Successfully navigating apartment waitlists

Step 1: Contact the apartment administration (this information should be located on each apartment ad or on their website). Most apartment complexes require you to submit a rental application along with an application fee to be put on their waitlist. You will also have to put down a security deposit.

Step 2: At some apartment complexes you must now complete a “future resident profile” with your unit preferences, in order to be matched to your ideal apartment. You may also be required to fill out screening criteria forms at this time.

Step 3: Once you have submitted all the required paperwork and fees, confirm with the apartment administration that everything has been received and that all the paperwork is in order (missing signatures can put a serious dent in your quest to land your own apartment).

Step 4: Names are placed on waitlists in the order the application and fees are paid. The earlier they receive you application and fees, the higher your name will be on the list. Apply early! Okay, you’ve applied to your dream off-campus apartment and they’ve notified you that you have been placed on the waitlist. What does that mean? Are you guaranteed an apartment? Unfortunately, being on a waitlist does not guarantee that you will be given an apartment or the apartment style that you want (although you do have a great shot). Each year, an apartment will accept as many rental applications as they think they can accommodate. This estimate is based on the previous years’ turnover of apartments, and the demand can fluctuate from year-to-year. If availability is over-estimated, those at the bottom of the waitlist may not get an apartment for the following school year. Again, this is why it is important to apply early!

Step 5: Each apartment has a different timeline by which they will notify you if an apartment is available for you. Inquire with the apartment administration when you should expect to hear from them by. If you do not hear from them after this date, make sure to follow up. If you do make it on the waitlist, but then decide you don’t want to live there, simply contact the apartment administration and ask to be removed from the list. Unfortunately, application fees are typically non-refundable. Some apartments have limited windows during which you can withdraw from their waitlist and be refunded the full amount of your security deposit. However, this is usually within the first few days.

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