Off-campus Living

Colorado Mesa University and Residence Life are committed to helping students reach their full potential, both in the classroom and in their everyday lives. This page is devoted to providing resources to assist students in adjusting to off-campus living.

Please review our Residency Policy to ensure you qualify for off-campus living.

Almost Home is a list of available local rental properties that’s updated weekly. Roommate Exchange is a listing of individuals looking for roommates.

Choosing a Roommate

It’s important to make sure you and your roommate are compatible on several different levels, including study/sleeping patterns, cleanliness, eating habits, social habits, etc. Do not choose your roommate lightly, because you will be stuck with them for a long time.

Security Deposits

Rental properties require a security deposit up front, used to help the landlord pay for repairs as they happen. At the conclusion of your lease, provided that you upheld the conditions of the contract and did not damage the property, you will receive your security deposit back.

Signing a Lease

When you sign a lease, you are entering into a legal agreement. Before signing anything, make sure you have read through the entire document thoroughly. If there is something in that you don’t understand, ask questions! An individual lease is a lease for a single room within a space, which makes you the sole person responsible for damages within that room. A group lease is a lease for an entire property, signed by all persons living in that space together. This lease makes the entire group responsible for the damages in the entire space.


Always make sure you look at a property at least once before agreeing to sign a lease. Ask as many questions as you can. Don’t forget that you will likely be living in this space for the entire year, and that though everything may seem great now, the house may have problems at other times in the year. It is also important to make sure it is clear who carries the responsibilities for utilities, repairs, lawn maintenance, etc.

Some helpful questions to ask may include:

  • How much is the monthly rent payment?

  • How do I pay my rent?

  • Are utilities included in the rent ? If not, which utilities am I responsible for?

  • How much is a typical utility bill?

  • Is the house well insulated? (which can usually be guessed based upon the winter utility bills)

  • Have previous tenants reported any problems?

Setting Up Utilities

Water, Sewer, Trash - If you live within the city limits, all three of these services should be provided by the City of Grand Junction. Typically, your landlord will connect these utilities under your name.

Gas and Electricity – Depending on where you live, gas and electricity are typically provided by XCEL Energy. To connect, visit their website.

Cable and Internet – Check with your landlord about what television, phone and internet service is available for the property. In some cases, a satellite dish may already be installed, and you simply have to purchase service through that provider. If possible, shop around and see what options are a best fit for your cable and internet needs. Most providers offer a discount for new renters.

Useful Downloads

Damages Checklist – Residence Life has provided this helpful tool so you can document any damages that are present in your rental property before you move in. If major damages exist, it may be helpful to also take pictures and give those to your landlord.

Roommate Agreement – This is a detailed form to help prevent possible problems that may arise in your off-campus living situation. When you move into your property, sit down with your roommates and fill this form out together.

Getting to Campus


If you chose to drive to campus, don’t forget to purchase a commuter pass. Visit Parking Services for more information.


Looking for a cheap and environmentally friendly way to get to class? Try biking. Check out these helpful resources about biking: Grand Junction Road Bike Routes, Bike Safety Information. Don’t have a bike? No problem! Rent a MAVbike from the Outdoor Program!

Public Transportation

Grand Valley Transit

Having Friends Over

When you are having friends over there are a lot of things to consider. When you first move in, it is a good idea to sit down with your roommates and discuss how you all feel about having guests over and be sure to set clear ground rules. Consider the following things: communicating when friends will be over, parking, noise levels, the number of people, and who will be the responsible host.


Don't know how to cook? Don't have time to cook? Miss the convenience of the dining hall? Check out these commuter meal plans!


Having trouble managing your finances? View some tips or use this spreadsheet to help manage your budget.

Services offered by CMU to keep you safe

  • Campus Safety Assistants – CMU’s Campus Safety Assistants provide safe travel around campus for students, faculty and staff. The service covers all of the main campus and up to two blocks off campus. CSAs are available daily from 6pm–2am. To contact a CSA, call 970.260.2683.

  • MAVrides – MAVrides is a student-operated service that gives free, safe rides to CMU students. This service is available every Thursday, Friday and Saturday during the school year from 9pm-3am. A valid MAVcard is required upon pickup. Call 970.248.2222.

