Off-Campus Housing

Philadelphia has many exciting neighborhoods with a diverse range of ambiance. 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 for creating a budget, local listings and management companies, and public transit information. While we've compiled them 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.   

Helpful Housing Resources

PAFA Apartment Search Guide

PAFA is located in the direct center of the city, which is a very walkable area, and easy to get to with public transportation. To help students narrow their housing decisions we created a PAFA Apartment Guide, which includes reviews and advice from current students.

PAFA First-Year Housing Guide

Utilize the PAFA First-Year Housing Guide-- Off-Campus section to access resources and links to help with your search.

Philly's Public Transportation System

SEPTA (Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority)

Planning and Searching for Housing

It’s important to start planning early. Talk to your family and friends about your budget, what you’re looking for in a neighborhood, the type of apartment you'd like to find. Apartments in Philadelphia turn over quickly, so give yourself plenty of time to search and plan for the right place. 

When looking for off campus housing, ask yourself:

  • How long of a commute do you want to get to school, and what kind of transportation options do you want (15 minute walk, close subway stop, etc.)?  
  • Do you want roommates or are you looking for a single style apartment?  
  • What is your budget/price range when looking for an apartment?

Steps you'll need to take:

  • Finding a Roommate
  • Contacting a Realtor or Management Company
  • Inspecting Apartments
  • Signing a Lease
  • Purchasing Renters Insurance

Finding a Roommate

Choose your roommate carefully. The experience you have with them could have a significant effect on your academic experience as they'll likely influence your study habits and your social activities.  

Consider the following: 

  • How often do you study and work from home?
  • What's your preference on sharing space and personal items?
  • How often do you complete household chores?
  • What's your history with paying bills?
  • How do you feel about guests coming over?
  • How much privacy do you need at home?
  • How much security do you want at home?
  • Will have any pets living with you?

How to find a roommate:

While the Office of Student Services tries to monitor activity on the Facebook 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.

Contacting a Realtor or Management Company

PAFA is not affiliated with any of the listed services and recommends exercising caution when making appointments and sharing personal information. Ask your management company or realtor what is required for renting at your desired locations, as many management companies will ask for a cosigner, credit check, and background check.

For a list of Philadelphia Housing Management Companies access the PAFA Housing Booklet--  Off-Campus section

Inspecting Apartments

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 

Signing a Lease

Your landlord may ask for the following: 

  • Application Fee-Your landlord may charge a small fee (usually $25- $75) to run a credit check and background check.  
  • Cosigner- A cosigner is a guarantor for payment. 
  • 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. 
  • Signature on 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... 

Purchasing Renter's Insurance

Renter's 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 renter's insurance through their parents’/guardians homeowners insurance policies. 


Contact Us

Student Services at PAFA is fully committed to assisting students with their needs and questions.

Telephone: (215) 972-2199

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