Off Campus Housing Guide
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Off-Campus Student Services Housing office offers advice to students, educates on leases, what to look for
Derek Legette STAFF WRITER
The off-campus housing office is expanding its horizons by offering a number of new, innovative ideas to all students on campus. “Off-Campus Student Services educates students on off-campus living,” said Jami Campbell, the coordinator of Off-Campus Student Services. The OCSS has several services that can be convenient to students seeking to live off campus. “We can discuss renters’ rights and responsibilities as well as landlord rights and responsibilities.” If there are any problems between students and landlords, mediation is provided between them, as long as any legal issues are not involved. Campbell also said that they have several other services in development which include a Landlord Information Sharing program in which students can research potential landlords to see if there have been complaints from other students and a newsletter specific to off-campus students. Justin Pruett, a fourth-year finance student, lives at University Oaks and enjoys it. “Parking may have its issues but it’s not too bad, especially since they hand out popsicles over the summer,” said Pruett. “They have some activities, giveaways and catered meals,” he said. “They don’t just take your money.” The new Web site, http://offcampushousing.sc.edu, became active on Feb. 1 and even though it is very similar to the former site that has been used for the last five years, there will be changes. The older Web site was managed by an outside company in Virginia. The OCSS felt that managing it internally would allow them to provide better customer service to both the students and those listing their properties. Also, Campbell said it is more user friendly. “Students no longer have to go through the process of creating a login as they can just use their USC network ID and password,” she said. “Visually it is much more appealing as well.” On the new Web site, students can look for rental housing options, roommates and the buying or selling of furniture. The OCSS are in the process of developing an online guide to off-campus living that will tell students everything they need to know about being an off-campus student. The search options have been simplified, and a custom map has been created to assist individuals who may not be familiar with the Columbia area. Access has been limited to current and incoming students as well as faculty and staff members, because message boards are where students can look for roommates. Prior to this change, anyone could post on those message boards. The Housing Locator is one of the features of the Web site, which Campbell describes as being “similar to a Craigslist but only for our University community.” After students log on the Web Site with their University network ID and password, they can choose if they want to receive e-mail updates about everything OCSS has to offer after logging on the fi rst time. After logging on, students can go through rental housing options or go to message boards to look for roommates, sublet information, handling furniture and setting up carpools.
Scott Fowler / THE DAILY GAMECOCK
Jami Campbell, coordinator of Off-Campus Student Services. On March 2, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Greene Street, all of the new perks of the OCSS and vendors of its housing units will be put out on display at the Off-Campus Housing Fair. Even if bad weather occurs on the date, the fair with still take place, except in the Russell House second floor lobby instead. The fair will consists of mainly apartment complexes with a few other vendors. Along with a furniture rental company and a property management company, 13 apartment complexes are signed up to be in attendance so far. Aspyre, Pointe West, University Oaks, Garnet Riverwalk and Stadium Suites are some of the complexes that students can expect to see at the fair. Campbell said the housing fair can be a little overwhelming for a student looking for off-campus housing for the very first time because it can draw quite a large crowd. “Most of the vendors will be handing out tons of free stuff in order to gain the business and interest of students,” she said. Students should come equipped with a list of questions for the vendors, in order to prevent them from going off-tangent. “They will try to win you over with their current specials and promotional items, but stick to the task at hand and get information on their property and their pricing.” Campbell said to not fall for the gimmicks. “Some properties will be offering specials and it is a good time to kick off the fall leasing period.”
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Olympia Mills 803-753-7579
http://www.millsliving.com/ 600 Heyward St., Columbia, SC Monday-Friday: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Weekends by appointment
Bedroom options: 1, 3, 4 3-bedroom: 2 bathrooms, 4-bedroom: 2 bathrooms 1-bedroom: $750, 3-bedroom: $1,500-$1,600, 4-bedroom: $2,000$2,400 Water, trash and sewage utilities included Not furnished French door closets Courtesy officers No shuttles Pets allowed. Breed restrictions.
$350 one-time fee Driving 2-3 minutes from campus. 3 blocks walking distance from campus Group leasing No roommate matching Pool, outdoor basketball court, tennis courts, fitness facility No online rent payment available Security deposit is equal to a half monthâ€™s rent 1 parking spot per bedroom; around 150 guest spots
Want to see more? We have videos and slideshows of the apartment complexes we featured THE
KEY 1. Garnet Riverwalk 2. Riverside Estates 3. Pointe West 4. Granby Mills 5. Olympia Mills 6. Aspyre 7. The Lofts at USC 8. University Oaks 9. Stadium Suites 10. The Retreat 11. Copper Beech USC Campus
12. The Woodlands
Shopping Around Compare and contrast what each complex in Columbia has to offer
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The Lofts at USC
The Retreat 803-733-5800
http://www.retreatcolumbia.com/ 1929 Bluff Road, Columbia, SC Monday-Thursday: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Cottage bedroom options: 2, 3, 4, 5 5-bedroom/5-bathroom: $2,400, 4-bedroom/4.5 bathroom: $2,140, 4-bedroom/4 bathroom: $2,100, 3-bedroom/3-bathroom: $1,620 Utilities included with $40 utility cap Not furnished Walk-in and door closets Courtesy officers Day shuttle to campus Night shuttle Pets allowed. Breed restriction, but can be lifted with note from vet. $500 one-time fee
Driving 10 minutes to campus. 3 miles to campus Individual leasing Roommate matching Tanning beds, pools, fitness facilities, movie theater Online rent payment available Currently waiving security deposit, $200 nonrefundable down payment 1 parking spot available for each resident with guest parking available -Nathan, Vanessa
