Photo of WMU residence hallHousing options

Residence halls—You have 13 halls to choose from, ranging from suites to traditional halls.

On-campus apartments—Furnished and unfurnished 1-4 bedroom apartments are available.

Off-campus apartments—Resources are available to students for off-campus living in Kalamazoo.

Bronco Club
Apartment List
Apartment Guide
Rent College Pads 

 Housing vocabulary

Types of rental units

Note: "Apartment" for on campus would be a different definition (see below for an on-campus definition)

Apartment— One unit of one or more bedrooms in a large big building, in which you might have neighbors above, below, and on each side of your apartment. You may have your own unit or share space with other people.

Efficiency/studio—A very small apartment, usually consisting of one large room with a kitchen and a bed, and a bathroom.

Student housing—Housing that is reserved for enrolled students at the University. This could be an on-campus apartment or a residence hall.

Residence HallA room inside of a large building that has other people living in it. The room could share a bathroom with other occupants, and you could have a roommate that lives in the same room with you. 

Space A location that you sign a contract to occupy for a specific amount of time. 

Words related to renting housing

Bill—Notification that money is due for rent or a service received that usually includes a payment deadline, which will be issued via your student account.

Due date—The date by which a payment must be made. For example, if the due date is Jan. 1, payment must be made on or before Jan. 1.

Contract A legal document signed by the renter as a promise to pay to live in the residence/space for a certain period of time. The contract also includes terms and conditions of living in the residence/space. There are different lengths of time for different contracts, but you will be charged for the entire length of time you are eligible for the contract. If you decide to move out of the space during the contract term, you are still responsible for payment. 

Non-refundable—Payments/deposits will not be returned to you.

Pet fee—A certain amount of money required to have a pet. This money will not be returned to you.

Late Fee An amount of money charged to your student account when payments are not made by the due date.

Utilities—A service that is provided to the public, including water, electricity, and natural gas for heating. Renters may or may not be responsible for these charges, which are usually billed and due monthly.

People — Who is .... ?  Who are ... ?

Maintenance person—Service person who may enter a rental unit to repair or replace broken items.

Resident Manager or Resident Assistant - A person who lives near you, who is responsible for answering your questions and working with you while you live on campus. They will also occasionally enter your space to do safety and security checks.

Neighbor—A person who lives next to or near another person.

Roommates—People who share a space. In the United States, you will often be assigned a roommate if you live in on-campus housing.

Amenities—rental unit features

Air conditioner, window unit—Cooling machine that is usually installed in a window to provide cooling in that area.

Central heat and air conditioning—Mechanical systems designed to change the air temperature and humidity within an apartment, house, building, etc. via an air conditioning unit for cooling or a furnace for heating. The temperature is controlled by a thermostat or register that is usually mounted on the wall.

Closet—A storage area for clothes, linens and other household items, which usually has a door. 

Clubhouse—A building within an apartment or condominium community that is available for all tenants to use for specific activities, such as meetings and studying.

Dishwasher—Unit includes a machine that washes dishes.

Dumpster—A centrally located garbage container where tenants get rid of their household trash.

Fitness center—A place of business with equipment and facilities for exercising and improving physical fitness, such as the WMU Student Recreation Center.

Furnished—Rental unit includes furniture.

Garbage disposal—A kitchen appliance located in the sink drain for disposing of food garbage that is easy to grind.

Laundry options

  • In-home washer and dryer—The rental unit includes a washer and dryer, which you might share with other residents.
  • Laundry room—Building includes a laundry room that is available for all tenants to use, with one or more washers and dryers that may be used for a certain fee.
  • Laundromat—A business open to the public that is equipped with coin-operated, self-service washing machines and dryers.

Microwave, built-in—Microwave oven is available in the unit kitchen.

Pantry—A food storage area typically in or close to the kitchen.

Pet–friendly—Pets are allowed per the terms of the lease agreement.

Playground—Outdoor play area for children.

Unfurnished—Rental unit does not include furniture.

Additional vocabulary that may be used in off-campus housing:

Apartment - One unit of one or more bedrooms in a large big building, in which you might have neighbors above, below, and on each side of your apartment. Renters do not remove snow or care for the yard. 

  • One-bedroom apartment - Four rooms: a kitchen, a living area, a bathroom, and a bedroom.
  • Two-bedroom apartment - Five rooms: a kitchen, a living area, a bathroom, and two bedrooms. 

Condo - A unit of one or more bedrooms that is part of a community of similar units. Condos may be rented or purchased and there might be an association fee to cover the cost of property maintenance.

Duplex - A two-family housing unit with neighbors on one side. Renters usually take of snow removal and the yard.

Townhouse - Similar but usually smaller than a condo. Townhouses may have one or more bedrooms and usually include a first and second floor, with neighbors next to you, not above you. 

Lease - A legal document signed by the renter as a promise to pay to live in the apartment/residence for a certain period of time. most leases are for six or 12 months; if you move before the lease ends you must pay rent until the landlord finds a new person to live in your apartment.

Grace period - A certain number of days beyond the due date that a payment/rent may be made without receiving a late-payment penalty. Not all landlords offer a grace period.

Pet deposit - A certain amount of money required by a landlord if you have a cat or dog that will be living with you, which may or may not be returned, depending on your lease and agreement with the landlord. 

Penalty - A certain amount of extra money that must be paid if the rent payment is made later than the due date per the lease agreement.

Refundable - Payments/deposits made may be returned to you. For example, most security deposits are refundable if the renter does not damage the property while living there. 

Rent - Amount paid every month to landlord or building owner for housing. 

Security Deposit - A certain amount of money that is required to be placed on deposit with the landlord before you enter a rental unit. The amount is often equal to one months of rent and is usually refunded soon after you move out if there is no damage to the unit. 

Landlord - Owner or agent for rental property. 

Property Manager - Oversees maintenance and repair for rental units and is usually the person you speak with to request that something be repaired or replaced. 

Tenant - A person who occupies land or property rented from a landlord.

Balcony - An outdoor sitting area conencted to a rental unit located on floors higher than ground level.

Cable - ready - Rental unit is wired for cable access and ready to be activated. Service is usually activated by the tenant setting up an account with an area cable provider.

Carport - A roofed areas for parking cars, which can be for one or muple cars.

Ceiling fans - These fans are usually mounted in the center of a room's ceiling and have a pull string to start the fan and one to turn on a light if the fan has one.These fans are mainly used for cooling in the summer.

Linen closet - For storing sheets, bedding, and towels. 

Walk-in closet - Extra large closet, usually accessible from a bedroom with a huge amount of storage space.

Clubhouse - A building within an apartment or condominium community that is available for all tenants to use for specific activities, such as parties and meetings. The clubhouse can also include staff offices.

Garage - A small building for parked cars, which may include one or more parking spots.

Patio or porch - A place directly outside of a housing unit, where people can sit and relax outdoors, which may or may not have walls or a fence for privacy.

Satellite-ready - Rental unit is set up to receive TV and Internet access via a satellite dish. Service is usually activated by the tenant setting up an account with an area provider.