1011 Student Activities Building
515 E. Jefferson Street
Phone: (734) 763-3164
Fax: (734) 764-6806
The Housing Information Office is the primary source of information about all facets of student housing in Ann Arbor, including both on-campus and off-campus housing. There are three main types of graduate student housing at Michigan: University-owned and operated family housing apartments (called on-campus housing); small group housing such as student-owned cooperatives; and off-campus housing, such as privately owned and operated houses and apartments (off-campus does not necessarily refer to the location, but merely that it is not operated by the University). The Housing Information Office can provide you with information regarding all of these housing options.
Because inexpensive housing in Ann Arbor is hard to find, the demand for University family housing runs high. The University maintains the Northwood Community Apartments which consist of 1,089 family and single graduate housing units. For more information contact the Housing Information Office.
Off-campus housing units are facilities not operated by the University. There are basically three types of off-campus housing to consider: furnished apartments and houses generally within walking distance of campus, unfurnished apartments in complexes further away from campus, and small-group housing such as cooperatives.
Quality and type of rental management varies considerably in Ann Arbor. Be a knowledgeable tenant and look out for your own interests. See the following section, Know Your Rights.
There are many unfurnished housing units within about five miles of Central Campus, including several fairly modern and large apartment complexes. The Housing Information Office provides an excellent map of greater Ann Arbor. It lists apartment complexes, their addresses and phone numbers, plus some other useful information. The office also provides an Off-Campus Housing Guide with information ranging from how to find housing to summer subletting and landlord-tenant rights and duties.
Cooperatives (co-ops) are housing units run by the people who live in them. In exchange for four to six hours of work per week, co-op members save a considerable amount of money they might otherwise spend in another living situation. Charges generally include room, board, utilities, entertainment, and laundry. Contact the Inter-Cooperative Council, (734) 662-4414, for more information.
Before you start to look for off-campus housing, begin with the Housing Information Office website. Also check the Michigan Daily and annarbor.com; visit management companies and realtors; and look for flyers posted around campus. The Housing Information Office can also provide you with information about local landlords and management companies registered with their office. In order to register, landlords agree to use the University’s Conflict Resolution Services in cases of landlord-tenant disputes, and they are entitled to use the University-approved rental agreements. This office also has a Roommate Matching Service on its website and provides roommate agreement contracts and sublease contracts.
Renting anywhere demands a certain knowledge of landlord-tenant law. If you know your rights and responsibilities, you may avoid unnecessary problems and expenses. In particular, you should know what you are getting into before making commitments. Fortunately, in Ann Arbor there are several good sources of off-campus housing information and advisory assistance available to U-M students. These include:
The Housing Information Office, located in Room 1011 in the Student Activities Building (515 E. Jefferson Street), (734) 763-3164, has lots of helpful written material as well as experienced housing advisors who will help you interpret leases, discuss how to avoid or solve problems, and provide you with specific information about your rights and duties. The office’s unique Conflict Resolution Service offers a free, usually effective, out-of-court method for resolving co-tenant and landlord-tenant disputes.
Student Legal Services (SLS), located at 715 N. University, Suite 202, (734) 763-9920, provides legal assistance to enrolled U-M students. SLS is funded by student fees collected each term. About half of the caseload at SLS involves landlord-tenant law, making the office’s lawyers and assistants knowledgeable, experienced sources of legal help. Please call for an appointment.
Don’t use your landlord as your legal consultant. If you are having a housing problem, take advantage of some of the expert advice available from the offices listed previously.
Make sure you receive and read a copy of the booklet Rights and Duties of Tenants when you sign your lease. Also, make sure you get an inventory/damage checklist immediately upon moving in. Fill it out carefully to avoid being charged for damage you did not cause. Your landlord is required by law to give you the booklet and checklist when you move in. Additional copies are available at the Housing Information Office.
Before you move in, arrange to have your utility services turned on. One person should call each utility to arrange the details. In most apartment buildings, the gas or electric service is not turned off. Notify DTE Energy of your move-in date, and they will bill you accordingly. You will also need to arrange for phone service through one of the providers listed below if you are interested in having a land line. If there is already a phone in the apartment, you are advised to have the phone changed to a new number and account in your own name.
The major utilities and their servicers are:
- DTE Energy, (800) 477-4747
- DTE Energy, (800) 477-4747
- AT&T, (800) 288-2020
- City of Ann Arbor Water Utilities Department, (734) 994-2666
When you are ready to move out, take some precautions to avoid problems and save money. Notify your landlord of in advance when you plan to move and find out what to do with your keys. Arrange for the landlord to walk through your apartment with you before you leave, giving you the opportunity to correct any problems if there is a possibility of deductions from your security deposit. The landlord takes an inventory of the condition of your apartment and compares it to the inventory you submitted when you moved in. (That’s why it’s so important to fill it out when you move in.)
Be sure you know your rights and responsibilities regarding your security deposit. Read the city’s Rights and Duties of Tenants for detailed information. You must give your landlord, within four days of moving out, your forwarding address in writing. If you do not, the landlord is not obligated to give you a list of charges against your security deposit. When you move out, the landlord must mail, within 30 days, an itemized list of deductions from your security deposit along with a check for the remainder of your security deposit. If you do not agree with the damages claimed, you must notify the landlord, by mail, within seven days from receipt of the letter.
The landlord can legally deduct money from your security deposit only for actual damages that were a direct result of conduct not reasonably expected in the normal wear and tear of the apartment. Also, money can be deducted for unpaid utility bills and any unpaid rent.