Carriage Place Condominiums Amenities Newly renovated units (select units) Common entry way/new renovated Private Patio/Balcony Huge Dressing areas (2 BDRs) Cable, high-speed Internet, Digital Phone avail. Washer/Dryer Connections (full size) Swimming Pool Ceramic tile baths/central heating/air 2 Blocks from USC Medical School Easy y Access to I77,Fort , JJackson,USC Campus,& Downtown
2 Bedrooms:$625 3 Bedrooms:$725 6530 Davidson Road â€˘ Columbia, SC
Students should be careful with incentives Apartment complexes, living areas offer prospective residents giveaways, cheaper prices Sara Hartley
When moving off campus, it can be tempting to sign a lease with apartments offering perks such as gift cards, free utilities and waivers. But Jami Campbell, coordinator of Off-Campus Student Services, warns against signing early just because of incentives. “The competition is getting pretty heavy between complexes because there is more housing than students,” Campbell said. Campbell says usually between March and May is the ideal time to commit to an apartment. However, some properties, like The Woodlands off Bluff Road, make it tempting to sign early by offering time-sensitive deals. “At different periods we run different incentives,” said Trevis Shoates, a second-year sport and entertainment management student, who works at The Woodlands. The apartment complex currently waives the $150 application fee and provides a $40 cap on utilities. Last semester, those who signed up for a 4-bedroom apartment received a free plasma television, Shoates
said. There will also be different deals in the future. “We’re always coming up with new incentives for our residents,” Shoates said. Some students said these incentives made a difference in their decisions. Amanda Riley, a second-year international business and global supply chain and operations management student , said she signed a lease at The Woodlands before in early December because two of her roommates are studying abroad this spring. “It was definitely good that they gave us stuff because we were still deciding between a few places,” Riley said. Other popular off-campus housing options, such as The Retreat, have similar offers to encourage people to sign up early. Also located off of Bluff Road, The Retreat currently waives the application fee and security deposit. Barbara Lengley, who works in the leasing office, said this deal is time-sensitive because the corporate office could pull it at any time. Corporate hasn’t decided whether future incentives will be offered, Lengley said. Campbell said these incentives are different for each apartment complex and depend on their marketing strategies. “Some properties will offer incentives earlier,” Campbell said. “Others will wait to see if they’re not filling up.” Pointe West on Spencer Place in Cayce is one complex offering incentives that do not depend on when you sign. “We decided this year that we would run a consistent campaign,” said
INCENTIVES ● 34
Adriana Dail / THE DAILY GAMECOCK
Look at my Space
If you’re looking for some inspiration on how to decorate an apartment on a tight budget, check out this example from Olympia Mills. These residents turned an unfurnished apartment into a place that feels like home without breaking the bank. Jonathan Battaglia
ASSISTANT NEWS EDITOR
Who lives here? Tara Tae, third-year exercise science student Kate Ensor, third-year art history student Laura Eleazer, third-year nursing student Shalika Whig, third-year psychology student
“Kate’s bedroom” Ensor is a huge fan of Coldplay. Her room includes a concertused bass, numerous posters and album art.
Jdshf Hfdskjah / THE DAILY GAMECOCK
Jdshf Hfdskjah / THE DAILY GAMECOCK
“Bar stools” These stools were found at Target for a bargain price. The roommates teamed up to paint them in a variety of different colors.
“Kitchen table” When Tae’s parents didn’t need an old set of kitchen chairs and a table, the roommates took them off their hands. They painted the furniture to make it appear good as new.
“Jumping picture” This photo of Ensor jumping off the fountain at the USC Law School was enlarged and placed on the wall of the living room. She used tiny geometric shapes within the photo to give it an edgy, modern feel.
“Living room chair” Eleazer’s brother, who is an architect, designed and made the chair in the living room. It makes for a good spot to lounge around and unwind after class.
Decorating brings room to life Follow these easy tips for a fun, well-balanced living environment Kalsey Pacer
ASSISTANT MIX EDITOR
Decorating a plain white room can be quite a daunting task. It’s easy to get carried away and make the room a chaotic mess. There is also a threat of bringing too little life to the room, leaving it to look like an optimistic prison cell.
Think of a theme To strike a balance between insane and austere, fi rst think of an overall theme for the room. Pastel-toned decorations lend a sense of relaxation, as do earth tones. For a more energetic living space, choose warm or neon colors. A monochromatic scheme, like using various shades of purple, can be sophisticated looking, but it is much easier to choose two or three colors to style the room. That way, lots of time and money don’t have to be spent trying to find a lime green lamp. To get a jump start on figuring out the room’s theme, find a bedspread you love. Using that bedspread as inspiration, it’s easy to think of colors and items that would look great with it.
Buy functional furniture The best way to personalize a room is to buy items that are both fun and functional. An example would be the Whitmore cubes and shelving, available at Target. The cubes come in a rainbow of colors and fit perfectly into the shelving, which you can buy in units to create useful setups. The shelving looks clean and colorful and easily hides snacks, medicine or any small items that need to be stored away. Another option is the Sterilite Clearview storage unit collection, also available at Target. These handy containers come in a range of sizes and in colors like pink, white, green and blue. The containers have see-through doors, allowing owners to conveniently see whatever is tucked inside. A collection of these storage units can keep a room looking neat and coordinated.
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Brighten up walls The biggest problem with room dreariness is the color of the walls themselves. White walls are not exciting, and it’s usually prohibited to paint or wallpaper them. However, there are several fun ways to spice up white walls without angering your landlord. Try buying large pieces of fabric to pin onto the walls or put up fun cork or bulletin boards to take away some of the emptiness. Another option is to buy wall stickers. These are exactly what they sound like: huge decals that you can place onto the walls. They stay put until you take them off (usually with the heat of a blow dryer) and do not leave marks. While these stickers can be a bit costly, they add a whole new level of individuality to any room.
