Perhaps you’re ready to move into a more independent living arrangement in this city you’ve come to call home. We're here to help!
- Log into the site and view listings for rent
- Search for roommates
- Post your own sublets
- Post to the message board (Early Move In, Study Abroad, Buy/Sell books or furniture, and more!)
Contact Our Office:
Monday - Friday, 9:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m., or by appointment as necessary.
Phone: (215) 204-7944
Off-Campus Living Fairs for 2018-2019:
- Friday, October 5, 2018 from 1pm to 3pm at the Bell Tower.
- Friday, April 26, 2019 from 1pm to 3pm at the Bell Tower. (Rain Date: Monday, April 29, 2019)
This is it. You found the place you want to live in, with the people you want to live with. Now what?
What Is A Lease?
The lease is the agreement between the landlord and the tenant for renting a property. The lease can be oral (spoken) or in writing. If the tenant does not have a written lease, he/she has an oral lease. In either situation, it is a binding legal contract.
Understand Your Lease Before Signing It
Leases may contain many legal terms you may not understand. Fully take your time, ask questions and do not be scared to have a dictionary with you while going through your lease. NEVER SIGN ANY LEASE BEFORE READING IT CAREFULLY. Despite what the lease says, there are basic Tenant's rights and responsibilities.
Here are some important points to consider when signing the lease agreement. Make sure these terms are spelled out in the lease, and if they are not, request to get all terms in writing.
Who is the landlord and who is the tenent? What is the location that is being rented? Is this a yearly lease, or monthly-to-month lease?
What is the rent, and when is it due? What is owed in terms of a security deposit or additional fees? Is a co-signer or guarantor required? What is the landlord's policy for late rent? How will all the money be exchanged?
Individual or Joint lease?
If there is multiple tenets, i.e. if you have a roommate, are you responsible for your roommates portion of the rent if they fail to pay?
What are the rules on subletting?
Who mows the lawn? Who shovels the snow? What happens if something in the home breaks?
What is the pet policy? Is there an extra deposit or fee if you have a pet? Is this extra cost refundable?
Can you paint the walls? Can you hang curtains? If so, must you return the walls to the original color/condition upon move out?
If the reason you renting the property is because there is a gym on site, make sure that use of ammenity is in the lease. After all, what happens if the landlord suddenly decides to remove the gym?
Put all Promises in Writing
What if you see the property and you love it, but the carpet is dirty? Although the landlord may have stated he will have it replaced before you move in, make sure that it is put in writing. The lease sets forth the obligation which the tenant owes to the landlord and the obligation which the landlord owes to the tenant. If the tenant has a written lease, every agreement between the tenant and the landlord must be put in the lease including any promises by the landlord to make repairs or add or include amenities.
As you may begin to realize, there is a lot of information that should go into lease to protect all parties involved in the transaction.
Signing Your Lease
The tenant must make sure that all blanks are filled in or crossed out of the lease and that all changes are made before signing. If the lease needs to be notarized, have it notarized. The landlord needs to sign the lease as well in order to complete the contract. Ask for and get a copy of the lease after it is signed and keep it for your records.
If you feel you need legal assistance, please contact TURN.
1315 Walnut Street, 3rd floor
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19107
The original tenant(s) who signed the contract with the landlord or owner of the unit is generally held responsible to the original lease agreement with the landlord.
Why Sublet / Sublease your apartment?
People sublet their apartment or rented unit out for a number of reasons, including:
- moving out of town and you have time left on your lease.
- traveling for a period of time (studying abroad) and you want to maintain your apartment and have someone else pay the bills until you return.
- renting out or sharing with a roommate to help with costs.
You are still responsible for the lease
Generally when you sublease your unit, you as the one who originally signed the lease is the one responsible for it. So think twice before becoming a landlord - because that is what you become - the landlord!
Read your lease
Most lease agreements have a sublet clause in there. Most will say that you must have permission from the landlord to sublet your apartment or rented unit. If the landlord gives permission, get it in writing. The landlord should get all the information from the person who is subletting. In selecting a sublessor, choose wisely, your best friend could be the worst tenant. It happens. Remember - you as the original tenant are still responsible for rent payments to the landlord even if he agrees to the sublet. Trying to get rent from a friend...sometimes not so easy.
