of property that you’re looking for, rent can run from US $500 to $2,500 per month depending on the size, number of bedrooms, and location.
To help you and your family prepare for the move to Grenada, the Significant Others (SO) Organization is another helpful resource to consult. The SO group is comprised of SGU spouses who formed a community to provide support for each other, students, and children during their stay in Grenada. You can find valuable information on their website http://www.sgusignificantothers.org/ or you can contact them via e-mail at email@example.com.
Searching For Off-Campus Housing
We recommend that students start their search for off-campus housing through the University Portal by visiting the Off-Campus Housing page. There students will find a list of recommended real estate agents to help search for an ideal apartment. Students will also find the required Off Campus Housing Address System to submit their local address once they have signed the lease.
Word of mouth is another method that can be used in securing off-campus house. If someone has a house you are interested in, find out when they are moving and get the contact information for the landlord.
Helpful Hints When Seeking Off-Campus Housing
The following details should be considered when choosing your “home away from home”:
- Lease: You should carefully read your lease and have a local lawyer review it for your protection. Make sure that what the landlord stated about the property and the terms that you have agreed to are documented in the lease.
- Summer: If you want to retain the unit in the Fall, get an agreement in writing about rent payment and sub-lease options over the summer. Many landlords want to rent student-occupied housing to visitors during Carnival time in late July and early August. So if you don’t rent over the summer, you may have to move all your stuff out of the unit between terms.
- Cost: Check with the Housing Office and other students for going rates in the area.
- Convenience: How close is it to campus, transportation, the beach, shopping, other students, and so forth? These are all important factors to consider when deciding where to live.
- Water Supply: Are there reserve tanks? During the dry season, which is January through May, it is necessary to have reserve water tanks. We also recommend that you make sure to check the water pressure when you are doing a walk-through of the property.
- Extra Costs: Are there any additional costs aside from the monthly rent? These may include cleaning service, gardener, and utilities. If you can, ask the current tenants what kind of arrangements they have–what is included in the rent, and the cost of utilities.
- Phone: If the housing lacks wiring for a phone, there may be a delay before you are able to have a landline up and running. You’ll want to make sure that you can have access to a phone for people to contact you until you are connected in your new place. Or bring your own mobile phone from home.
- Security:What about security? Do the premises offer outside lighting, screened windows, and/or burglar bars? You should consider that you need to be able to secure the house while home—and away. Will you be able to get enough breeze and still have the house secure? Be careful not to leave doors unbarred or accessible windows open even when home. Consider all possible entry points for a burglar and get any access points secured before you agree to rent. Burglaries are almost always crimes of convenience—and you do not want to rent a home that is easily accessible to burglars.
- Air Conditioning: Since this is a Caribbean island , having air conditioning in your place is an important factor. There are just as many apartments without air conditioning as there are with it. You will need to decide if this is a necessity for you. Some people may feel that ceiling and standing fans will be sufficient. Even if the apartment has a great breeze, which can be helpful when there is no AC, imagine how it will feel at night when you try to fall asleep. If there is no AC, make sure there are screens in place to protect against bugs. Also, be aware that running the AC uses a great deal of electricity and can increase costs.
- Kitchenware: What kitchen appliances are provided? Most utensils and basic cookware come with the majority of student housing, but it is a consideration when you are renting your own place. Can you live without a microwave? Make sure the apartment includes a refrigerator and stove/oven and has sufficient food storage space. Most apartments on the island do not provide dishwashers or garbage disposals, and the size of refrigerators tend to be smaller. Stoves and ovens are almost always gas, which is actually great for cooking and saves on the electric bill.
- Appliances: These include a ceiling fan, air conditioning, washing machine and television—make sure they are in working order. Is there a dryer on the property? If there is no dryer, is there a breezy, shaded place to hang clothes? (There are no laundry facilities for off-campus students to use on campus). Be aware that dryers use a fair amount of electricity to run.
- Bed: What kind of bed(s) is provided (if any)? Most Grenadian apartments have flat, hard, foam beds with boards underneath. If you know you won’t be able to sleep on these kinds of beds, look for “American beds,” and be prepared to pay extra for them.
- Inventory: Make a list of what is in your new home with the landlord. Both of you should sign and date the list to avoid conflicts when vacating at the end of your rental period. Clarify what happens if an item on the list breaks or is stolen. What will the consequence be? The cost of household items is very high in Grenada, so find out ahead of time what you will be charged if, for example, the toaster breaks. It may be a good idea to return to that list at the end of your lease to document how you left the space.
- Availability of Manager:Make sure you know whom to contact in the event of an emergency, and that maintenance personnel are readily available.
- Hot Water: This is not necessarily a standard feature of rental units in Grenada. Note that the cold water out of the tap is about 85°F, which can be quite a shock first thing in the morning.
