At DeSales University, we encourage all students to take advantage of the Benefits of Living On Campus during their four years. All first-year students are required to either live on campus or commute from home. Starting in the sophomore year, DeSales University respects the right of any student to chose off-campus living in the various neighborhoods of the Lehigh Valley. Moving off-campus is a big decision and it is important to be prepared and well-informed. The resources on this site are intended to assist you in this process.
First, it is important to note that students currently living on campus are bound by the Housing and Meal Plan Contract, which is for the full academic year. Students who are looking into the option of off-campus housing during the academic year must prepare and submit a written letter requesting release from the housing contract to the Vice President for Student Life. Students are strongly encouraged to follow this request process prior to signing a lease off campus, as approvals for release are discretionary and reserved for extreme circumstances.
DeSales University requires that students living off-campus follow all laws of the municipality where they reside, including zoning ordinances. Students should also be informed that once they leave the confines of the University, they are subject to civil procedures and penalties of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and local municipalities. Students and their parents are strongly encouraged to familiarize themselves with the neighborhoods of the Lehigh Valley that tend to be popular areas for off-campus student housing. At minimum, we suggest reviewing website for PA State Police (includes crime statistics for PA cities) and for each local municipality. Students are also encouraged to view a map of Lehigh Valley area to help determine the locations of the townships listed below.
While DeSales University is unable to directly endorse specific landlords or rental properties, we do offer a couple of web based resources, listed above, with off-campus rental property postings. The web site is updated as often as renters have spaces available and is viewable by students 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you are a local landlord or property management group wishing to advertise, the sites above offer listings either for free or for a nominal fee. These sites offer services free of charge and can help students find local roommates and housing near campus.
Before even considering signing a lease, be sure to know exactly what you will be getting for your investment- this means asking the right questions of your potential landlord or property management group. You may also want to consider bringing a parent/guardian or informed, experienced renter along with you for support. Never sign a lease without visiting a property at least twice- this will help you identify potential concerns you might have missed in the excitement of your first visit. it is also a good idea to view the property on two different times of day/days of the week- especially if you are concerned about crime, be sure to see the surrounding community after dark. Use this list of Questions to Ask Your Landlord to help you determine if a rental property is the right one- don't forget to think about hidden costs, regular access to maintenance, supportiveness of the landlord, and any type of security for the property.
When moving in to your rental unit, it is a good idea to complete an inventory of your property- this can help you save your deposit and damage fees upon moving out. Your property management group may also require a separate inventory form to be completed along with your lease agreement. If your landlord does not provide one, you can print this Move-In Condition Checklist as an easy way to track the condition of the property prior to occupancy. For furnished apartments, don't forget to note what items have been provided, as well as their condition.
Off campus students play a huge role in the relationships that DeSales University has with the surrounding community. Building a positive relationship with your neighbors is not only encouraged but expected. Should you choose to host a social gathering during your time as a student, please keep the following in mind.
Hosting a responsible gathering means that everyone has had a good time, and that you have not caused any inconvenience to your neighbors in any way. In fact, it may be helpful to talk with your neighbors about their expectations in advance of the gathering. Only those individuals who are 21 years of age may be permitted to consume alcohol. Providing alcohol to those under 21 can fall under the responsibility of everyone living in the unit and can have serious consequences as outlined in the DeSales University Student Handbook. Know who your guests are, and keep all noise to a respectable level, as noise and people gathering outside with containers will draw attention to your property. Ask all guests to take a part in cleaning up once the gathering is over. Remember that failure to adhere to these guidelines can easily result in a compromised relationship with your neighbors, as well as response from local law enforcement or the University.