Housing & Leases

Off-campus housing in Bloomington

Bloomington is a college town with many different types of rental properties. Whether you choose to live in a downtown studio apartment or a bungalow with four roommates, you should make it a priority to understand your rights and responsibilities as a renter.

Schedule an appointment with Student Legal Services for help understanding your lease, resolving disputes with your landlord, or any other tenant issues. We have experience with local landlords and the leases they use. This service is free to IU Bloomington students and can save you money, headaches, and frustration.

What is a lease?

A lease is an agreement made between a tenant and a landlord. One of the most important things to remember about leases is that they are binding contracts. Once you sign a lease, you are bound to it with very few exceptions. Even if you change your mind, the landlord can still collect on rent that you have agreed to pay.

Understand your lease
two young women in a room. One is opening a blue suitcase, the other is opening a box.

Choosing roommates

A roommate should be someone you trust. In most leases, each tenant is responsible for everything in the lease. If one tenant doesn’t pay rent on time, the others are still responsible to pay the full rent. If one of your roommates punches a hole in the wall, the landlord could charge you for the damages. The landlord can go after everyone, or just the ones who are most likely to pay.

a tall red clock on the IU campus on a snowy day

Bloomington winters

It may be warm for fall in Indiana, but it WILL get colder. If you don’t leave the heat on (and take some additional steps) when you leave for the break, you may end up with frozen water in your pipes, which can cause massive and expensive damage to your off-campus rental.

Follow these tips for winterizing your off-campus rental while you are away for the semester break:

  • Leave your heat on and set it to at least 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Your lease terms, or separate instructions from the landlord may provide more specifics on how to leave your rental when you leave for the break.
  • Make sure your windows and doors are closed and properly sealed.
  • Leave cabinet doors open to allow the heat to reach the pipes.
  • Leave a small stream of water running in your faucets while you’re away.
  • If you have a friend in Bloomington over the break, have them check in on your rental while you’re away to make sure the heat is still on.
  • Notify the landlord that you will be away, and again, make sure you follow instructions for winterizing your rental.

Note: If your pipes freeze and burst while you’re away, and you have failed to winterize, you may be responsible for paying to fix the damages.