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Find a Place to Live

It is important to search for housing before you arrive in East Lansing. If you would like to look at apartment or housing options after you arrive, you will need to reserve a hotel room for a few days. You should reserve your hotel room before you arrive in East Lansing so that you know you have a place to stay right away. 


Hotels in East Lansing

The MSU Travel Office website has a list of hotels in the area, including distance from campus, and cost. 

OISS has created a map of hotels that are close to campus, Hotels in the East Lansing Area (PDF).

On-Campus Housing

Students

All freshman students must live on campus during their first year at MSU

Students admitted to MSU are eligible to live in university residence halls or university apartments.

Learn more about housing for students

Faculty, Staff, and Scholars

Michigan State University’s guest housing options are conveniently located on campus and designed to support both short- and long-term housing needs for faculty, staff and visiting scholars as well as their families.

Learn more about MSU On-Campus Guest Housing

Off-Campus Housing

Students

All freshman students must live on campus during their first year at MSU.

Students admitted to MSU are eligible to live in university residence halls or university apartments.

Learn more about housing for students

Faculty and Staff

If you wish to live off-campus, it is important to search for housing before you arrive in East Lansing so that you know what is available and what the cost for renting an apartment or house or buying a home will be. Many rental agencies and apartment complexes will be able to answer your questions by email before you arrive. You may want to ask your supervisor or department at MSU for suggestions on where to live. Your supervisor or department may also be able to arrange to drive you around town to view housing options before you sign a lease agreement.

For help finding housing in East Lansing: 

MSU WorkLife Office Housing

MSU Off-Campus Housing

Learn more about living in East Lansing:

MSU-East Lansing Community Relations Coalition

City of East Lansing Community

Lease Agreements

Lease agreements in the U.S. tend to be for one year and have financial penalties for moving out early ("breaking the lease"). Be sure to read the rental agreement carefully before signing so that you understand what costs you will be responsible in addition to the monthly rental fees, as well. If you have any questions about the lease agreement and talk to the rental agency or apartment complex to get your questions answered before you sign the agreement. Most rental agencies and apartment complexes will require that you pay 1-2 months rent in advance as a deposit when you sign the lease. When you move out after your lease ends, the rental agency or apartment complex may use some or all of the deposit to clean and repair the apartment or house after you move out. 

Learn more about lease agreements

Moving In

When you move into your rental apartment or house, be sure to take pictures and notes to have a record of any damage or stains you observe to the floors/carpet, walls, heating/air conditioner, appliances, doors, light fixtures, bathroom tub/sink/toilet, cabinets and counter tops. This way, when you move out, you have a better chance of getting most of your deposit back if the rental agency or apartment complex attempts to charge you for damage or cleaning that was not caused by you, your roommates, guests, or family members. 

Learn more about moving in

Utilities: Gas, Electric, Cable, Internet

Some apartments and rental homes include utilities like gas, electric, water, trash collection, cable and internet in the lease. Others will require you to set up your own utilities and pay the utility companies directly. Read your lease carefully so that you understand what you will have to pay for in addition to your rent. 

You can ask your rental agency for information what companies are popular with other residents. 

Utility Companies

Learn more about utility companies on the MSU-East Lansing Community Relations Coalition website.

Learn more about the City of East Lansing Water and Sewer Services and Fees

Internet, Cable T.V., and Home Phone/Landline Phone

Many companies offer internet, cable T.V. and home phone/landlines in "packages" or "bundles." While it can be cheaper to purchase all three in a package or bundle, you can also choose to have service from separate companies for each service. Read about each package carefully before deciding. Companies will usually want you to sign a contract for one or two years of service. It can be difficult to get out of a contract after signing up. Companies may offer promotion prices and free set-up and equipment for new customers. However, these promotional prices often only last for a few months. Read the promotion carefully so that you know how much you will be charged after the promotional period is over. Most companies will bill you on a monthly basis. 

You can also ask about non-contract, month-to-month pricing if you do not want to be stuck with the same company for a year or two. This might be more expensive, however.

If you sign up for service with one company and then find something cheaper with another company, you may be able to lower your bill with your current company by calling them to tell them about the cheaper price with the other company. 

Search and compare internet companies on the High Speed Internet website

Search and compare cable T.V. companies on the Cable T.V. website

Lawn Maintenance and Snow Removal

Apartments

Usually, if you live in an apartment building, you will not be responsible for lawn maintenance, like mowing the grass and gardening, or snow removal. Check with your lease agreement and rental agency if you have questions about your responsibilities.

Houses

Usually, if you rent a house, you will be responsible for lawn maintenance, like mowing and gardening, and snow removal. You may not be provided with a lawn mower, snow blower, shovels, or other equipment. If these items are not provided for you to use, you will have to purchase them. Stores like Meijer, Target, The Home Depot, Menards, and Lowes Home Improvement carry items you will need to maintain your lawn and remove snow. 

If you buy a house, you will be responsible for lawn maintenance and snow removal. Some houses are part of cooperative neighborhoods or condominium associations that require residents to pay monthly dues. These dues may cover the cost of lawn maintenance and snow removal. Check with your cooperative neighborhood or condominium association to find out what you are responsible for. 

The City of East Lansing has a Snow Removal Ordinance and a Yard Maintenance Ordinance. Breaking an ordinance will result in a fine to home owner which they may deduct from your deposit or require you to pay.  

Learn more about other City of East Lansing Ordinances

Most other cities in the Lansing area have similar ordinances. Check the city website to find out more.