Two Sylvan Lakers have written a workbook called ‘My First Apartment’ to assist those who are navigating the world of renting. Jennifer Belanger and Janice Topping have worked to make the transition a little bit easier offering up advice based on their unique experiences.  

“I was an emancipated youth. I moved into my first apartment when I was 16-years-old. My son is now 19 and starting the same process. I'm looking at it from my mother's side of things rather than a teenager this time. Now Janice has been a landlord for over a decade, so between the two of us, we got talking about all the gaps and the things that we had learned or wish we had learned in high school and that's what the book was for,” said Jennifer Belanger.  

The co-authors believed information should be available for anyone who was in need of it. The 75-page soft cover work book deals with a variety of topics from inspections, rental insurance, setting up utilities, changing addresses and more.  

“The sad thing is a lot of the things we learn in school aren’t necessarily the things that we need when we leave home,” added Belanger.  

Belanger’s son is currently in the process of completing the workbook and considering his needs for his first apartment.  

“He’s just in the process of doing it right night. He and I have been having big, long conversations on what’s a good lease, what areas to look at, all of that kind of stuff,” added Belanger.  

Belanger and Topping decided it should be a workbook rather than a book to give people the opportunity to take notes. It’s also an active way of working through real-life tasks as well as being something they can look back on in the future.   

“This way they could take their time, do little pieces and it's something they can keep. So, two to three years from now, they have their documentation from everything they had to do during that process. If they ever have to look back for information, they have it,” said Belanger.  

However, the book is not just meant for those navigating early adulthood but adults who are experiencing life changes as well.  

“Some people haven't moved in ten years. If you haven't moved in a long time, or maybe you aren't the one to actually set it up, then maybe a newly widowed person might work for this as well. It's just a good reminder. Honestly, if you wanted to use it every time you move, you probably get something out of it each time,” explained Belanger.  

Topping and Belanger have already seen interest from organizations working with high-risk youth. They will be chatting with youth from the YMCA’s Bridging the Gap Program on Friday, March 24.  

‘My First Apartment’ is available for purchase on Amazon or by visiting the Cobb’s Clothing in Sylvan Lake.