  • Campus Police - The Campus Safety Officer Program, started fall 2016, now includes two full-time police officers on campus under the direction of Director of Campus Safety and Student Conduct Pua Utu. CMU's police officers work in conjunction with five officers from the Grand Junction Police Department (GJPD) assigned to the campus for a three-year term. The officers assigned to the campus have a station located on the northside of campus at 1060 Orchard Avenue. Campus Safety Assistants (CSAs) can also be found in a substation on the south side of the University Center.

    To report a crime that is an EMERGENCY, DIAL 911.

    The non-emergency phone number for the GJPD is 970.242.6707.


Securing your property

  • Always lock your door. If you lose your key, contact your property manager as soon as possible. The cost of replacing a key is considerably less than the cost of theft and property damage.

  • Ensure that all windows and sliding glass doors are locked and secure.

  • Keep blinds and shades closed, especially at night to keep would-be thieves from identifying valuable items.

  • Keep valuable items out of sight in your vehicle. Ensure that your vehicle is locked and try to park in a well-lit area.

  • Report any suspicious activity or unwanted guests to the police by calling 911.

Hosting a safe party:

  • Report suspicious behaviors or activities to the police immediately

  • Have a guest list so you know who is in your home

  • Have a sober host present at all times

  • Lock doors to private areas (i.e. bedrooms) and be sure to hide valuables

  • Keep it small. Be aware of overcrowding and disturbing neighbors with excessive noise.

  • If the neighbors or police ask you keep the noise down or shut down the party, listen to them

  • Limit your guests’ alcohol consumption

  • Never serve alcohol to underage persons

  • Provide non-alcoholic beverages and food to your guests.

Safely attending a party

  • Trust your instincts. If you feel uncomfortable, leave the party

  • Report suspicious behaviors or activities to the police immediately

  • Know the host of the party you are attending

  • Stay with friends and look out for each other

  • Make sure you have a safe way home: designated driver, taxi, walk, or MAVrides

  • Drink Responsibly. Don’t drink more than you can handle

  • Be considerate of others and their property

Walking safely:

  • Use well-lit areas. Avoid dark, deserted areas. Avoid shortcuts that may not be safe at night

  • Never walk or jog alone

  • Never approach a vehicle that is following you or a stranger who beckons you. Simply walk the opposite direction

  • Always use a sidewalk. If there is no sidewalk and you must walk in the street, always walk facing oncoming traffic

  • Do not resist or attempt to fool a robber

Other safety tips:

  • Don’t make yourself a target. Thieves are on the lookout for easy targets, so don’t leave items unattended and don’t make yourself appear vulnerable.

  • Use common sense. If you feel uncomfortable, follow your instincts.

  • Always report crimes. When calling dispatch, give the dispatcher as much information as possible. If the crime is happening while you are on the phone, stay on the line until help arrives. Always follow the instructions of the dispatcher and the police.

Helpful Tips

Remember it is your and your roommates' responsibility to insure that your rental property is back to its original state before you leave. Make sure you are planning ahead and allowing enough time to completely pack and clean your apartment before your check-out date. Communicating with your roommate is incredibly important when it comes to determining who is responsible for what share of the cleaning. Failure to properly clean your space can often result in you not receiving your security deposit at the end of the lease.

Damages Checklist

When you checked into your rental property, you filled out a damages checklist. Now you can go through your property again to see if there were any damages that happened while you were living there. A sample damages checklist can be found here that both you and your landlord can use to keep each other accountable.


Don't forget to have your utilities shut off when you move out. If you don't you may continue being charged after you move out. Also, be sure to return any equipment borrowed for your utilities (i.e. wireless internet).

Landlord Issues

If you are having issues with your landlord or property management company, it may be helpful to know your rights as a tenant. Check out the Colorado State Tenant rights. Make sure you are clearly communicating your concerns with your landlords. In some cases, they may not realize there is a problem. Not sure what to do next? Try utilizing some of your on campus resources for guidance, including mentors, Student Services and Residence Life.

Roommate Issues

As the year progresses, it is not uncommon from some roommate issues to arise. In most cases, you should be able to resolve the issues on your own. Communication is the most important thing in any relationship, especially with roommates. Be sure to address problems as soon as they arise. If you are unable to resolve the conflict on your own, you can try utilizing some of your on campus resources for assistance, including mentorsStudent Services and Residence Life.

Questions About Subletting?

If you are considering subletting your rental property out, it is best to talk to your landlord or property management company. Many landlords have specific policies regarding subletting properties, so you will need to work with them to develop a plan.