Apartment Living BlogApartment Hunting › Student Living: Pros and Cons of Individual-Lease Apartments

If you’re searching for an apartment, especially near a college campus, you might see reference to an “individual lease.” What’s an individual lease? And why would – or wouldn’t – you want one? Read on to learn more and discover pros and cons.

Individual Lease vs. Joint Lease

possible individual lease bedroom
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The bedroom is all yours with an individual lease. Apartment common areas are shared.

Unlike better-known joint leases, individual leases allow two or more people to live in the same apartment but pay separate rents. Each roommate signs an agreement to pay for his or her bed or bedroom and a share of the common areas: the living room, kitchen, dining room and any other shared spaces.

Many individual-lease apartments have private bedrooms, with a private bathroom for each bedroom, and rent “by-the-bedroom.” Some have shared bedrooms and bathrooms and rent “by-the-bed.” Either way, you might see them priced per person.

Advantages of Individual Leases

sample individual lease floorplan
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A sample floor plan for a four-bedroom, four-bathroom individual-lease apartment.

Pay your share – and only your share: With an individual lease, you have no financial responsibility for any other roommate. If a roommate moves out or stops paying rent, you and other roommates will not have to pay his or her rent. You also won’t have to replace the roommate. It will be up to the property manager to fill the room again or not.

What’s your damage? A renter with an individual lease is responsible for damage to his or her bedroom only, not a roommate’s bedroom. If a roommate trashes his bedroom, then moves out, that’s not your problem. Keep in mind, however, that all roommates can be held equally responsible for damage in shared living areas, regardless of who caused the damage.

Disadvantages of Individual Leases

sample individual lease bedroom
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A sample floor plan for a three-bedroom, three-bathroom individual-lease apartment.

Meet your new roommate: The biggest disadvantage of an individual lease is a personal one. If a roommate moves out, the property can rent the empty bedroom to anyone, without the approval of the remaining tenant or tenants. This could be unpleasant if you don’t like the new roommate who’s now sharing your living room. Fortunately, however, many individual-lease apartment communities offer roommate-matching services that consider study habits, partying, pets, smoking, and other lifestyle topics.

The price you pay: An individual lease may cost you slightly more than if you and friends were renting the same space jointly. That’s because the landlord takes on more financial risk if a roommate bails on rent or damage.

Individual-Lease Apartments near Universities

Individual-lease apartments are most common around college campuses because of their flexibility and communal nature. See more individual-lease floorplans in college student apartments on ForRentUniversity.com. Check out real-world examples of individual-lease apartments around the campuses below:

More on ForRentUniversity.com

Learn all about off-campus life in our Apartment Guide for College Students.

Mom and Dad: We’ve got an Apartment Guide for College Parents, too.


About :

Hi! I’m Holly, the marketing assistant at For Rent. I grew up in Virginia Beach and am currently a senior in college. I’m a business marketing major at Ole Miss in Oxford, Mississippi. I love living just a bike ride away from the beach but also can’t get enough of my small town vibe in Oxford. I’m enjoying my college live and look forward to continuing my studies!

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