Grade 9-12

Renting a Place to Live

Time: 45 mins,
Updated: July 28 2020,

In this personal finance lesson, students will compare rental options.



Ask students to brainstorm some possible options for where they might live after graduating from high school. Have them identify some of the criteria they would use to determine where they will live. Ask them to determine what choices they need to make before deciding where they will live and how they will pay for it.


Explain that the cost of renting an apartment includes more than just rent. Emphasize the importance of considering other costs when searching for a place to live. Discuss how they need to compare all costs to determine how much money will actually be needed to cover their expenses. Tell students they will be watching The True Cost of Renting a Place, a short video that will help them examine the costs associated with finding a place to rent and use the 30% rule to guide their final choice. Explain that the 30% rule is a recommended guideline to consider when making housing choices. Distribute copies of The True Cost of Renting a Place. Ask students to fill it out while viewing the video.

Group Activity

After viewing the video, put students into small groups. Have students in each group compare their answers and discuss them in their groups. Ask students to tell the class how they answered questions 5 and 6. Review answers 1-4 in the handout.

Individual Activity

Tell students they are going to use the information from the video to find a place to live in their community. Distribute one copy of Comparing Rental Options. Provide each student with an annual income to use in the assignment. You may choose to give all students the same income or vary it to allow them to see how income relates to their housing options. Also provide students with web sites that advertise local rental properties and give information on local utilities. (Note: You may choose to pre-select rentals and utility costs to them assist in completing this assignment.) After students have completed the assignment, discuss the various housing options and the challenges they had when making a decision about where to live.


Have students identify three things they learned from this lesson.


Activity 1

Invite a realtor, leasing agent, or apartment manager to visit the class to discuss leases or other rental agreements, plus the rights and responsibilities of renters.

Activity 2

Use the lesson A Moving Experience: How Much Does It Cost to help students understand the cost of moving into a new place to live.


Personal Finance