- Several states have laws protecting the tenant, sublet and landlord. Most don't.
- DO NOT SUBLET WITHOUT WRITTEN PERMISSION FROM THE LANDLORD.
- Do not sublet you apartment or rented unit for longer than the term of your lease. For example: your lease expires in 3 months, do not sublet for 5 months.
- If you are the one looking for a sublet, ask to see the signed lease agreement between the landlord and the tenant to whom you will be making payments. Verify with the landlord that you have permission to sublet.
*Reprinted with permission from University of Pennsylvania OCL/M. Farcas.
Screen Your Roommate
Roommates are a good way to cut expenses, but remember, you could potentially be living with this person for a year.
Here are some questions you may want to ask a roommate, whether over the phone or in person.
- Can they afford the rent/utilities? Are they willing to put their name on the lease?
- How quiet or noisy are they? How much noise can they tolerate? What times of day will they be making noise and at what times do you need quiet, and does that work for you?
- How much cleanliness do they need? How often do they think an apartment should be cleaned? What sort of cleaning schedule do they envision?
- Do they smoke or drink, and how do they feel about a roommate who does or doesn't?
- What type of lifestyle do they lead? Are they a student, or are they employeed? Do they play the drums, have a dog, or like to have loud parties?
Ask all your questions now to ensure compatibility and limit the any surprises you may find later. After you decide what you are looking for, its time to start searching for the right person!
Come To An Understanding
Before signing the lease, make sure everyone is on the same page. We suggest putting all agreements into a written roommate agreement to refer to it at a later date.
What is everyone's share? Whose name will be on the utility bills, and how will they be split?
Who will occupy which bedrooms?
Who's bringing the couch? The TV? How about the plates, utensils, or the ever important vacuum cleaner? Go over the basics, and do not split the cost of large furniture items. After all, you can't split a TV in half when its time to move out.
Who is responsible for cleaning, and on what schedule?
Will food, shopping and cooking responsibilities be shared? How about basics like salt and pepper? How will you split the costs of everything?
When should stereos or TVs be turned off or down low? When is it okay to have people over?
Is it OK for boyfriends/girlfriends to stay over? How often is too often?
If one of you decides to move, how much notice must be given? Must the departing tenant find an acceptable substitute?
Set up essential services for your new home!
Cable, Internet, and Phone Services
There are various providers you can use for these services
Comcast offers digital cable, internet, and phone service. Comcast also offers these services in bundles for those that are looking for more than one service.
TO REQUEST SERVICE
- Online: select package desired, follow instructions.
- By phone: call 1-800-COMCAST (1-800-266-2278) 24 hours a day.
- In person:
11400 Northeast Ave, Philadelphia - 215-673-6600
1 Comcast Ctr, Philadelphia - 215-286-1700
FL 11E, 1500 Market Street, Philadelphia - 215-665-0629
Offers FIOS internet, cable and phone services. Verizon also offers these services in bundles for those that are looking for more than one service, but not all areas are able to receive FIOS. Check with Verizon to see what is available to you!
TO REQUEST SERVICE
- Call 1-800-640-4155, toll-free, in Philadelphia only. If you are outside of Philadelphia, call 215-571-7050.
- Call Monday through Friday, 8:00 A.M. - 6:00 P.M. and Saturday, 9:00 A.M. - 1:00 P.M.
- You can request telephone service over the phone or via website. Verizon recommends that you request service via phone.
- Sometimes, you may also be asked to fax to 1-800-834-4484 copies of the following:
- Two pieces of ID (one of them a valid picture document: driver's license, passport or student ID)
- The lease (landlord's name and telephone number), if you are a foreign student.
Charges can be billed over a 6 or 12 month period. Telephone services will start within three business days. While Verizon Fios internet may not be readily available within all areas of the city, some townships surrounding Philadelphia may be able to receive this service. Service availability can be checked by address on the Verizon website.