- Deposits: Clarify the process by which the deposit will be returned to you in advance. The deposit is not usually applied to the last month’s rent. Landlords often wait until a tenant moves out and an inspection for damage and inventory has been conducted before returning the deposit. You may want to take before and after photos of the rental—should there be a dispute as to the original condition of the property.
- Pets: Many students choose to adopt a pet once they are down in Grenada. Even if you are not initially moving in with a pet, it is wise to know whether or not your landlord will accept pets in the rental. Be sure to ask if an additional deposit would be required, or if there are weight or breed restrictions on the animal.
Before You Sign The Lease: Important Considerations
Check with The Housing Office Before Signing A Lease:
- They will know if there has been a problem with the apartment before—or issues with the landlord or location in terms of crime.
- We strongly advise you to protect yourself with a signed lease, even if the landlord does not require one. Without a lease, the terms of utilities and deposits can change on the landlord’s whim and you have no recourse should a disagreement arise.
- If you’re living off-campus we recommend that you have your lease reviewed by a local lawyer. Because conflicts can be so time consuming and emotionally draining, this precaution is well worth the money. When a contract is signed by a student to rent an apartment off-campus, that agreement is made between the student and the landlord. Therefore, depending on the nature of the problem, the University must refrain from getting involved when conflict arises. The student(s) may need to seek legal assistance from a lawyer.
- *Avoiding Housing Disputes: Please note that if and when disputes between students and landlords arise, SGU is limited in how involved it can be. We have no authority outside of the University, so most disputes have to be settled through a lawyer. If it is legally determined that a student owes the landlord money, the honor code requires a student to pay it. For this reason, please protect yourself when renting off campus.
- Some landlords ask for a deposit, but most ask that you give one month’s rent before you move in. If a landlord asks for a deposit, get a receipt and make sure this transaction is recorded in the lease. It should also be specified in writing when your deposit will be returned to you, and what the conditions are upon it being returned. The deposit is the most hotly disputed element of the housing agreement (after the fact).
- Get a receipt for your rent every month—indicating the time frame for which the rent applies. Often there are disagreements about whether a receipt reflects payment for the month prior to or following the date indicated on the receipt.
- Ask to see utility bills of former tenants before you rent, and to see your own utility bills as soon as possible after you start renting. Often students pay an estimated amount for several months and then are shocked when the actual bill comes following a meter reading and several hundred dollars are due in one lump sum.
- When you first rent the apartment, make sure you do a walk-through with the landlord and that everything in the apartment is itemized on a list with the conditions of the items indicated. Both you and the landlord should keep a signed copy of that list.
- During your walk-through, note if anything is missing or damaged. Many students move-in without doing a walk-through because they run out of time or it is inconvenient and then want to contest charges for items missing or broken after the fact—but they have no proof. Protect yourself and schedule a walk-through before you take possession.
Clarify The Following With Your Landlord—And Get It In Writing
- What are your rights/financial penalties if you want to move out (for example because of noisy neighbors/animals, malfunctioning AC, break-ins, no water)?
- Would you be compensated if the AC/electricity/water stops working? How?
- What is the policy if you have to take a leave of absence for medical reasons or otherwise? Will you be reimbursed?
- How much security deposit is required and how soon will you get it back? Most landlords require first and last month’s rent and/or a security deposit. Clarify whether the security deposit can be used as the last month’s rent. Also, if it is not used for the last month’s rent, most landlords will not return your security deposit until you leave. You should ask when and how it will be returned to you.
- If you only stay part of a month do you have to pay for the whole month? At the end of a term, you may leave during the second or even first week of the month. However, most landlords require payment for the whole month. It is important to clarify this in advance.
- Do you have to pay rent over the summer? Most landlords require you to pay rent through the summer, if you intend to keep the apartment.
Clarify The Following With Your Future Roomate(s)—And Get It In Writing (If Applicable)
- How will rent be divided?
- How will utilities be divided? What if one person wants the AC on all the time or wants to run the dryer frequently and the other wants to save money on electricity?
- What happens if one of you gets sick or needs to take a leave of absence for some other reason? Will that person still have to pay the full rent? How about if another roommate is found? Who gets to decide if the replacement roommate is acceptable?
- What happens if one person finishes their classes earlier than the other person (for example term 1 and term 4 SOM in summer). Are both parties still equally responsible for the rent?
- Can you have guests? How long can they stay for? How many is acceptable?
- Specify any conditions of use for any items bought by one roommate that are shared. Does that roommate expect compensation?
- What are reasonable expectations in terms of noise?—TV watching/visitors/study time/bedtime.
- What are expectations in terms of the cleaning load? Hiring someone to clean the apartment a couple of times a week might be the best way to resolve this issue.
- Keep receipts and written records—even if you are close friends.