Living off Campus

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Off-campus Housing

While the University provides housing for as many students as possible, a majority of upper division, graduate and non-traditional students make arrangements for their own housing in the surrounding Cape Girardeau community. Students must verify with the Office of Residence Life that they are eligible for a 'Housing Release' from the Residency Requirement.


If you are not required to live on campus, you can rent an apartment or house nearby. There are many places located within walking distance of campus, but there are important things for you to know about living off campus:

  • Like living on campus, when you live off campus, you need to sign a contract and submit a deposit, but beware of scams!

    • Do not give your banking information or credit card number to anyone posting rental options online or on social media -- we highly recommend waiting until you arrive to look for a place to rent because:

      • you can see what the apartment really looks like (photos can be deceiving!)
      • you can get a feel for the neighborhood and know how far it is from the University
      • you can meet the landlord and ask questions about the contract
      • you can pay the deposit in a secure way once you sign the contract in person
      • Staff and International Student Orientation Ambassadors will be available to help you secure off-campus housing during the recommended arrival dates listed on your acceptance letter

    • Refer to Cape Girardeau's Chamber of Commerce Rental Guide for a list of valid rental properties. During recommended arrival dates, Orientation Ambassadors provide new international students with an up-to-date list of rental properties and help contact landlords to schedule viewings.

  • Most leases are 12 months long. Keep that in mind when planning your breaks. A 6-month lease might incur a short term increase fee, so check with your landlord.

  • The standard procedure is for the tenant to pay a security deposit, usually equal to the amount of rent, plus the first month’s rent. For instance, if your monthly rent is $500, you will be expected to pay the $500 security deposit + $500 your first month’s rent before you move in. If your landlord asks you to pay for more than one month on top of the security deposit, that is probably a red flag. Your security deposit is refundable once you move out, granted you do not damage the property and honor the contract.

  • If you are a smoker or plan to have a pet, check with your landlord about what their policies are before you sign the contract. Failure to comply might result in termination of your lease, fine and/or forfeit your security deposit.

  • Most places are unfurnished, and you may need to buy furniture and appliances as well as secure utilities, including gas, electricity, internet, etc. Keep these extra expenses in mind when you are searching for places to rent and calculating your monthly budget.

    • Most properties offer you common household appliances, such as stoves, refrigerators/freezers, dishwashers, etc. Although some properties do have washer and dryer, that is uncommon. Therefore, you might need to use a laundromat for your laundry needs. Check your contract to see what appliances you can expect to have and which ones you might have to buy.

    • You might have to set up utilities on your own. Water, electricity, and internet/Wi-Fi are typically not included in the rent. You can get started by either calling, visiting their website and/or making an in-person visit to their office:

               Electric: Ameren – Ameren.com

               Water/Sewer/Trash – cityofcapegirardeau.org

               Internet/Wi-Fi:  Charter* – spectrum.net

       *This is the fastest, most widely available company in Cape Girardeau.

Refer to Missouri's Landlord - Tenant Law Handbook to know the rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants.

Contact

573.986.6863
international@semo.edu
International Center – Located at:
939 College Hill
Cape Girardeau, MO

International Education and Services
One University Plaza, MS2000
Cape Girardeau, Missouri 63701
Staff Directory
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