There are a variety of other companies that provide services. Although Verizon and Comcast are the most common, they are not your only options! Satellite dishes, and other smaller phone/internet providers do exist and can be a more economical choice. Do your research!
TO SET UP SERVICE
- Online: If applying on line, you should fill in the application at least 5 days prior to the date that you want service on. You will be notified via e-mail when your application has been accepted.
- Phone: To apply by phone, call 1-800-494-4000.
If you need to report emergencies, call the office number during office hours and call 1-800-841-4141, after 5:00 P.M.
Philadelphia Gas Works
You can apply for service by phone, 215-235-1000, or in person at the following locations:
|Office||Location||Days of Operation||Hours of Operation|
|Center City||1137 Chestnut Street||Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday||9 AM - 5 PM|
|Frankford||4410 Frankford Avenue||Tuesday, Thursday, Friday||9 AM - 5 PM|
|Germantown||212 West Chelten Avenue||Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday||9 AM - 5 PM|
|North Philadelphia||1337 West Erie Avenue||Monday, Wednesday, Thursday||9 AM - 5 PM|
|South Philadelphia||1601 South Broad Street||Monday, Wednesday, Thursday||9 AM - 5 PM|
|West Philadelphia||5230 Chestnut Street||Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday||9 AM - 5 PM|
|*Note: If applying in person, bring a copy of your lease, two forms of identification, and your social security card.|
Although most landlords included the cost of water in the rent, this is not always the case. Set up your water service or get more information by clicking here:
What are your rights as a tenant?
- Fair housing
- A Clean, Safe place to live
- A building that is structurally sound
- Adequate heat
- Hot and cold running water
- Properly draining bathroom equipment
- A functioning stove
- Properly locking doors
- Properly locking windows that work
- No rodent/insect infestation
- Smoke detectors/fire extinguishers/fire escapes
- Prompt repairs by property owner/manager
- Privacy from intrusion or harassment from the landlord
- To make complaints to governmental authorities regarding violation of rights without retaliation
- Move out when necessity arises due to legitimate reasons
- The tenant continues to be responsible for rent until a new tenant is found
- Have the landlord make a diligent effort to mitigate damages
- Have property seizures, lock-outs, or evictions only in accordance with established legal procedures
- Have a lease that guarantees these rights in writing
What are your responsibilities as a tenant?
- Use the dwelling for residential purposes only
- Not for business or commercial
- Not for illegal activity
- Only the people written on the lease may live in the property
- Pay all rent and bills for which you are responsible
- Keep the dwelling safe and clean, notify landlord of any damage to property
- You must pay for damages caused by your actions or the actions of a guest
- Dispose of all trash and other waste in a clean and safe manner
- Use electrical, plumbing and heating facilities in a safe and careful manner
- Do not destroy, deface, damage, alter or remove any part of the premises
- Do not change locks to the premises without written permission from property owner, who must have access to the premises at all times, in case of an emergency
- Conduct yourself in a way that does not disturb others, and ensure that your guests do not disturb others
- Report all problems with the apartment to the property owner/manager
- Leave the apartment clean and in a condition similar to the one at the beginning of the lease
- Provide proper written notice of intention to terminate or renew lease
National Renters Rights Resources
US Department of Housing and Urban Development
451 Seventh Street SW, Room 5204
Washington DC 20410
Tenant Union Representative Network (TURN)
1315 Walnut Street, 3rd Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19107
Tenant Union Representative Network is to advance and defend the rights and interests of tenants and homeless people.
Philadelphia Fair Housing Commission
The Curtis Center
601 Walnut Street
Suite 300 South
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Fair Housing addresses housing code violations and unfair rental practices
Pennsylvania Office of Consumer Advocate
555 Walnut Street, 5th Floor Forum Place
Harrisburg, PA 17101
800-684-6560 (PA Residents Only)
PA Office of Consumer Advocate is a state agency that represents the interest of PA utility customers
Be aware of scams
- Always see a property in person. This will allow you to see if you like the are and if there are any problems with the property.
- Meet the landlord in person as well. A good landlord will want to meet you and show you the property.
- If they claim to be out of state or the country and are unwilling to work with you, it may not be a good idea to pursue that option.
