apartment building at sunset

Housing 101: Tips on Renting

When looking for housing, you may be asked for financial information. Since you will have no financial history in the United States, you should bring a current bank statement and a letter from your sponsor, showing funds that cover about three months of rent. SISS can verify your status and financial documents with a potential landlord if they call or fax a request for the information, but only if you email us permission to do so ahead of time, in writing

A lease is a binding legal contract between you and a landlord stating the duration of residence, rent rate, amount of refundable security deposit, and apartment rules. When you find the apartment of your choice, make sure you read the rental or lease agreement before you sign the papers. All rental agreements or leases should be in writing. Read it thoroughly and make sure you understand it completely. If there is any language you do not understand, ask a reliable person to explain it to you. If your landlord does not give you a copy, it is important to request one; your agreement is the only evidence of your legal rights and responsibilities.

At a minimum, a lease or rental agreement should include the following:

  • Monthly Rent Due
  • Required damage deposit
  • Length of occupancy if a lease, or state month-to-month rental
  • Apartment or house rules
  • Termination requirements
  • Information on what will happen if you leave the property before the lease is up
Check out this helpful checklist of items to review when considering your apartment options and learn more about renter's rights on the City of Davis Tenant Resources page.

Housing and Tenant's Rights and Responsibilities 

As a renter, you have certain rights and responsibilities, starting with the rental agreement (a binding legal agreement between the landlord and renter) and the terms of your Rental Lease.

Renter's insurance usually covers damage to the items in your apartment, not the structure.  There are many companies that offer renter's insurance. One option available to anyone affiliated with the university is available through the Office of Student Housing.

City of Davis Fair Housing Services offers a Guide to Common Landlord/Tenant Legal Questions.