Finding an Apartment
There are many reasons that people choose to live off-campus. Whatever the reason, it is imperative to be precise and thorough in the steps that lead you to putting your signature at the bottom of a lease. Don't forget to evaluate and compare your off-campus housing options!
You have the best chance to get a good place if you know what you need and plan how to get it. Begin your search by answering the following questions:
- When will you need housing? Pick an exact date. Give yourself enough time to find a place.
- What kind of housing do you need, an apartment/house? How much space do you need? What furniture or appliances will you need?
- How much can you afford to pay for rent, utilities, and other necessities?
- Where do you want to live—an area of town or a specific neighborhood?
The key to successfully finding and keeping good housing is NOT TO WAIT until the last minute to get help.
Choose your housemates
Friends are usually a good choice, but not always the best choice. Keep in mind that you will be entering into a binding agreement with these people and responsibility on everyone’s part is necessary. Check out the roommate profiles on our Places4students site or create your own profile.
Consider Your Expectations
Whether living alone or with others, carefully consider your expectations. What type of place would you like to live in?
- Apartment or house
- Character of neighborhood
- Furnished or unfurnished
- Secure parking that is well lit at night
- Access to washer/dryer
- Policy regarding pets
- Trash removal
- Snow and ice removal
- Policy regarding decorations
- Off street parking
- Reputation of landlord
- What current tenants say
- Condition of unit
- Is the property licensed and inspected? The property should be licensed/inspected annually.
- Security deposit
- Additional costs
- Allentown (or other city) parking permit (zoned areas)
Helpful Tip: Tenants should expect to set aside 1/4 of each paycheck for rent!
The following are helpful resources when looking for potential locations:
- Classified section of local newspapers
What to Look for in a Rental Unit
The landlord is required to maintain a certain level of quality housing. In order to get a sense of how the landlord responds to the needs of the tenants, you may want to talk with tenants or neighbors and ask:
- What they have liked and not liked? Why?
- What types of problems have occurred, if any?
- Does the landlord provide service in a timely manner?
- Does the landlord live in the area? If not, was a name of a manager in the area provided?
- How are maintenance repairs done? Are maintenance concerns addressed in a timely manner?
Helpful Tip: When looking for rental units, ask yourself 1) do I feel comfortable and safe in this neighborhood? 2) Is my landlord a respectable businessperson?