- Make sure to have their contact information (full name, phone number, etc.)
- Never give out your financial information, such as a password or your bank account or social security numbers.
- Never open an email with an attachment unless you are certain that it is from someone you know and a document that you need.
- A good rule of thumb is if it seems too good to be true, it probably is!
- FTC toll free hotline: 877-FTC-HELP (877-382-4357)
- FTC online complaint form (www.ftc.gov/)
- Internet Fraud Complaint Center (www.ic3.gov/)
- Non-emergency number for your local police department.
Many other internet scams exist (such as the infamous Nigerian Scam). A list has been created through a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C). You may find this list by clicking the following link: Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3). Please visit the IC3 page for a list of over a dozen internet schemes.
CHAPTER 14-1600. MISCELLANEOUS
§14-1629. North Central Philadelphia Community Special District Controls. [429.4]
(1) Legislative Findings. The Council finds that:
(a) In recent years, North Central Philadelphia has been the target of speculators seeking to create multi-family student housing by converting single-family dwellings into rooming or boarding houses;
(b) The conversion of single-family dwellings into boarding/rooming houses changes the character of this community and over-burdens local blocks with excess vehicles and limited parking spaces;
(c) Major public and private investments have been made and continue to be made in and around the North Central section of the City to enhance visual aesthetics, to sustain single-family residential uses, to prevent declining property values, and to protect and promote the economic vitality of this area of Philadelphia;
(d) Public expenditures have included street and sidewalk improvements and improvements to the Broad Street Subway and stations;
(e) The higher density development and non-residential parking as main use in the area has burdened local streets with additional vehicular traffic and decreased parking spaces previously available to the homeowners, lowering the quality of life for existing homeowners in the North Central Philadelphia community;
(f) Therefore, special land use and zoning controls providing for controls on any proposed conversions are required to protect the existing residential properties, which are within this district and are critical to the vitality and stability of this section of the City as a stable community of single-family dwellings.
(2) Purpose of the District.
This special district is established in order to preserve and protect this area of the City through the enactment of the North Central Philadelphia Community Special District Controls. It is recognized that this section of the City is unique and is a vital, single-family residential district. This pattern contributes to the distinctive atmosphere of this area. Council recognizes the need to establish special land use and zoning controls, to protect this community from the conversions of houses into apartments, tenements, and multi-family dwellings which would destabilize the community by taking on the transient character inherent in apartment and tenement living, to sustain and promote single-family residential uses, to prevent declining property values, to discourage non-residential parking as main use in the community, and foster the preservation and development of this section of the City in accordance with its special character.
(3) District Boundaries.[429.5]
For the purposes of this section, the North Central Philadelphia Special District Controls shall apply to all residentially zoned (R9A, R10, R13, R20) properties within the following areas:
(a) The area bounded on the north by Cecil B. Moore Avenue, on the east by Tenth Street, on the south by Oxford Street, and on the west by Eleventh Street.
(b) The area bounded on the north by Oxford Street, on the east by Eleventh Street, and on the south by a line consisting of Stiles Street from Eleventh Street to Twelfth Street.
(c) The area bounded on the north by Cecil B. Moore Avenue, on the east by Twelfth Street, on the south by Flora Street, and on the west by Thirteenth Street.
(d) All properties fronting on the west side of Thirteenth Street between Jefferson Street and Oxford Street.
(e) The area bounded on the west by 13th Street, on the east by 11th Street, on the north by Susquehanna and on the south by Diamond Street.
(f) The area bounded on the south by Master Street, on the North by Jefferson Avenue, on the east by 11th Street, and on the west by 12th Street.
(g) The area bounded on the north by Cecil B. Moore, on the south by Master Street, on the east by 9th Street, and on the west by 11th Street.[429.6]
(4) Prohibited Uses.
Within the area subject to the North Central Philadelphia Special District Controls, and notwithstanding any other Chapter of this Title, the following uses shall be prohibited:
(a) Multiple-family dwellings;
(b) Apartment houses;
(c) Tenement houses;
(d) Student housing not owner-occupied;
(e) Fraternity/Sorority houses.