Add curtains While it seems trivial, a set of curtains can add a homey dimension to any room. To fit a window for curtains, measure the length and width of the window, then take those measurements to the store to find a window bar and suitable curtains. There are a multitude of coverings to suit any room, from short cafe-style curtains to dramatic draping styles. For a college dorm room, it’s nice to have curtains that don’t drag on the floor, just to avoid dust collection. With the countless style and color options available, it’s a cinch to find curtains that will add comfort to a bedroom.
Copper Beech 803-255-0170
http://www.cbeech.com/columbiasc.htm 1051 Southern Dr., Columbia, SC Monday-Friday: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday: 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Bedroom options: 1, 2, 3, 4 1-bedroom: 1 bathroom, 2-bedroom: 2.5 bathrooms, 3-bedroom: 3.5 bathrooms, 4-bedroom: 4.5 bathrooms 1-bedroom: $675, 2-bedroom: $520, 3-bedroom: $469, 4-bedroom: $449 Utilities not included, but Internet and cable are Furnished Walk-in closets Courtesy officer
W E L C O M E U S C S T U D E N T S
Day shuttle to campus Night shuttle Thursday through Saturdays to Five Points Pets allowed in select units. Onetime fee of $300. $25 per month Driving 10 minutes from campus. Group leasing Roommate matching not available Fitness center, pool, computer lab, game room Online rent payment available No security deposit 1 parking spot per resident; guest
BROOKPINES A PA R T M E N T
169 Brook Pines Drive Columbia, SC 29210
(803) 798-8996 Community Features
Swimming Pool and Clubhouse 24-Hour Emergency Maintenance Laundry Facilities in Each Building Conveniently located in the St. Andrews Area Flexible Lease Terms Pets Conditional
One Bedrooms from $395/mo. Two Bedrooms from $450/mo.
W E L C O M E U S C S T U D E N T S
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Reasons to move off campus Proximity to campus, included utilities among our top reasons Kara Apel
complexes have movie theaters where you and your friends can sit and watch a movie on a huge screen at your leisure. And what happens if your printer runs out of ink? Many complexes offer business centers with computers and a printer at your disposal. And what about being farther away from Five Points? Not a problem. Many complexes offer drunk busses to transport you to Five Points for nights filled with fun without worrying about finding a DD.
Feel like you’re at home
Tired of your feet touching the cold tile of your dorm room floor? Are you completely uninspired by your stone and white walls? Moving off campus helps you create a more homey atmosphere to enjoy while you’re living in Columbia. Some apartments allow you to completely furnish your own space, so if you have an interior designer inside your mind waiting to break free, this could be your big opportunity. Even in the furnished complexes, you still have more of an opportunity to decorate your space to your satisfaction. If you feel seriously inhibited by your lack of closet space, then moving off campus can definitely help you with this problem. Many apartment complexes offer walk-in closets or door closets with large amounts of space to create room for the purchases you make on impromptu shopping sprees.
No more quarter searches
If you are irritated with having to sit watch over your clothes so nobody steals them in the common laundry areas, it could be time to find a place with its own washers and dryers. Many complexes in the area offer spaces with their own washers and dryers inside each home. Not only will you avoid those late-night quarter searches to fund that last load of laundry, but you can also have more flexibility in how you do your laundry. No longer will you have to set aside hours of time to make sure it gets done. If you want to do a load of laundry and run errands before you put it in the dryer, you can do it without having to worry it will be stolen- that is, as long as you trust your roommates.
Your own bathroom
If you’re annoyed with having to deal with communal or even suite-style bathrooms, moving off campus can
No more randos
help. Many apartment complexes give each bedroom its own bathroom so you can enjoy full privacy. No longer will you have to run late because you had to wait for your suitemates to shower before you could hop in. Even if you don’t have your own bathroom, you probably will end up sharing it with only one other person. If you’re sick of the hall bathrooms, this could be a great option for you. Though you do now have to worry about cleaning said bathroom, it’s great to have more privacy.
Cook your own food
If you’re sick of having to depend on the meal plan hours or only enjoy frozen meals or microwave Ramen, you could be craving having your own kitchen. Having your own kitchen can not only give you the opportunity to eat more of what you want, but it can also save you money. Instead of shelling out bucks for a meal plan every semester, you can buy cheaper groceries and save money. Your roommates could even organize different days to cook for one another. You also have more room to store your food, since you’ll have an actual refrigerator and can say goodbye to the days of the mini-fridge.
Depending on where you live, you can enjoy all of the extra amenities that are offered. Almost all of the complexes in Columbia have their own pools and hot tubs, and unlike at the Strom, you can lie out with your favorite alcoholic beverage in hand without catching too much flack. Some
Since you are no long dealing with University H o u s i n g , y o u w o n ’t get stuck with random suitemates who decide to have loud sex at all hours of the night — you now have the power to pick who you want to live with and where you want to live. If you want to live by yourself, you now have the option. If you want to live with your four best friends, you can do so. However, as appealing as this may sound, pay close attention to the decisions you are making. Breaking a lease is a big deal and could create serious consequences. It is not as simple as asking to move to a different dorm or room like it was when you lived on campus.
Bye, bye lines at the Strom
At most of the apartment complexes around campus, you will have your very own fitness facilities to use and
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PAGE 17 TOP 10 ● Continued from 16 won’t have to wait in line to use the machines at the Strom, especially during January when people are still trying to keep their New Year’s resolutions. At some complexes, the gym is open 24/7, so you can fit in your gym time around your own schedule. For those of you that work late at night and can’t make it to the Strom before it closes, this could be a viable option for your lifestyle. Though the gyms are definitely smaller and have fewer machines to choose from than the Strom, a treadmill is a treadmill. Even if it isn’t the 2009 edition, it will still get the job done.
