Booking Information (USA)

First and foremost, congratulations on finding your perfect student home! In order to make the booking process as smooth as possible, we have summarised a few of the key booking questions for you. Please do read them before booking.

One - Property type and features FAQs

1.Student Apartment: Located near to a school or university, these accommodations are purpose built for students only, and run by a management company. They are normally fully furnished, and cover most (if not all) utilities fees. Single or shared rooms are available.

2.Apartment: Managed by the provider themselves, they are normally unfurnished and do not include utilities. Available to both students and those in employment, this property type is normally an entire tenancy.

3.Rental: Managed by individual landlords or management companies, all rental types are available, and furniture, utilities and other conditions can vary based on the landlord or management company.
Key Info Student Apartment Apartment Homestay
Available to Students only Students or employees All
Lease Term Normally one year Normally one year, short-stay available Normally one year
Move in Fixed Move in date Mixed move in dates Mixed move in date
Roommates Single or shared rooms Must rent a full unit Property-specific
Furniture Usually furnished Usually unfurnished Property-specific
Electricity Usually included Partially included Property-specific
Facilities Multiple included facilities Multiple included facilities Property-specific
Bills Usually all inclusive Usually not included Usually all inclusive
Availability Book up to 6 months prior Book 1-2 months before move in Book up to 6 months prior
 

Two - Room Type, lease, floor, direction, roommates etc

You must always confirm the booking information with your consultant when you go to book an apartment or property to rent. Examples of important information to check include: apartment name, room type, lease term, number of rooms etc.

If you have a roommate or floor preference, you must indicate this in the apartment application form. Uhomes will push your preference to the apartment provider and the apartment themselves will try to meet your requirements. However, neither Uhomes or the apartment 100% guarantee you will get your preference. In fact, the apartment retains the right to change your room without consulting you. We cannot help where an apartment decides to do this. (If you arrive and the apartment has changed your room, you can contact us and we can try to help you resolve the situation, but the apartment has the final say on your room).

1.Rooms in America do not necessarily face north, south, east or west. As a result, no apartment will consider a request as to the direction a room faces.

2.An apartment will not release any information on the nationality or race of its residents. Please understand this is a sensitive issue and you cannot require them to share this information.

Please bear in mind that photos on the Uhomes platform are provided by the apartment or rental property themselves (only a small number of photos/videos are taken by Uhomes). Rooms are often nicely decorated, and apartments will organise professional photographers to take beautiful photos of the room. The images are therefore a guide to how the room could look rather than the actual situation of the room.

3.It is not possible to move in early. All apartments in America do not allow early move in. This is because the previous resident has not moved out, and when they do the apartment has a very short turn-around time to clean and make the room ready for your arrival.

4.Non-student apartments do not normally come with furniture. This is the general rule for renting in the US, in fact Americans even have an expression to describe this: clean in and clean out.

5.Utilities in America indicates water, electricity, gas and internet bills. At least some utilities bills will be included in student apartments, but are often not included in other apartments.

6.Student apartments do not indicate the specific room number, it is not possible to indicate the room number when making an application to a student apartment. Renting in an apartment is different, the contract will be specific to a room itself, so the room number is defined but may vary from images or floorplans you have seen before.

7.Images may vary. Room Type images are accurate when they were uploaded, and are only representative of that type of room, not of the specific room you are actually booking.

8.Nearly all contracts are issued online now. A small number of apartments still issue a paper contract which you will need to sign and return, but this is the exception rather than the rule.

9.March to August is the peak season for bookings in America and properties are at a premium. Submitting a booking application does not guarantee you the room. There is nothing Uhomes can do when this happens, but you can refer to our cancellation and refund policy in these instances.

10.Floor plans are often provided during the booking process, but this does not guarantee the exact layout of a building, and a different layout of a room or surrounding area is no basis for cancellation.

Your Uhomes consultant is not a lawyer. They will provide you with help as well as they are able to, drawing on their own overseas study and working experience of the apartment rules. However, they cannot translate the contract terms, or provide you with professional-level advice on the legal ramifications of the contract. Our consultants views do not represent the exact views of the apartment provider. If you do have serious concerns about some terms of a contract, you will need to hire a lawyer to give you professional advice.

Three - Bookings with Service Fees
Property Type Description Service Fee
Uhomes Partners Apartments and Homestays where agreements are in place No Service Fee
Non-partner Consultant assistance and booking 3,480 RMB / person
Non-partner (New York/Boston) Consultant assistance and booking One month’s rent
Student Dormitory Application Consultant assistance and booking 2,980 RMB / person
(1) Complete the Personalized Service application form and pay the Service Fee

Try to be as accurate as possible with the information you provide as the consultant will use the information on the application form to help you find somewhere that meets your requirements. We can only meet your requirements where such a request is available within the local property market.

(2) Liaise with your consultant

Your consultant will recommend ideal properties to you based on the requirements you have given, they will be in contact with you as the process continues

(3) Choose your ideal home

Start the booking process, pay the deposit and sign the contract, pay the rent and get ready to move in!

