West Virginia University students can get an early start on their search for next years perfect accommodations at the 21 st annual Off-Campus Housing Fair from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 12, in the Mountainlair Ballrooms.

Area landlords and property managers, along with representatives from Mountain Line Transit and Student Legal Services, will participate in the fair, sponsored by WVU s Office of Student Life.

The event provides an opportunity for students to ask questions and arrange appointments to view rental properties, said Julie Whiteman, who oversees WVU s Off-Campus Housing Office.

Landlords are not permitted, however, to sign leases during the fair creating a relaxed atmosphere,she said,and students should feel free to voice any concerns.

Whiteman reminded students that even though the fair is in January, most leases begin in May and run a full year. Also, most landlords require a security deposit at the signing of the lease.

Remember, once a lease is signed, it is a legally binding contract,she said.Making alterations to a signed lease is very difficult and getting out of a lease is nearly impossible, but the housing fair provides legal counsel to review leases for students.

Whiteman said the fair is an extremely popular event with more than 1,000 students participating last year. She encourages more local landlords to get involved.

Noticeably there are several new developments going up in the Morgantown area, and we encourage landlord participation,she said.Any landlord who does not currently participate in the Off-Campus Housing Fair and would be interested in doing so should feel free to contact my office at 293-5611.

Whiteman encourages students to mark Jan. 12 on their calendars.

For more information, go to:http://www.wvu.edu/~studlife/off-camp.htm