Be done with elevators
Everyone’s been in this scenario: you woke up 20 minutes late and need to scramble across campus to make it to your 9:30 class on time. You rush and quickly get ready and then run to the elevator because you’re unable to run down 10 flights of stairs without sweating like a pig. You wait and wait as the time slowly ticks by and when the elevator finally comes, you’re already late for class. If you have grown an unabashed hatred for elevators, then this could be the time for you to break free from these time-consuming oppressors. At many apartment complexes around Columbia, you won’t have elevators or even need to use them, since most complexes
only have two or three floors.
If you choose to live off campus, you will no longer have to worry about parking near your dorm. Gone are the days of having to fight for a spot in the cramped Capstone/Columbia parking lot. In most apartment complexes, you will be able to park right next to your unit, so you won’t have to make any more scary trips walking from the Bates parking lot late at night. You also won’t have to make excruciating trips up and down the elevator to move into or out of your room. And if you don’t want to, you won’t need to shell out the extra couple $100 per semester to park at the Bull Street Garage. Your friends can easily come over and have places to park without paying per hour at a parking meter.
Another bonus is saying goodbye to visitation policies. You can have friends over whenever you want and even have your significant other spend the night without any complications. If you want to host your sorority pregame, then your suitemate can’t tell on you. If you want to throw a kegger, then nobody can stop you and if you want to sit in your apartment smoking your favorite illegal substance, then that’s your prerogative. Just make sure the cops don’t get called.
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No more RMs
Now that you have your own living space, you no longer have to follow the rules of USC Housing or your RM. If you lose your CarolinaCard during a drunken night in Five Points, you won’t need to beg the RM at the front desk to let you in every time. And now you won’t have to deal with waiting to swipe your CarolinaCard. In fact, if you don’t have a meal plan or rarely use your CarolinaCard to buy items around campus, then you don’t even really need to carry it around with you anymore.
Jdshf Hfdskjah / THE DAILY GAMECOCK
What should you look for in a roommate? Take this short quiz for a little insight on who matches your living style. Kara Apel
What’s your idea of fun? A) Drinking shots of tequila until I puke. B) A mix of partying and chilling with friends. C) Going to shag night at Jillian’s or seeing a movie. How many times a week do you party? A) 3+ B) 1-2 C) I don’t drink What will your class schedule be like? A) I’m taking 12 hours and all of my classes start after noon. B) I’m taking 15 hours and have a good mix of early and later classes. C) My life sucks. I’m taking 18 hours and have all 8 a.m. classes! How many extracurricular activities are you involved in? A) Nothing except working 10 hours a week. B) Two or three organizations. C) Working 20 hours a week and holding a leadership position. What’s your noise tolerance? A) I could snooze through a tornado. B) I’m a semi-light sleeper, but once I’m asleep nothing bothers me. C) Every small noise irritates me. What time do you go to bed? A) I’m a night owl. Around 2 or 3 a.m. B) It depends what I’m doing each night, but usually around 11 p.m. or midnight. C) 9 p.m. on the dot every night.
How tidy are you? A) Mess does not bother me one bit. B) I don’t like beer cans lying around, but I can somewhat handle a little bit of a mess C) I hate messy people and when they leave their stuff lying around. What is your sleepover policy? A) Mi casa es tu casa. Anyone’s welcome to crash on my couch! B) If someone’s staying over, I like to be informed, but I don’t care. C) It annoys me when other people are in my space. How often do you cook? A) I like to cook all my meals — there are always pots and pans lying around. B) A mixture of eating out and cooking for myself. C) I eat on campus a lot and don’t use a lot of dishes. If you answered mostly A’s, you’re looking for a party animal in a roommate. Your priority is having somebody to go downtown with every night and as much as possible. You like to party and have fun and make studying a second priority. In this situation, make sure your roommates like to party as much as you do: constantly feeling like you need to tiptoe around others is no fun. If you like to host parties or pregames on a weekly basis, make sure your roommates don’t mind if you wait a day or two to clean up afterward. If you answered mostly B’s, you’re looking for a partying-studying hybrid in a roommate. If you like having time to rage and also time to hit the books, find somebody who parties and studies just as much as you do. You’re grounded and know when it’s okay to party and when it’s time to buckle down and study. However, if your roommates also like to party, but are on different schedules then you, make sure you’re respectful of one another about when the apartment needs to stay quiet. If you have an 8 a.m. on Friday mornings, but know without fail that your potential roomie goes downtown Thursday every weekend, make sure you work it out with her. If you answered mostly C’s, you’re looking for a study buddy in a roommate. Although living with someone who’s the life of the party can be fun at times, you want to live with someone who’s on the same page as you academically. If your first priority is studying and getting good grades, you’ll want to look for someone who feels the same way. If not, there could be a lot of conflict and tension between the two of you. Be upfront and honest with prospective roommates — if you don’t speak up now, you’ll become frustrated and this will wear down your friendship.
University Oaks (803) 252-2634
http://uoaks.com/ 21 National Guard Road, Columbia, S.C. Monday-Friday: 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday: Noon to 4 p.m.
