All About HOUSING!
Housing in the United States varies from job to job; your employer may have arranged housing for you or you may have found housing on your own. Housing may be dormitory style, apartment style, houses, or even motel rooms. Below, please find some housing standards you should use when arranging housing while you are in the United States.
Important Reminder: You MUST advise GeoVisions immediately of any change in your residence address. Failure to do so in a severe violation of GeoVisions and State Department Program Rules.
- Each student should have his / her own bed, unless sharing is specifically agreed upon in advance and documented as such, by each of the students. Bed sharing or rotation is not allowed.
- Upon arrival, accommodations should be free of debris and belongings of former occupants. We suggest that students take photos of housing when they move in.
- Students are responsible for maintaining the cleanliness of their accommodations.
- Bedrooms and bathrooms should have a door that can be shut and locked. Students must be given keys to their accommodations.
- Students may share an apartment with persons of the opposite gender. If your employer provides housing, students of opposite gender should not share bedrooms.
- Entrances and exits should be lit and secure.
- There should be fully functioning toilets, sinks and showers in the living facility.
- Occupancy levels should meet city government codes.
- In consideration of your safety and security, you should exercise caution when inviting others into your accommodation. Check with your employer regarding additional rules and curfews that may exist.
- Never allow anyone to enter your housing if you do not know them well. Always identify anyone before opening a door to your housing.
- Students are responsible for their own deposits, housing fees and transportation.
- Students are responsible for any phone charges and should not use employer’s or housing phones without using a phone card or previous approval.
- Smoking and drinking at your accommodations should only occur with individuals of legal age and not in violation of employer or housing manager or landlord rules.
If your employer provided housing, and you feel that these standards are not being met, we encourage you first to speak with your employer, landlord or housing supervisor. If this person or persons is unable or unwilling to assist you, please contact GeoVisions for assistance.
Deposits and Leases
When you move into your housing, you may be asked to pay a housing deposit. Housing deposits are generally due upon arrival, and your landlord may request you to pay this deposit in cash.
Deposits can sometimes seem like a large amount as they may include first or last month’s rent, and almost always include a “safety deposit”. A safety deposit is a sum of money that your landlord will hold onto and use at the end of your stay to pay for any property damages or cleaning fees that you may be responsible for. The deposit may or may not be refundable. When you pay your deposit, it is important to understand exactly what you are paying for. Ask your landlord to provide you with written documentation about what your deposit covers, whether or not it is refundable, and what the conditions are to get a refund. Also, ask them when your refund will be issued as landlords all have varying policies on this.
Finally, because you may be held responsible for cleaning fees and property damages, be sure to document your apartment by taking photos on the day you move in. Also, make sure you understand your landlord’s rules and regulations.
You may also be asked to sign a lease. A lease is a formal contract between you and your landlord.
In general, it will outline the rules of the apartment, the length of time you are renting the apartment, the rent fee and payment schedule, and the deposit. Some leases are more detailed than others. Before signing a lease, it is very important that you read it over carefully.
Find out what will happen if you want to move out of the apartment earlier than planned, as many landlords may still require you to pay rent for the length you originally agreed to stay, whether you are living in the apartment or not. If you do not understand something on your lease, it is important that you ask questions before signing it.
GeoVisions can help answer your questions, so do not hesitate to reach out to us. Most importantly, please SAVE COPIES of any documents you sign. This can help you if questions come up in the future.