Philadelphia has many exciting neighborhoods in a diverse range of accessibility, affordability and ambience. Each student at PAFA has unique, individual needs, and the following resources were compiled to offer information about securing suitable off-campus housing for each student’s particular life situation. These resources include: tips and helpful hints for creating a budget, local listings and management companies and public transit information.
While these resources are here to assist students in the process of finding off-campus housing in Philadelphia, the Office of Student Services is not endorsing any listing on this page and does not accept compensation for services rendered.
Please contact the Office of Student Services with questions and further assistance: firstname.lastname@example.org
Off-Campus Housing Considerations (To-Do List for Planning Your Search)
It’s important to start the planning early and talk to your family and friends about your budget and what you’re looking for in a neighborhood. Apartments in Philadelphia turn over quickly, so make your budget early and give yourself plenty of time to search for the right place.
Create a Monthly Budget
Rent – $450-$1200 per month, the cost of rent varies dramatically between neighborhoods and types of apartments. Remember: having a roommate(s) saves money!
Possible Living Situations:
- Private studio or one-bedroom apartment
- Sharing an apartment or house with a roommate(s)
- Renting a room within a larger apartment or house with shared living space
- Live/Work Space
Renters Insurance: about $20 per month, varies with company and apartment location. Some companies will bundle renters insurance with car insurance or home owners insurance.
Utilities (Gas, Water, Electric): $80-$120, varies by seasons and between apartments -- some apartments have utilities included in the cost of rent.
Cable/Internet: $80 per month
Transportation: $90-one month Septa pass; walking or riding a bike is free!
Food/Groceries: $500 per month; cooking at home is less expensive than eating at a restaurant!
Books and Art Supplies: $1500-$2000 per academic year, about $170 per month
Personal/Miscellaneous expenses: $1,500-$2,000 per academic year, about $170 per month. This expense is for all the extras that will pop up, such as new clothes, haircuts, and long-distance travel. If you’re from out of town, consider the costs of traveling home.
Health Insurance: $1,500 per year, about $170 per month
Total: $1,500-3,000 per month
Finding a Roommate
Choose your roommate carefully because the experience you have with him or her could have a significant effect on your academic experience. This person will affect your study habits and your social activities. To help you choose someone, consider the following:
- Study time
- Sharing of space
- Sharing of personal items
- Household chores and condition
- Bill payment
- Moving in & out
How to Find a Roommate
The PAFA Housing Facebook Page is a great place to find local listings for off-campus apartments and connect with other PAFA students looking for roommates. Click here to request access to the page.
Please remember that the Housing Facebook Page is a place to find potential rental properties and roommates, and while the Office of Student Services tries to monitor activity on the page, Student Services is not endorsing or verifying each posts. Please research each posting thoroughly before committing. Contact the Office of Student Services with any questions.
Facebook: There are PAFA Facebook pages for each program that can be used to discuss housing and connect with potential roommates. Log in and request to be added to the group to get the conversation started.
Affordable Housing Philadelphia Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/777105052300821/
Ask Around! Make sure you let your friends in Philadelphia know that you are looking for a roommate.
Pick a Few Good Neighborhoods
Explore the different neighborhoods in Philadelphia featured by Visit Philadelphia to see what each one has to offer.
Public Transit: Click here to view Septa’s website for up-to-date pricing and routes.
Contact a Realtor or Management Company
Click here for a list of useful housing websites. PAFA is not affiliated with any of the listed services and recommends exercising caution when making appointments and sharing personal information.
Make sure to ask your management company or realtor what is required for renting at your desired locations. Many management companies will ask for a cosigner, credit check and background check.
Check Out a Few Places, Ask a Lot of Questions
Is it the perfect place? What am I looking for? A tenant is responsible for inspecting the property carefully and asking questions before signing a lease. Landlords and Realtors are not responsible for informing you if there are damages to the property.
Make sure you inspect the apartment or house for:
- Kitchen appliances in working order
- Water pressure strong, plumbing without leaks
- Electrical outlets and wiring working
- Walls and ceiling painted or papered without cracks
- Ventilation or air conditioning/ heating accessible & working
- Floors, railings in good repair
- Bathroom in good repair (flush the toilet, turn on the faucet, shower, etc.)
- Fire escape easy to use
- Stairs safe and well-lit
- Phone signal within the apartment
- If furnished, the condition of the furniture
- Windows and doors operable and weather-tight; screens provided
- Security of the building
Sign the Lease
There is some variation in the leasing process. Your landlord might ask for the following:
Application fee (usually $25 - $75): Your landlord may charge a small fee to run a credit check and a background check.
Cosigner: A cosigner is a guarantor for payment. Click here for more information.
Put in a deposit: A security deposit is held to cover any damages that occur in the apartment while you are in residence. Typically a security deposit is equal to the cost of one month of rent. In addition to the security deposit, a landlord might ask for the first and last month’s rent before you move into your new apartment; meaning, you may be expected to pay three months of rent before getting the keys to your new place.
Sign your lease: Signing a lease? A lease is a legally binding agreement or contract between a landlord/property owner/manager and a tenant. Types of leases: one-year, month-to-month. Take note of details pertaining to
- Early Termination
- Tenant’s Rights and Responsibilities Rights
Click here to learn more about Tenants' Rights and Responsibilities in Philadelphia.
Click here for Legal Resources.
Purchase Renters Insurance
Renters Insurance protects you from claims by visitors to your apartment who are injured, theft, or other damages (flood, fire, etc.) Some lease contracts require the tenant to obtain renters’ insurance.
Many students obtain renters insurance through their parents’/guardians homeowners insurance policies. You may also be able to add this type of insurance to a car insurance policy.”