Bedroom options: 3, 4 3-bedroom/ 3 bathrooms: $499, 4-bedroom/2 bathrooms: $455, 4-bedroom/ 2 bathroom deluxe: $465, 4-bedroom/ 4 bathrooms $469, 4-bedroom/ 4 bathroom deluxe: $484 Utilities included with $50 utility cap Furnished All are walk-in except 4-bedroom/ 2 bathrooms model Courtesy officer lives on site Day shuttle to campus until 7 p.m. Pets allowed. Weight limit: 35 pounds, but manager has discretion. $300 one-time fee. $15 per month 2 miles from campus Individual leases Roommate matching available Tanning, pool, hot tub, fitness facility, yoga room Online rent payment available Security deposit currently waived, application fee $35 70 guest parking spots available and extra spots available in front of the clubhouse as long as they are moved by 7:30 a.m. -Craig
USC STUDENTS AND OFF-CAMPUS HOUSING Just more than 70% of all Columbia campus students live off campus. 66% of undergraduate students 95% of graduate students 99% of professional students 74% of the off-campus population attends classes full-time 72% of the off-campus population are in-state students â€” Information from Off-Campus Student Services
live well learn well
individual storage closets + private bedrooms & bathrooms + private shuttle to campus
scsuites.com 803.779.3280 | 112 SILO COURT TEXT SUITES TO 47464 FOR INFO
STANDARD TEXT RATES APPLY
The Lofts at USC 866-577-0721
http://www.theloftsatusc.com/ 211 Main Street, Columbia, SC Monday-Friday: 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Bedroom options: 1, 2, 3, 4 1-bedroom/ 1 bathroom, 2-bedroom/ 1 bathroom, 3-bedroom/ 2 bathroom, 4-bedroom/ 2 bathrooms 1-bedroom starts at $695, 2-bedroom starts at $540, 3-bedroom: $505, 4-bedroom: $475 Some utilities included for 2- through 4-bedroom units; $50 cap; electricity not included for 1-bedroom units Furnishing costs $120 per person with a one-time fee Door closets, some walk-in Courtesy officer
Pets allowed. Weight limit: 35 pounds. Breed restrictions. One-time $100 fee and $25 per month. On-campus complex Individual leasing, but group leasing is available Roommate matching available Pool, game room, fitness equipment No online rent payment available No security deposit, but $45 application fee and $250 reservation fee Unassigned sticker parking
finding an apartment? Visit the Off-Campus Housing Web site at...
Paying rent on time - it matters Law says landlords may kick out tenants after giving rent notice Taylor Cheney STAFF WRITER
With all the pressures of college, being evicted from your apartment should not be one of them. Third-year philosophy student Andrew Vinson has lived at Cornell Arms for almost seven months and although he has never been evicted, Vinson is aware of the consequences. “Eventually they kick you out, but there is a fine for paying after the (five day) grace period,” he said. “I know they check credit when you sign the lease, and if you don’t have a credit you will need someone to co-sign.” For $865 a month, Vinson and his roommate share a two-bedroom apartment which includes cable, Internet, water and electricity. Although he is still searching for a roommate, he said he plans to stay off campus next year, mainly for the convenience. “Living off campus gives you more freedom (such as) less RAs and security guards, but you may have to drive to school and you have to deal with landlords,” he said. Located next door to the Swearingen Building, The Lofts at USC house more than 300 residents, including undergraduate and graduate students, some of whom hold individual leases according to assistant manager Ashley Haynes. Though there is not a large problem of overdue rent, she said, there is a $120 late charge after the five-day grace period. To prevent this from happening, Haynes said she usually works with students’ parents to avoid overage fees. “Parents usually mail checks in that go into a pre-paid safe, or for students who are from out-of-state, they usually set up a fund that parents can put money in and will be automatically taken out the first of every month,” she said. “This is a great start to building credit and real history.” According to the South Carolina Bar Landlord-Tenant Act, if rent is not paid when due, the landlord may end the rental agreement and start eviction proceedings if the landlord has given five days’ written notice and the rent is not paid within that time. Fourth-year visual communications student Amanda Smith has paid $600 a month for her two bedroom apartment in Senate Plaza since August and has never had an issue paying rent. “If rent was ever overdue, (the landlords) would give us a call,” she said. “It is a little pricey, but it helps that I am on scholarships.” While Smith chose an apartment to fit her budget, she said it is also important to choose a space that works for your lifestyle. “It’s important to ask around, especially if you are quiet and enjoy studying,” Smith said. “Off-campus housing is a lot cleaner and less noisy than on campus.” Although it is pricier, Smith plans to get a house next year with more roommates to alleviate the cost. For more information on rent payment, visit scbar.org.
Stadium Suites (803) 779-3280
http://scsuites.com/ 112 Silo Court, Columbia, SC Monday-Friday: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday: Noon to 4 p.m. Bedroom options: 3, 4 Each room has its own bathroom 3-bedroom: $449, 4-bedroom: $429 Internet, cable, water, sewer, trash included Furnished Door closets with an extra storage closet per person Courtesy officer lives on site Day shuttle to campus Pets allowed. Weight limit: 35 pounds. $300 one-time fee. $15 per month
2 miles from campus Individual leases Roommate matching available Tanning, pool, hot tub, fitness facility Online rent payment available Security deposit currently being waived, $35 application fee Large parking lots with substantial guest parking available -Craig
Still looking for a place to live next year? top by the Off-Campus Housing Fair today Greene Street from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. A list of vendors attending the fair are: Aspyre at Assembly Station Columbia Property Management Copper Beech Furniture Services, Inc Garnet Riverwalk Heron Lake Apartments The Lofts at USC Off-Campus Student Services
Pavilion Towers Pointe West The Rapids The Retreat Riverside Estates Stadium Suites Three Rivers University Oaks Woodlands of Columbia
Amenities dictate safety, more choices Location, safety, influence housing decisions Elizabeth Keniston THE DAILY GAMECOCK
The search for the right living space can be overwhelming. Once you have your roommates and decided you want to live off campus, figuring out where to sign can be more stressful than midterms. After you decide upon the price range you are looking for (or the budget your parents allow), brainstorm about what is important to you and to your roommates. You may not really care about things like a pool or exercise equipment, but you may love the idea of a shuttle that can take you to campus and alleviate parking issues. There are many things to think about when signing a lease, but if you prioritize and explore all of your options, you will feel more confident when it comes to making a decision. The first big factor to consider is location. How close is the area to campus? If you are close enough, having a car may not be a necessity, which can reduce the money spent on gas and other car-related expenses. If you have a car and the thought of driving does not bother you, a less expensive apartment further away may offset the cost of gas. Compare the differences in rent and utilities costs with the money you would spend getting back and forth to classes every day. Shuttle services can be great money savers, but be honest with yourself. If you know you won’t take the shuttle, don’t factor that in to your budget.
