Frequently Asked Questions

What should I do first?

Take time to research the buildings and properties in the area. Some things to consider are distance, security, cost, and amenities. Visit the properties you are interested in and take tours of their buildings. You should also have a budget in mind along with the types of amenities you would like to have in your new home. If you are planning on having a roommate, make sure to talk about the things that are important to you both.

When should I start looking?

As soon as you determine what your future housing needs will be, you can start contacting properties for more information and inquire about availability. If you want to live in a commercial building, you should contact the property manager(s) anywhere between 60 to 120 days before you want to move-in. You should continue to contact the property manager(s) to find out if there is any new information regarding available housing. While most leases are signed during the spring semester for students moving in during the summer months, housing opportunities are available throughout the year.

If you want to rent from a private landlord, you can search the classified ads and/or our online property listings. Landlords generally list properties 10 to 60 days before they are available for rent. New listings on our site come in daily, so check frequently.

Where do I look?

The off-campus database has listings for residential and commercial properties exclusively for the Hopkins Community. Please login with your JHED ID to register and begin your search. Please note: You should visit each property before you sign a lease and/or send any money.

Commercial vs. Residential?

Commercial properties have property managers and maintenance staff to assist you when you have a problem. The management team will have general office hours from Monday through Friday and typically have an emergency number you can call in the evenings and on the weekends. Most buildings offer amenities such as a secured entrance, laundry facilities, and pest control.

A residential property is a privately owned home or apartment. With residential properties, you may be required to fix minor things around the house such as a drafty window or squeaky door. Make sure you talk to your landlord about things such as trash collection, lawn care, and snow removal. If you are responsible, you may be fined by the City for improper lawn maintenance.

What if I am studying abroad?

Our recommendation is to research properties while you are here and develop a list of five properties that you are interested in living in. Ask them how their application process will work while being abroad. Most properties will allow you to send the application and/or deposit via mail or will work with your parent/guardian to secure housing while you are away.

You can also look into short-term leases. If you prefer to rent something for a year, be sure to ask your landlord about subletting. Keep in mind that finding a sublettor is not guaranteed so prepare to maintain your lease while you’re away. We always encourage students to talk to their landlord to possibly negotiate lease terms and/or rent.

Some students will connect with other students that are traveling abroad during the opposite semesters. Should you look into an arrangement such as this, be sure to confirm enrollment in the study abroad program and create a contract that outlines all the specifics about your agreement.

What about security?

Many of the commercial properties in the area offer some level of security such as a secured entrance, surveillance cameras, and/or security guards. Some residential properties many have a security system such as ADT in place but you as the tenant may be responsible for the monthly maintenance fee. As you are searching for housing, be on the lookout for things that may not be safe such as no secured locking mechanisms on first floor windows, or a fire escape that is accessible from the street level. Don’t be afraid to talk to your landlord about adding security improvements to the home/apartment before you move in. Be sure to get all commitments from them in writing or as an addendum to your lease. If the landlord is unwilling to put your agreement in writing, they may be unlikely to follow through.

When is my rent due?

In most cases, rent is due by the 1st of every month during your lease but be sure to confirm your due date with your landlord. Most commercial properties will have a grace period of five days to submit your rent before evictions proceedings are started; however, your landlord has the right to begin the eviction process as soon as your rent due date has passed and the rent has not been paid.

What is a co-signer?

A co-signer is a person that becomes financially responsible to pay the rent should you no longer be able to and/or in the event that the property is damaged. Unless you can prove to the landlord that you meet their income requirements on your own, you will likely need a co-signer. Be aware that not all landlords will accept a co-signer, so be sure to ask.

Can I change my mind after I sign my lease?

No. Once signed, a lease is a legal and binding contract. In most cases the landlord can hold you responsible for the rent due through the remainder of the lease (or until it is rented). Oral contracts are considered legal though they are very hard to prove in a court of law, so make sure you get any and all oral contracts in writing whenever possible.

How does my financial aid factor into my off-campus expenses?

Whether you are living on or off campus, your family’s contribution towards your educational costs should not significantly change, and in some cases, may be reduced. For more information, please read the Financial Aid brochure or reach out to Please do not hesitate to contact the staff in Student Financial Services with any questions or concerns you may have. The Office of Student Financial Services is open Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. They are located in Garland Hall, Room 146 or feel free to call them at 410-516-8028.