In many cases, it’s better for each roommate to keep their financial obligations separate. You can do this by choosing cheap apartments that allow you to each have tidy, individual leases. While this option isn't available at every apartment development, they're common offerings in college towns. Luckily, Gainesville is a university town, so individual lease offerings are fairly routine here.
How Do Individual Leases Work?
With a traditional joint or single lease, one person signs the apartment lease and assumes responsibility for the entire apartment's rent. The lessee then has to collect rent from each of his or her roommates every month. In contrast, individual lease options allow each person in the apartment to sign a lease. Each resident pays his or her portion of the monthly rent directly to the apartment community. You’ll pay only your portion of the rent each month, and you’re responsible only for your bedroom, bathroom and portion of the common areas.
Benefits of Individual Leases
With individual leases, you’re only responsible for your part of the rent and upkeep of the apartment. That means if a roommate is late with one month’s rent, you aren’t responsible. If your roommate damages his or her room, you’re not responsible. If your roommate moves out early, you are not responsible for finding a replacement roommate. This is an especially beneficial arrangement if you are paired with a roommate you don’t know or with a roommate who is not fully committed to the apartment.
Drawbacks of Individual Leases
With individual leases, you don’t share any responsibility for your roommate’s bedroom, but you do share responsibility for common living areas like the kitchen and living room. If one of the common areas is damaged by your roommate, you may still be responsible for the cost of repairing the damage.
If your roommate moves out before the lease is up, you won’t have any say in your roommate replacement. This isn’t always a bad thing. If you want to control who you share your space with, though, an individual lease may not give you the control you want.
You may also pay a premium for the convenience of opting for individual leases. Many apartment communities charge an extra fee for individual lease options. This is because the apartment community assumes a greater risk for splitting up the lease. If one of your roommates moves out early, the apartment manager will have to find a replacement to make up for the lost rental income for your unit. To balance the risk, individual leases often come with additional charges.
Where to Find Individual Leases
With University of Florida and Santa Fe College located in Gainesville, there are a number of apartment communities willing to offer individual lease options near UF and near Santa Fe. Many of these cheap apartments are located near UF and near Santa Fe, but a number of them are outside of the typical campus areas too. Locally, apartment communities offering individual leases tend to provide other student-friendly services such as roommate matching and larger, three- and four-bedroom units. Some may also offer shorter-term leases and all-inclusive provisions.
There are plenty of reasons to enjoy an individual lease option. As long as you carefully consider potential disadvantages and extra costs associated with the option, you can make a better-informed decision in the long run.