Other issues to take into consideration are safety and maintenance. Is there sufficient security in the building? How do people enter and exit? Do current residents feel safe in their apartment? Is the complex is well-maintained and clean? These are important issues, especially when convincing parents a particular apartment is the right fit. Inside your apartment, you should make sure you like the layout and the amenities offered. Is it important to you to have a furnished apartment? Or do you have room in your budget to furnish your apartment yourself? Also, make sure appliances are in good condition and there is enough storage space. Decide whether or not having your own washer and dryer unit is important — quarters for laundry can add up quickly. When thinking about price point, factor in all of your potential costs. Even though rent may be in your price range, gas and utilities need to play a huge part in your decision. Some apartment complexes may have a utilities cap or include the cost of utilities in rent, but others may not. Find out which services are covered, which services must be paid for additionally and how much you will be charged on average each month. Also, talk to students who live in that apartment complex and ask how easy it is to deal with the apartment complex when it comes time to pay the bills. Have they ever found hidden fees added to their bill? Are there any initial fees like an activity fee or a parking fee? These small
charges can add up quickly as well. Finally, make sure you know all of the details of your contract — that fine print seems a lot more obvious after the fact. Know if the lease is a 10- or 12-month commitment and if you are able to sublease your apartment to others during summer months. Find out about the movein process and about the renewal process after your contract is up. The bottom line? Know what works for you. Lindsey Boan, a thirdyear exercise science student, decided that living in a house was her best option. “I love living in a house rather than an apartment
— there’s no elevator, no parking lot and a yard that my dog can play in,” she said.
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Riverside Estates 803-772-2200
www.riversidecolumbia.com 800 Alexander Road, Cayce, SC Monday-Friday: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday-Sunday: Noon to 5 p.m.
Bedroom options: 2 or 4 2-bedroom: walk-in closet and individual bathroom, 4-bedroom: 2 bathrooms 2-bedroom: $565, 4-bedroom: $445 Utilities included Furnished 4-bedroom does not have walkin closets Courtesy officer Next year will have campus shuttle
No pets allowed Driving 5 minutes from campus. 1 mile from campus Individual leasing Roommate matching offered 1 tanning bed, Pool, Tennis court, basketball court, fitness facility and a business center Online rent payment available $150 security deposit for new leases 1 unassigned parking spot per resident; approximately 50 guest spots
The Woodlands 803-779-4888
http://woodlandsofcolumbia.com/ 1050 Southern Dr. Columbia, S.C. Monday-Friday: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday: 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Bedroom options: 2, 3, 4 Each bedroom has its own bathroom 2-bedroom: $625, 3-bedroom: $595, 4-bedroom: $555 Utilities not included, but specials give you $40 cap Furnished Walk-in closets 3 courtesy officers and armed guard at night time Day shuttle to campus Night shuttle Thursday through Saturday to Five Points
Pets allowed. No size limit. $150 onetime fee. $15 per month. Driving 8 minutes from campus. 3.9 miles from campus Individual leasing Roommate matching available Pool, tanning, fitness center, movie theater, computer lab, game room, rock wall Online rent payment available No security deposit, waiving $150 application fee through Friday 1 unassigned parking spot per resident, guest parking available
The Wilshire House at Union Station 1 & 2 Bedroom Residences •Pedestrian Brige Connecting to Strom Thurmond Fitness and Wellness Center • 2 blocks from Law School • 1 blocks from Carolina Coliseum • Walking distance to School of Business and Downtown Businesses • 1 block from Engineering School • Parking on site • Telephone Entry System with Voice Monitor • Private Pool
Starting at $800
1100 Wheat Street • Columbia, South Carolina 29201 • (803) 779-1844 www.thewilshirehouse.com • M-F 9am - 5pm
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Things to keep in mind Off-campus housing requires extra thought on a few issues Jonathan Battaglia
ASSISTANT NEWS EDITOR
Utilities I n a d o r m , w a t e r, e l e c t r i c i t y, c a b l e a n d Internet use are covered by the University’s housing fee. Off campus, these fees are separate from rent and can really add up. A high utility bill at the end of the month can mean a headache for you (or your parents). HBO and the NFL Network don’t come without a hefty cost and the best Internet packages aren’t free either. If you’re used to taking h o u r- l o n g s h o w e r s t o wake up for class, living off campus could end that habit. On the bright side, it might make you “go green” — if not for the environment then for your wallet’s sake.
Parking At most off-campus complexes, walking to class simply isn’t an option. This means you will rely on your car and parking on campus. You will realize soon why people complain about the lack of parking at USC. The simplest (but also the most expensive) option is to buy a spot in a parking garage. An alternative is to get a commuter student pass and park at either the Coliseum or Barnwell Street. Parking on the street is okay sometimes, but don’t make it an everyday habit because tickets are easy to get. If driving with strangers doesn’t bother you, the new Carpooling at Carolina program could be for you. Visit www.sc.edu/ vmps for more information.
Shuttles Off-campus complexes that are beyond walking distance to campus usually have shuttles going to and from campus on weekdays, but they may not be ideal for your needs. At some residences, these shuttles only run every hour and don’t coincide with class times. If you’re going to use this service, be prepared to wake up earlier than you might need to in order to catch the bus. For a 8 a.m. class, you might have to catch the shuttle at 7:15 and wait until your class starts. Gone are the days when you could wake up 15 minutes before class and stroll into class in sweatpants and a hoodie.
Furniture Some off-campus housing comes furnished, but a good number of complexes come without furnishing. Your bedroom, living room, kitchen and bathroom will all need to be outfitted for a year of living. To save some money, go to places like His House or Goodwill. The furniture won’t be new, but you can get a serviceable bed frame for hundreds less than any outlet store. Target and Ikea are also options for those willing to spend a little more and they tailor to college students in the months leading up to the start of school. Some things you might not think about right away: silverware, a nightstand and a kitchen table.
