New to Gainesville?
As a new student, employee or teacher at the University of Florida or Santa Fe College, you may want to get a feel for the community before you commit to an apartment lease near UF. If you can spare the time and expense, moving to Gainesville a few months before your school term or job begins is a good idea. In these cases, subletting an apartment near UF or finding a very short term lease may be a great benefit. You can live in the area for a couple of months, getting a feel for the neighborhoods that best suit your needs. Arrangements like these also give you time to start making local friends and contacts. It also provides you with time to explore the region and settle into Gainesville as your new hometown.
How Short-Term Leases Work
Most cheap apartments lease for a one-year period. In Gainesville’s case, most cheap apartments leases begin in August and last through the end of July. If you’re a student or you're only in town for a few months, this year-long lease forces you to pay for months that you don’t need. To accommodate this need, some Gainesville apartment communities offer shorter term leases lasting 9 or 10 months. Often, you’ll pay more each month for the convenience of the shorter term. Sometimes, you’ll end up paying as much for a 9-month lease as you would for a 12-month lease. Other times, you may save a little money when you agree to a shorter termed lease.
In many cases, apartment developments limit the number of short-term leases offered each year. With this in mind, if you want to snag a short-term agreement, act early. Don’t wait until it’s time to move to Gainesville to start searching for a short-term lease.
The Downsides of Shorter Leases
While you gain an advantage of flexibility when you sign a short-term rental agreement, you also risk several disadvantages. If you decide to stay in your apartment those extra two or three months, you may pay a premium for the convenience. Since rent can be raised when a new lease is negotiated, short-term leases also giving the apartment manager more opportunities to raise the rent. For instance, if you sign a six-month lease and then decide to renew it for another six months, the rent for the second six-month period could go up. If you had signed a year-long lease to begin with, you would have paid the original amount throughout the entire year.
Some apartment communities provide lease bonuses to residents who sign full-year leases, so you potentially miss out on that savings, too, with a short-term lease. You also force yourself to keep making decisions about where you’re living every time you reconsider and re-sign your lease. That may be more decision-making and moving than you really want to experience.
All in all, short-term leases are great if you need flexibility in your living situation and you don’t mind paying a little more for that convenience. Weigh your options carefully and be sure you know all the pros and cons of signing a short-term lease with your apartment community.