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to read more Interrobang articles written by Jaymin Proulx Published: Monday, May 30, 2011

When the last day of exams is over, initial feelings of excitement and relief mi x together. However, the next underlying worry is pressure to find accommodation in the summer or fall. Fanshawe operates The Off-Campus Housing Service in F2010. They have copies of t he Renting in London guide available at the office, and have posted it online at www.fanshawec.ca/housing. What can I afford? Renting in London suggests you need to know how much rent you can afford and whe n your income will be available (i.e. summer income, OSAP, bursaries, parttime i ncome or any time of government assistance). Rent for apartments can include uti lities (heater, hydro, water, telephone, cable, and internet) or the utilities c an be added on top of the rent for the month. In, an "inclusive" rent, you can u se as much water and electricity as you want for a flat amount that does not cha nge month to month. Glenn Matthews, Housing Mediation Officer for Fanshawe and U.W.O. students, reas sured students who fear they will not be able to find a place to live. "London h as one of the highest vacancy rates in the province, so there are a lot of house s available in the city. Houses closest to Fanshawe will be more expensive and t he first to go. There is a premium for houses closest to school." Rental rates vary depending on the size and location of the residence. "Most bac helor apartments are $535 inclusive; a one-bedroom is $650 plus utilities; and a two-bedroom apartment is $940 plus utilities. Living in a two-bedroom house wil l be cheaper than living in a one-bedroom apartment because you are sharing the utilities," Matthews added. Should I live with roommates? Living with roommates can be rewarding, but you need to discuss potential proble ms with your roommates before they occur. Set out guidelines: who washes the dis hes each night, who cleans the bathroom each weekend or who will manage the bill s each month. It's also important to discuss other rental aspects like chores, p ersonal property, privacy, etc. Communication and respect are important when you live with people and to prevent fights or court battles over unpaid bills. Matthews has been very involved with helping students solve housing disputes, es pecially issues involving money, guests or personal property. What am I looking for in accomodations? Newspapers like the London Free Press or Metro are good sources for apartment li stings. Websites like kijiji, Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace are great for s tudents looking for roommates. When looking for a place to live, visit the area and think about the buses you w ill take to get to school. If you will have a vehicle, think about how much time are you willing to drive back and forth.

What do I need to know about safety? Lois Wey, Manager of Counselling and Accessibility Services at Fanshawe, said ma ny students need to consider safety and maintenance for their rental unit. When inspecting a potential residence, examine windows and locks, and make sure there are smoke detectors on each floor and outside bedrooms. "There is a bare minimum requirement, by law, to put smoke detectors on every fl oor, outside of bedroom areas," added Matthews. "If you are in a basement apartm ent, there has to be a window big enough to escape from. Not having a window is illegal and unsafe. I wouldn't say there are a lot of fires, but students should be aware." Matthews has educated students to ask the landlord if he or she has a licence. I f he or she does, renters can be certain that the landlord has had a fire inspec tion on the building. What about parties? London has a 24-hour noise bylaw that is enforced to keep neighbourhoods peacefu l. The penalty for breaking these bylaws is a fine ranging from $200 to $5,000, according to Renting in London. "The noise bylaw was changed two years ago. (Fines for the) first offense is $20 0 per tenant. If you have a house with four tenants, the police can charge the h ouse $800. The second offense is $500 per tenant, and again, if there are four t enants it can be upwards of $2,000." For more information, visit The Off-Campus Housing Service in F2010 or www.fansh awec.ca/housing. You can contact the staff at 519-452-4138 or e-mail offcampusho using@fanshawec.ca. Glenn Matthews is available for Fanshawe students every Wedn esday, and can be reached at 519-661-3787. For information about City of London's Fire Prevention department, call 519-6614565. For more information about renting, visit the Landlord and Tenant Board's websit e at www.ltb.gov.on.ca or call 416-645-8080 or 1-800-332-3234.