When you lived on campus, it was easy to catch a game day shuttle to Williams-Brice Stadium or just walk to and from the game. For someone living off campus, transportation before and after games can be a hassle. Some complexes are within walking distance to the football stadium, but the rest have to rely on their friends to give them rides. The best bet is to plan ahead of time on who can drive to games. Parking on Bluff Road can be as much as $20, so splitting up costs is the fair thing to do.
Trash Throwing your trash away in a dorm was as simple as walking down the hall. Off campus, it might not be that easy. Often times, a designated trash area for residents is downstairs or completely outside of the building. This can mean lugging a huge trash bag hundreds of yards — not exactly a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon. Also, some complexes have limited or nonexistent recycling programs. If you are trying to be environmentally friendly, this could test your dedication to recycling paper and plastic.
Drinking Underage drinking in a dorm usually means a slap on the wrist from an RM or a fine from USCPD, at worst. When you’re off campus, things can get a lot more serious. Drinking tickets from Richland County or Columbia City police can entail a court date or a misdemeanor underage drinking offense. Having your own place comes with responsibility, and with responsibility comes consequences if you aren’t careful.
TOP TEN● 33
Tête à Tête On-campus housing forms sense of community; living expenses, absence from student life make apartments bad choice
Off-campus housing provides cheaper opportunities; amenities offered in apartments much better deal than overused dormitories
A reason many students move off campus is because they want to feel like they are growing up. They moved out of their parents’ house their freshman year and now it is time to move out of the dorms and be rid of the semi-parental RMs. Enough with the “communitybuilding activities” and all that crap. It’s time to be an adult. It’s time to overpay for a monotonous sub-standard apartment complex on the edge of town, which is inherently immature in that it is dubbed a “student housing complex,” with A) your parents’ money, B) your Stafford Loan or C) the contributions of your Ryan scholarships and the goodwill of the state. Quinn Or you could start paying for a house and establish Second-year credit. Sure, you’re still an undergrad, but you know journalism student exactly where you want to live when you grow up and what kind of housing you will be able to afford. Something about this optimistic economy just allows you to make those sort of gut decisions. Wait, your parents are paying for the house? See A) above. Let’s go ahead and throw this whole notion of progress out the window. Until we get out of grad school, there is no progress for we students. Regress would be the better term, because that is what our bank accounts are doing. We are, for the most part, no longer living with our parents, nor do we have real jobs. We are stuck in a limbo — our souls are lost in an ambiguous place between dimensions, except here we are not religiously lost but rather are intoxicated. It’s college. This is not another mile on the road to the nirvana of adulthood. It’s an expensive and exhilarating detour. We took the wrong exit, we’re in South of the Border and those who do make it out alive will probably be pregnant. College must be enjoyed as a separate entity from the corporate ladder. To enjoy it means immersion, and immersion means living on campus and being part of the school. We can’t immigrate to these Marxist gated communities with their passcodes and pools with dangerous levels of chlorine and expect to still be part of the USC community. I could go on about how transportation costs and how these add up to make off-campus living more expensive, but this is a tired argument. What I don’t understand is why students, obviously knowledgeable of this fact, still continue to move off campus. These apartment complexes are not so much outside of campus as they are outside of Columbia. Not just literally but metaphorically. When you’re off campus you are outside of student life. You’re less likely to walk to the Horseshoe or check out what’s on Greene Street. Something’s missing and it’s not just that cash in your wallet you spend on gas.
While currently living in South Tower and experiencing my freshman year in Patterson Hall, I’ve spent my first two years of college in campus housing. It is very convenient to be on campus and walk to class every day, but being cooped up in a dorm that is 12 feet by 16 feet is not my cup of tea. I thought I would be miserable in a dorm even though I was practically convinced by my friends to live on the sorority hall this year, but is has been a great time. This is only because all my friends live with me, whereas, if I were in the South Tower without them, it would be terrible. Marilynn Let’s all admit, the stereotype is correct: Dorms Joyner are gross. With the community showers, nasty Second-year water fountains and mildewed kitchens, there really English and is no way to keep from picking up bacteria. And, I dance student am not just talking about the high-rises here, such as Capstone, South Tower, Patterson Hall and Columbia Hall. West quad, East quad, DeSaussure, Rutledge, Thornwell etc., they all have the same stereotype. They are dorms that have been used over and over again with students moving in and out each semester. What building wouldn’t be destroyed after several years of students living there? Even though on-campus housing has its perks, such as never having to catch a shuttle or drive to class, they are still used rooms and the university does rip students off with the prices. Luckily my parents pay for my housing, but I definitely would have saved them some money by getting an apartment instead of South Tower. And, this isn’t just housing that is expensive, but the students can choose the meal plan comes along with it, which is an even bigger rip off. So, all in all, living off campus and not in a dorm is a plus. There are nice apartments in Columbia that are way cheaper then on-campus housing is. And, even though you have to count in the expenses of gas to get to campus and utility bills, there are shuttles for some apartment complexes, and some people choose to carpool. And concerning events on campus, living on-campus does not benefit you into participating in the “college experience.” There are many other ways to find out what is going on on campus. You don’t need to live right across from Russell House to be in the know. So, if you want to save money and live in a nice place that you can call your own, choose to live off campus in a house or an apartment. It gives you independence and is not as snug as oncampus housing is.