Note: booking procedure may vary between properties
  1. Select Apartment Process 
Provide requirements – Properties proposed – confirm availability – confirm application info – submit application – continue application with the relevant apartment – push the apartment for a quick turn-around time – Sign the contract

Note: In order to quickly organise and confirm your booking, Uhomes may press you to pay fees and deposits. Please do not take offence, we are just trying to make sure you get your room!
  1. Other Apartment Process 
Provide requirements – Properties proposed – confirm landlord ID, property availability and condition – Sign the contract and pay the deposit
  1. Refund Information
Service Fees will be refunded under the following circumstances only:
  • 3.1 Uhomes was unable to recommend suitable properties within the specified time frame
  • 3.2 The recommendations fall well short of the requirements laid out by the user
  • 3.3 For Homestays only, where Uhomes was not able to recommend more than one property
  • 3.4 In the course of booking, the selected property became unavailable
Service fees are not refundable where:
  • You have requested and been given the contact details of the landlord
  • The booking has been successfully completed
  • Where a delay in signing the contract causes the lease to be canceled
 

Four – Booking Information

Booking Process:

Step One – Complete the application form and submit with supporting documents

Step Two – Pay the apartment application fee (if applicable) and other related fees

Step Three – Your Uhomes consultant will help you with your application

Step Four – Pay the deposit

Step Five – Sign the contract

Apartment applications in the USA:

The application process is famously slow in America. The rules are strict and must be followed. Your consultant will help you expedite your application but you must bear in mind the correct procedure and time frames.

The situation moves quickly. As soon as rooms are available, apartments will receive a lot of applications, it is important to react quickly if your application situation changes (e.g.: the apartment wants to offer you a room that is slightly different from the original room applied for)

Time difference. Most American apartments work from 09:00 – 17:00 local time. Remember that local time could be Eastern or Western time, so make sure you check the time difference between your location and the specific location of your school. 

Apartment Fees (USA):

The below is a summary of the types of fees seen at US apartments. Please bear in mind that fees are different between different apartments.

Application Fee – Payable directly to the apartment in order for them to process your application. Payment can normally be made online, with Visa or Mastercard.

Note: This fee is non-refundable regardless of whether your application is successful or not. The fee is generally between $30-80.

Holding Fee/Deposit – Some apartments require a fee in order to reserve the room.

Note: This fee is normally around $500. It is non-refundable but is usually deducted from your rent when you move in.

Security Deposit – Where the applicant does not have a social security number, this fee is normally 1-3 months’ rent. This fee is generally payable online.

Note: If there is no damage or loss to the room, this fee is returnable upon move out.

Pet Deposit – Only some apartments allow pets, and they will require you to pay an additional fee to keep a pet in the apartment.

Administrative Fee – Some apartments require this one-time, non-refundable fee to complete the administration of application and move in.

Amenity Fee – Fee to cover water, electricity, and Wi-Fi use.

First month’s rent – Usually required to complete the booking

Last month’s rent – Sometimes required to complete the booking

Five - Move in Information (Student Apartment)

One – After signing the contract

After paying the deposit and signing the contract, there is nearly always more admin to complete, for example purchasing insurance, gas and electricity cards. Uhomes is able to help you with admin depending on your service fee structure. 

Renter Insurance

Insurance is a requirement of staying in a student apartment in America. It is normally linked to the physical address within your contract. Personal insurance may require you to pay from a local bank account.

If you are unable to find a good insurance company, we recommend Assurant Renters Insurance where the fee is about $12 (https://www.assurantrenters.com).

Insurance Information

Simply put, this insurance is designed to cover you for loss or damage of your property within your home. This includes items such as jewellery, electronic goods and other valuables. Insurance may also cover you against personal injury or claims against you, it may also cover damage to the room itself. Generally speaking, apartments will require you to have insurance, and they may even specify the amount covered.

Gas & Electricity

Whilst gas and electricity are included within student apartment rent, they are often not included in other apartments. You will need to open an account to receive gas and electricity. Uhomes offers a paid service to help you buy insurance and to open accounts for your gas and electricity if you require assistance.

Rent payments

Please read your contract carefully and familiarise yourself with the due dates of rent payments. Make sure to pay your rent within the prescribed time frame, an apartment may charge you late fees for late payment, or may even cancel your contract!

There are three means of making payments: through the Uhomes app, online, and offline:

1 – Paying through the Uhomes app

Avoid having to go to the bank by making payment through the Uhomes app from the comfort of your sofa. We have worked hard to get you the best rates and lowest fees around.

Open the app and select “Pay Rent”

2 – Online payments

Payments can be made using your normal online banking through your local bank account. Make sure to check the fees with your bank before payment

3 – Offline payments

Payments can be made by check, cashier’s check, or money order
  • Two – Move in procedure
  1. In order to move in you will require: your passport and a copy of your i-20; a copy of your contract; proof of renter insurance; and your gas & electricity card.
  2. Try to move in between 09:00 – 17:00 on Monday to Friday as these are the office times of the apartment so someone will definitely be there to assist you. If you arrive after this time, you may need to book a hotel for that night before moving in the next day.
  3. Check you have the physical address and the telephone number of the apartment before you leave.
Note: Apartments nearly always use email to correspond with students. Make sure the apartment has your correct email, and make sure to check your mailbox regularly to avoid missing any important information.
  1. You will receive an inventory list when you arrive, check the items in the room and their condition against the list before signing and returning it. Please check this carefully and take photos of any damage, this list will be used when it comes round to collecting your security deposit back!
  • Three – Move out
  1. You can request a room inspection up to 90 days before you move out. When it comes time to move out, the apartment will request you to remove all your personal items and return the apartment items to their original position. The inspection will determine the return of your deposit. If successful, your deposit will be returned to you as a check, it may take up to one month for the apartment to process this.
  2. Accidents and Emergencies. You may encounter accidents or emergencies within your time in a student apartment. For example, burst water pipes. In such instances, contact the apartment office as soon as possible. Every apartment will have an office that should deal with these kinds of incidents.

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