More and more people from elsewhere in the US and beyond are deciding to put down roots in Ohio's lovely, lively capital. Columbus boasts a vast range of accommodation options to suit just about every taste and budget and, though rising, rental costs in the city are still well below the US average. Most newcomers rent rather than buy, at least initially, as this gives them time to get to know the local areas and suburbs before committing to a long-term solution.
Types of accommodation in Columbus
There are a variety of housing options in Columbus to suit everyone from young singles to large families. Here are a few of the types of housing expats will be able to choose from in Columbus.
The most common type of accommodation in Columbus is standalone homes. These are most commonly found in the suburbs and are generally spacious with a front and back yard, making them perfect for families.
Though apartments are mostly concentrated in the city centre, they can be found throughout Columbus. Some apartments are housed in purpose-built buildings, while others are part of a larger house split into smaller units.
Rowhouses are multi-storey homes that share one or more walls with houses on either side of them, forming a line. These are prevalent in historical areas throughout Columbus, such as Italian Village, German Village, Olde Town East and University District.
Some use the term "townhouse" interchangeably with "rowhouse". The term "townhouse" generally implies a more spacious abode, perhaps connected with only one other house. This applies loosely in listings, so expats who specifically want the space of a townhouse should be aware that an ad for a supposed townhouse might, in fact, be for a rowhouse.
Residential complexes usually house a variety of different accommodation types at various sizes. Tenants living in these complexes typically have access to a host of on-site facilities such as pools, fitness centres, clubhouses and media centres.
Finding accommodation in Columbus
The most common way of finding a place to rent in Columbus is to make use of one of the many popular online property portals. It's a good idea to start browsing ahead of the move to get an idea of the various options and general price ranges. We'd advise that prospective residents never agree to rent a property without seeing it in person first.
Those newcomers who prefer not to do too much of the legwork themselves can consider making use of a real-estate agent. There are a lot of advantages to doing so, including the benefit of a local agent's knowledge of Columbus's residential market and the pros and cons of various areas.
Renting accommodation in Columbus
Making an application
Once a suitable home is found, the next step is making a rental application. Applicants will usually have to undergo a credit check and provide proof of income to show that they're in good financial standing and able to afford the cost of rent. References from previous landlords are often also required.
Expats with no rental or credit history in the US may be able to bypass these requirements by having their employer act as a guarantor instead.
Most leases are for 12 months by default, but some landlords are fairly flexible on this, offering either shorter or longer options depending on the needs of the tenant.
Before moving in, tenants will be asked to pay a deposit, usually equivalent to one or two months' rent. At the end of the lease, the landlord can make reasonable deductions for past rent due, cleaning costs and any damage to the property beyond normal wear and tear. The remainder of the deposit must then be returned to the tenant within 30 days.
Tenants usually bear the cost of home utilities such as water, electricity, gas, sewerage and trash removal. Quoted rental prices usually exclude utilities so we recommend house-hunters make enquiries about this early on.
Tenants who want to bring their furry friends along will often be able to do so within certain limitations. Most residential complexes allow pets but place restrictions on the size and number of pets. A monthly "pet rent" is added to their own rental costs, and tenants will often have to pay a pet deposit and non-refundable pet fee upfront.
► For more details on the various neighbourhoods of Columbus, check out our Areas and Suburbs of Columbus page
Are you an expat living in Columbus?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Columbus. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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