Pointe West 803-739-0899 http://www.myownapartment.com/pointewest/
215 Spencer Place, Cayce, SC Monday-Friday: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday: Noon to 5 p.m. Bedroom options: 2 or 4 2-bedrooms: 1 bathroom, 4-bedrooms: 2 bathrooms 2-bedroom: $555, 4-bedroom: $430 Utilities included, but $40 electricity cap Furnished Sliding glass doors on closets Two courtesy officers that stay on complex Day shuttle to campus No pets allowed Driving 5-6 minutes from campus. 3
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SELF STORAGE FOR THE MILLENNIUM
miles from campus Individual leasing Roommate matching offered 1 Tanning bed, pool, hot tub, gym, porches Online rent payment available No security deposit 1 parking spot for every residents; 83 guest parking spots -Ashley
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http://www.iaspyre.com/ 1000 Whaley Street, Columbia, SC Monday-Friday: 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturday: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Bedroom options: 1, 2, 3 Each bedroom has its own bathroom 1-bedroom studio: $825, 1-bedroom: $895, 2-bedroom: $1,158, 3-bedroom: $1,737 Water, sewage, trash, Internet included in utilites $50 extra for furnishing in certain 2-bedroom units Walk-in closets Courtesy officers and video surveillance of building No shuttles Pets allowed. dogs and cats. Weight
limit: 60 pounds. Breed limit. Onetime fee of $325. Right off campus and within walking distance. Group leasing Roommate matching not available 2 pools, 24-hour fitness facilities, 24-hour business center, outdoor fireplace Online rent payment available No security deposit 1 parking spot per resident in covered parking garage; guest parking available -Laura
1 Catawba Circle Columbia, SC 29201 803.779.5888
1, 2 and 3 Bedroom Apartments! Great move - in specials! Features & Amenities:
• Water, Watter, sewer, cable, & internet included • Extra Extrra large privacy ﬂoor plans w/ jumbo sized closets • Fitness Fitn ness center • Central Cen ntral laundry facility Clubhouse • Clu bhouse featuring study center w/ internet access and poolside WiFi • Washer/Dryer Wassher/Dryer connections: rental available emergency maintenance • 24 hour h • Best Besst location for Carolina Baseball • Central Cen ntral Location: within a mile of Gamecock arenas • Vista Vistta nite-life just a mile away • Hike e or bike in Granby Park
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TOP 10 ● Continued from 29
Gas money You might not be aware if you lived without a car this year, but gas is only getting more expensive. If you plan on driving to campus every day, gas will quickly become one of your biggest expenses. Stop and go traffic in Columbia isn’t very fuel-efficient, even in your new Toyota Prius. If you didn’t have a part-time job as a freshman, this might be the time to get one.
Pets Contrary to strict on campus housing rules, your furry friends are allowed in some off-campus residences. If you are planning on having a pet, be aware that many complexes charge an animal fee. If you don’t pay the fee and they catch you with a pet, expect a hefty fine or maybe even. For those who don’t have a pet, be aware that you could be attacked by dogs without a leash. Also, stepping in dog poop on the way to your car isn’t a good way to start a Monday.
Noise Dorms can get pretty loud on weekend nights, but they don’t compare to some off-campus residences. Parties tend to be bigger in off-campus complexes and the walls are often just as thin as the dorms. If the guy or girl in the room next to you constantly has visitors or is a music major, it might be a good idea to invest in some ear plugs. If the sound of a passing train keeps you up at night, try to find a complex that isn’t too close to a railroad track — if that’s possible in Columbia.
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INCENTIVES ● Continued from 10
“We take the worry out of your car care”
Kathleen McLaughlin, who works in the leasing office. According to McLaughlin, those who sign up for a 4-bedroom unit will each receive a $200 Visa gift card regardless of when they sign. Pointe West does, however, offer additional incentives that are time sensitive. For example, the Web site says those who sign now will receive their last month’s rent free and will not have to pay move-in fees. It does not say how long this deal will last. In addition, those who sign up before April 15 can be eligible for a housing scholarship, Mclaughlin said. This allows students to receive their last two months of rent free if they pay their rent on time throughout the year, earn at least a 2.5 GPA and are in good standing with the University. McLaughlin said this is only available before April 15. While many properties offer incentives to sign early and some, such as Pointe West and The Woodlands, offer a variety of deals, Campbell stressed the importance of researching before signing any leases. “Do your homework, and don’t only sign because of an incentive,” Campbell said.
Make Online Appointments! 803-256-2110 • 1410 North Millwood Avenue
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LOOKING G FO FOR OR A PLACE TO CALL
http://www.garnetriverwalk.com/ 500 Alexander Rd., West Columbia, SC Monday-Friday: 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturday: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday: 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Bedroom options: 2, 3, or 4 Each bedroom has its own bathroom 2-bedroom: $595, 3-bedroom $570, 4-bedroom $550 Utilities included: 2-bedroom $40 cap, 3&4-bedroom have $30 cap Furnished; includes 42-inch LCD TV Walk-in closets Gated community with on-site courtesy officers Day shuttle runs Monday to Friday (7 a.m. to 7 p.m.) every 30 minutes Special event night shuttle for resident functions One animal allowed per apartment. No size limit. One-time fee of $300.
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Garnet Riverwalk 803-753-7579
http://www.millsliving.com/ 510 Heyward St., Columbia, SC Monday-Friday: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Bedroom options: 2, 4 2-bedroom: 2 bathrooms, 4-bedroom: 2 bathrooms 2-bedroom: $1,000-$1,100, 4-bedroom: $1,400-$2,000 Water, trash and sewage utilities included Not furnished French door closets Courtesy officers No shuttles Pets allowed. Breed restrictions. $350 one-time fee
Driving 2-3 minutes from campus. 3 blocks walking distance from campus Group leasing No roommate matching Pool, outdoor and indoor basketball court, sand volleyball tennis courts, fitness facility No online rent payment available Security deposit is equal to a half month’s rent 1 parking spot per bedroom; around 150 guest spots -Christina
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803.733.5800 RETREATCOLUMBIA.COM Pricing, amenities and availability subject to change without notice. Information is believed to be accurate but is not warranted. Speak with a leasing agent aor additional details.
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