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Your Guide to Off-Campus Living

By: Anthony Eckert
First Published: April 4, 2024
Topics: STHM School


So, you’re ready to move out of your dorm room and off-campus. But where do you start? 

Moving into your first off-campus apartment is exciting, but it can also be stressful, confusing and raise many questions. Luckily, hundreds of students do this every year, so remember that it is perfectly manageable! 

At Temple, we’re committed to making this process as easy as possible by providing up-to-date resources and information. Here’s a comprehensive guide to getting started on your off-campus housing search. 

Where should I live? 

Temple’s The Best Nest Program is an online, interactive resource designed to allow students to search for housing within their expected price range, level of safety features and location.  

Most smaller rowhome apartments, especially those located west of Broad Street, can be found between 15th and 19th streets, running east to west, and between Diamond and Jefferson streets, stretching from north to south. However, don’t overlook the area east of campus – there are plenty of housing options available there as well. 
Beyond rowhomes, there are multiple large apartment complexes near campus. Popular options include:  

New options for fall 2024 include Cherry Commons and The York. These are generally a bit closer to campus than other apartments and have more robust security systems in place. 
How much can I expect to pay for my off-campus apartment?  
For rowhome apartments, you’ll pay more or less depending on factors like location, number of roommates and desirability (new renovations, a patio, roof access, etc.) In these apartments, you’ll also typically be expected to pay electric or other utilities. Utilities will vary each month depending on the time of year, the type of heating/cooling system (central will be cheaper than individual units), and what type of internet plan you select. 

Larger apartment buildings, like Kardon or Vantage, may have higher rent costs because utilities and/or internet may be included. These buildings also have security desks for checking in guests and handling packages, as well as other amenities like game rooms, rooftop decks and parking garages.  

How do I find roommates?  

The Best Nest has a built-in roommate finder! You can use this to find existing roommate groups or to find potential roommates for an apartment you’ve already chosen.  

Beyond finding roommates, it’s important to find good roommates. Some people live well with their close friends, and some live better with strangers. It’s important to make sure everyone is on the same page. Here’s a quick checklist: 

  1. What is everyone’s budget?  
  1. Is the apartment a hangout spot or a quiet space?  
  1. Does anyone have a pet? 
  1. What is everyone’s definition of a clean apartment? It’s also a good call to write up a roommate agreement. A roommate agreement may seem a bit awkward and formal, but it’s an excellent tool when setting boundaries with roommates regardless of if you previously know them or not.  

What should I ask my landlord?  

So, you’ve toured an apartment with your roommates and… it looks great! It’s easy to get excited about an apartment, especially when you’ve never had one before, but let’s take a step back. Here are some questions you should be sure to ask on the tour:  

  1. What is the average cost of utilities per month?  
  1. Can I have pets? Will they cost extra? What kinds of pets can I have?  
  1. How are maintenance requests handled? How quickly does maintenance arrive generally? Will I be given notice before you or maintenance people enter my apartment?  
  1. Is renter’s insurance required?  
  1. When can I move in? When do I need to be moved out? If I am renewing the lease, what is the process? 
  1. Will the apartment be cleaned prior to my moving in?  
  1. What security features are installed?  
  1. Is there a parking garage/area available? 

On your tour, be on the lookout for a few key features:  

  1. Functional smoke detectors 
  1. Easily accessible emergency escape routes 
  1. Fire extinguishers 
  1. Wi-Fi router and ethernet port location 
  1. Number of bathrooms 
  1. Type of heating/cooling system 

Be sure to take as many pictures and videos as you can on the tour! These will be helpful during the moving process.  

Need more assistance? 
For any additional information or to find answers to questions, the Temple University Off-Campus Living Office is located at 1910 Liacouras Walk and open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The office staff is available to help in person or via phone (215 204-7184). 

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