International Student Housing

International students need to arrange their own accommodations. Fortunately, there are apartments or flats near every campus.

To see what type of housing and amenities are available, you may want to start your search online at Baltimoreapartments.com, Rent.com or Craigslist.

If you are interested in sharing a room or finding a room in a private home, check with the Office of Student Life. If you are planning to use public transportation, remember to ask about the proximity of a bus stop to the apartment or house you are considering.

Getting an apartment

When you rent or lease an apartment in the U.S., you are usually required to pay the first and last month’s rent plus a security deposit before you can move in. Rental applications usually ask for a social security number in order to do a “credit check.” However, you do not need a social security number to rent an apartment. Apartment managers may ask for a larger security deposit instead. You may also need to provide proof that you have the funds to pay the rent. For this reason, it is a good idea to open a local bank account (link to 4.16.5.1.2) before you start your apartment search.

Understanding a lease

Read the lease carefully and understand all the terms used before you sign it. A lease is a legally binding, written agreement between a tenant and a landlord describing the rights and responsibilities of each.

Determine if the lease is renewable by the month or the year and whether the lease can be broken in case you want, or need, to move out before the lease term ends. If the renewal terms are not described in the lease, you may be required to pay rent until the end of the period covered by the lease, even if you move out and live elsewhere. (Many unpleasant disputes arise between landlords who want to keep their property rented and student renters who, after signing a lease, wish to live elsewhere.) Also determine which utilities you are responsible for and which are paid by the landlord.

Utilities

When you have located your housing, you may need to contact utility service providers to obtain gas, electricity and water. Again, the utility companies may ask for your social security number. You will need to explain that you do not have a social security number and you may need to make additional deposits. Baltimore Gas & Electric Company (BG&E) provides gas (used for heating and cooking, or both) and electricity. To reach BGE call 1.800.685.0123.

It is important that you pay bills on or before the date they are due. If you pay your bill late more than two times, your service may be cut off and you may have to pay a fee before having it turned back on.

Baltimore County provides water, sewer, and trash removal to Baltimore County residents. Talk to your landlord to determine if this is included in your rent. If you need to arrange for trash removal, call 410.887.3300.

Furniture

Most rental units do not come with furniture. Appliances (stove, refrigerator, etc.) as well as heating and air conditioning are typically included.