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5 Benefits of Signing an Individual Lease in Columbus

By Bella

Finding housing can be a challenge, especially for students at Ohio State in Columbus, OH. With all the factors to consider, it can be tricky to determine the most suitable space. With options ranging from traditional apartments to houses on North, South and Central Campus, there’s certainly no shortage of housing choices.

At Rambler Columbus, our leasing team has assisted numerous students in securing housing near Ohio State. We recognize that the many housing options can be overwhelming at times.

Questions often arise about purpose-built student housing, particularly regarding individual leases. That is why we want to explain the difference between individual and traditional leases, highlighting the advantages of opting for an individual lease at a student housing apartment.

Read Next: 15 Questions to Ask When Touring a Student Apartment in Columbus, Ohio

3 students cheering in front of The Shoe In this article, we answer our most-asked questions, including:

What is an Individual Lease?

Before explaining all the advantages of opting for an individual lease, let’s establish its definition. An individual lease is a rental arrangement where multiple occupants within the same unit are individually responsible for their designated room or bed, along with shared communal spaces. Each tenant submits rent payments directly to their landlord, streamlining the process of rent payment.

For instance, in a 5×5 layout (five bedrooms, five bathrooms) shared among five roommates, each individual signs a lease for their specific bedroom, bathroom, and access to common areas. Each roommate manages their rent independently, and are solely responsible for their payment.

In a five-bedroom apartment, this means five individual leases, with rent quoted on a per-bedroom basis. While individual leases can sometimes be found in traditional apartments, they are standard in newly constructed student housing complexes and are highly common in the Columbus student housing market.

What is a Traditional Lease?

A traditional lease, also referred to as a joint lease, operates with a slightly different approach. It’s likely what comes to mind when you think about renting an apartment.

In this arrangement, the landlord leases the entire apartment rather than individual rooms. All occupants, including you and your roommates, collectively sign one lease instead of separate individual leases. This setup is also recognized as a “by the apartment” lease.

Under this joint lease, every roommate holds responsibility for the entirety of the apartment, encompassing rent, utilities, and any damages. You and your roommates mutually agree on paying rent and utilities each month. A single lease is signed, and the rent is quoted for the entire apartment.

Traditional leases are customary for traditional homes and for “pass-down” houses off-campus typically acquired through Greek Life connections. These pass-downs occur when graduating upperclassmen in a sorority or fraternity transfer their housing to younger members within their respective organizations.

Read Next: Student vs. Traditional Apartments at OSU: Which is Right for Me?

What Are the Benefits of Signing an Individual Lease Near OSU?

Three girls walking together off-campus near OSU

1. You are Only Responsible for Your Portion

By choosing an individual lease, you aren’t financially responsible for your roommates or any damages they might cause to their assigned bedroom or bathroom.

If a roommate neglects to pay their rent, you and the other roommates won’t be held accountable for their portion. Should a roommate decide to vacate the premises, it isn’t your duty to fill the empty space or be liable for their rent or utilities.

In contrast, with a traditional apartment, you’d need to find a replacement roommate for the departing individual or cover their outstanding rent yourself.

2. No Need to Negotiate Rent

Under a traditional lease, roommates must collectively decide on rent distribution, room assignments, the classification of rooms as private or shared spaces, and more.

However, with an individual lease, your rent is fixed by the leasing office. There’s no negotiation about room sizes or debates over how much more someone with an ensuite bathroom should pay—these rates are predetermined by the property management company. When you sign the lease, you agree to your individual payment as per the set terms in your individual lease.

three OSU students sitting on camous near the Ohio sign

3. Simple Payments

Under a traditional lease, determining payment methods and dividing rent among roommates is necessary each month. Usually, one individual is tasked with collecting payments from each roommate and forwarding them to the landlord, utilities provider, and cable company.

However, with an individual lease, there’s no need for such coordination among roommates. Most apartment complexes facilitate rent payments with an online portal, offering simplicity and convenience. It’s often possible to set up automatic payments as well.

This eliminates the need to designate a specific roommate for rent collection and monthly payments to the landlord, streamlining the process for everyone involved.

4. More is Covered in Your Rental Rate

Individual leases in student housing often encompass amenities that are commonly viewed as extra expenses, such as Wi-Fi, cable, waste disposal, and sometimes utilities. Newly constructed student housing apartments commonly offer study spaces, fully furnished units, and roommate-matching services.

In contrast, traditional leases usually require tenants to independently organize and split the expenses for these services among roommates. Opting for an individual lease might appeal to you if you don’t want to worry about arranging cable, Wi-Fi, or trash removal independently – it’s already covered.

5. No Responsibility for Damages to Other Bedrooms

In an individual lease, you’re solely accountable for your predetermined rent assigned by the leasing office. Should a roommate damage property, like breaking a window or busting a hole in the wall, they’re responsible for those costs. You’re spared from covering expenses for damages you didn’t cause.

In contrast, a traditional lease holds all tenants that signed equally accountable for any apartment damages, despite individual actions.

Representative rendering of bedrooms at Rambler Columbus.

In general, while traditional leases are prevalent in traditional Columbus apartments and houses, opting for an individual lease as a student has numerous advantages. Though individual leases can be slightly pricier than traditional ones, they provide a variety of benefits including ease and reduced financial risk.


Typically, new construction student apartments offer individual leases. Read 5 Benefits of Living in a New Student Apartment in Columbus Near Ohio State to learn about the benefits of living in a new construction near Ohio State.

For any inquiries regarding individual leases or to discover more about Rambler Columbus, reach out to our leasing team. They’re eager to assist with any questions during your search for student housing.


Bella is the Leasing & Marketing Team Leader at Rambler Columbus. She graduated from Northern Kentucky University. She is a lover of concerts and iced matcha lattes from Daydreamer!

March 21, 2024


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