Things to Consider Before Moving Off-Campus

If you just started or looking to expand you search, make sure to check out Jump Off Campus (the university’s online housing database) on the Commuters section on the Services page in jwuLink.

Living off campus doesn’t just mean paying rent. You’ll need to set up electric, heat, cable and internet service — and that’s just for starters:



Gas, Electric, Water & Sewer

Your one stop for major RI utilities is The Public Utilities Commission

Trash Pickup & Recycling

Your landlord must provide each apartment unit with:

  • One blue bin: For glass, plastic and aluminum

  • One green bin: For magazines and newspapers

Your recycling bins must be put out with your trash in order for your recycling to be picked up. Have questions? Consult:


Parking rules are posted on signs along the streets where you can park. Rules can differ from street to street so be sure to take notice.

Cost per year:

  • Resident permits: $100

  • Guest permits: $25 (can only be used 5 times/month)

Residents in the city of Providence, with proof of residency, can obtain permits at Providence Municipal Court, Providence City Hall or Providence Traffic Engineering Department.


JWU Bus & Parking

Determine Your Budget

Before you start your apartment search, you want to establish a realistic budget that takes into account the following factors:

  • Maximum monthly rent you can afford
  • Ballpark utility costs: gas/water/electric
  • Weekly food costs
  • Parking/transportation expenses
  • Average entertainment expenses

You’ll also want to think about:

  • Do you need a furnished or unfurnished apartment
  • What neighborhoods are closest to campus?
  • Which ones can you reasonably afford?
  • Will you need to pay first, last and security up front?

Renter’s Insurance

Do you know if you’re already insured? Your parents’/guardians’ homeowners policy might include coverage on personal property away from home.

Call your insurance company to verify what would be covered in case of flood, fire, or theft, before you move into your apartment.

Not covered? Check with your primary insurance carrier.

Apartment Search

What’s Wrong (or Right) with the Place? 

There’s a lot to think about when choosing your first apartment. When seeing an apartment for the first (or second) time, you want to thoroughly check locks, appliances, outlets, etc.

Bring these documents with you on every visit:

That way, you’ve got all the info you need when it’s time to make a decision.

Don’t know where to start your search? Search for available housing on Jump Off Campus, the university’s online housing database accessible on the Services page on jwuLink.  If you need assistance or have questions, please contact Off-Campus Student Services at 401-598-4595 or email us at


The more roommates you have, the lower your share of the rent. But maintaining quality of life is equally important. Think realistically about how many people you are willing to live with, then factor that number into your budget.

Find out if you and your potential roommate(s) might be a good match:

Stick to Your Budget

Once you establish a budget, it’s important that you stick with it. Be smart about savings. Rely on employment and/or family support to live within your financial means.



In addition to finding the right apartment, it is equally important to ensure you are living a safe neighborhood.

Do your research using the crime statistics websites provided:

Once you find that perfect apartment, your landlord will probably want you to sign a lease. Before you sign anything, familiarize yourself with your rights as a tenant, as well as how to protect yourself from liability.

Understand Your Rights Before You Sign

A lease is a contract, and the terms of the lease are agreed upon before move-in. The RI Landlord-Tenant Handbook outlines the various types of lease agreements (written vs. month-to-month), as well as the rights and responsibilities of the landlord and tenant as defined by law.

Both parties should realize that a failure to fulfill any or all responsibilities may lead to a liability to the other party. If you are one of a group of tenants occupying the same unit, check the wording of your lease carefully to determine whether or not you alone can be held responsible for the actions of one or more of your roommates.

Apartment Condition and Repairs

Prior to signing a lease, make a careful inspection of the apartment, ideally with the landlord or his agent present. 

The City of Providence has a Building Inspectors Department and a Division of Code Enforcement, which orders corrections of defects and sets a time limit in which defects must be rectified. In general, however, an apartment is being rented “as is” with all existing faults, and the rule of caveat emptor (let the buyer beware) holds true.

Generally, unless there is a written agreement or promise (covenant) obligating the landlord to repair the premises, he or she is not bound to do so. If the landlord does not agree, in writing, to make repairs by a certain date, you might want to reconsider renting the apartment.

When you live off campus as a JWU student, you’re actually part of two communities: JWU, and the neighborhood in which you live. Being a good citizen of both is a major responsibility you undertake when you decide to live off campus. 


Off-Campus Safety


When living on your own, it’s important to be prepared. Here are some tips for staying safe in your apartment and out in the city.


Providence’s noise ordinance states that citizens (your neighbors) have a right to enjoy a reasonable level of peace and quiet, free of unnecessary, excessive or annoying noise.

Reduce noise levels between 8pm-7am (including weekends).

This includes but is not limited to loud gatherings, stereo or TV noise, instruments, machinery, dogs barking, etc. Providence Police enforce this law and will respond to violations and complaints.

Cranston also has a similar policy


As a tenant you are responsible for putting out your trash. The city trash ordinance stipulates that trash cannot be put out before dusk on the day preceding pickup. Violations of the city trash ordinance are punishable by a fine.

Put your trash in covered containers and tie up bundles. Trash bags are not considered trash containers — they can easily tear due to contents or by animals. Be sure to secure your trash so that it doesn’t blow away.