Residence and Commuter Life manages a list of off-campus housing options near the Glenside campus. Arcadia assumes no responsibility for the accuracy of the information provided, nor does the University investigate or endorse any housing option listed.
If you are seeking roommates, Residence and Commuter Life will post up to 10 flyers throughout designated spaces on campus for you. Bring your flyer to Student Affairs for approval. Social networking and word of mouth are also good ways to identify roommates. Sometimes, our staff knows students seeking roommates and can connect you with them.
Whether you are living with a close friend or someone new, it is important to talk about expectations before signing the lease. We’ve generated Roommate Conversation Starters for commuter students to frame discussions with potential roommates and get you thinking about your responsibilities as renters.
Off-Campus Housing FAQs
Is there a code of conduct students must adhere by off campus?
Students are subject to the Code of Conduct both on and off campus. Arcadia works hard to maintain a positive relationship with Abington and Cheltenham Police. You, your housemates, and guests can be subject to legal liability, fines, and University sanctions for violations that occur.
Examples of Pennsylvania Laws and Abington and Cheltenham Township Bylaws include:
- Excessive noise that disturbs others is illegal. Loud music, yelling, and barking dogs can result in a fine.
- Open containers of alcohol on public property (including streets and sidewalks) are against the law.
- Nuisance house: Throwing a rowdy off-campus party can cost you housing and fines.
- Public urination may result in being charged with indecent exposure.
- Minor in possession of alcohol: Under 21, you can be arrested, jailed, and fined.
- Underage drivers transporting alcohol can lose their license and be fined.
- Failure to disperse when police order you to leave can result in arrest.
- Selling or providing alcohol to someone under 21.
- Driving Under the Influence (DUI): If arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol, your license will be suspended. A conviction means losing your license, paying big fines, and higher insurance rates.
Students are reminded that graduate schools and some employers (particularly governmental agencies and schools) can legally request information regarding your disciplinary record or a background check. An alcohol or other drug violation noted on a disciplinary record or discovered during a background check can negatively affect your chances to be admitted to some graduate programs and/or to be hired for certain jobs.
Are there tips for hosting guests responsibly?
- Check your lease to make sure parties are not prohibited. If police are called about an unruly party, Student Affairs is often notified as well.
- Set expectations for guests. Invite specific people, and do not post your party on social media.
- Tell your neighbors you’re having a party. Give them a phone number to call if there’s a problem. You’ll be able to deal with it before anyone calls the police. Ask guests to be considerate of neighbors.
- Set an end time for your party. Explain to your guests that if the neighbors complain about noise, you'll have to ask them to leave.
- Designate sober hosts to answer the phone and door, and to deal with unruly guests.
- Limit the number of people you invite. Keep track of who is at your party, and have people enter and exit through one door. Put valuable items in a secure location.
- Check IDs if you’re serving alcohol, and consider having a separate room for alcohol where only those 21+ can enter. If people under 21 are drinking, you can be held liable.
- Keep the noise down, and keep people inside. If there are a lot of people outside, police take notice and stop. Excessive noise is often the reason your neighbors will call the police and report a party.
Don’t let anyone drink and drive. Encourage Ubers or let people stay the night.
How should I prevent frozen pipes over winter break?
If you will be away over the winter break, do not turn your heat off. You can turn your thermostat down, but set it to no lower than 55 degrees. Turning your heat off or setting the thermostat lower than 55 degrees may cause significant damage if the pipes freeze. The cost, often in the thousands of dollars, could potentially be passed on to you.
Make arrangements with your landlord to safeguard your residence against this potentially serious and costly problem. If you notice your water pipes are exposed to cold air—such as those next to exterior walls or gaps in walls, floors and/or insulation—point these out to the landlord or owner in writing. Consider taking pictures. Taking these actions may help you avoid having your pipes freeze, and could serve as protection against your financial liability should that happen.
How can I prevent my home from break-ins and theft?
Whether you are going home for a weekend or leaving for break, it is important to keep your apartment/house secure to prevent burglaries.
- Make sure all doors and windows are locked.
- Do not leave a spare key outside (i.e. under the floor mat) unless it is in a combination key lockbox.
- Ask a neighbor, friend, or your landlord to occasionally check on your house or apartment. Give them a spare key and emergency contact information.
- Make sure all windows are closed and secure and your blinds are closed.
- Make sure all entrances are well lit. A burglar is less likely to break into a door where they can easily be seen.
- If you will be gone for more than a few days, stop mail delivery or arrange for a neighbor to pick up your mail. A full mailbox could alert a burglar that your home is unoccupied.
- Take valuables with you. If you do leave valuables, make sure they are away from windows and out of sight.
- Do not leave any notes for friends or service people on your door. This could indicate to a burglar that no one is home.
How can I prepare for emergencies in off-campus housing?
Emergency preparedness is an important aspect of living in your own apartment, condo, or house. Winter weather emergencies, blackouts, and hurricanes are common emergencies in the greater Philadelphia area. Knowing what to do before, during, and after an emergency is a critical part of being prepared, and may make all the difference when seconds count.
These U.S. government sites offer great advice on preparing for emergencies and staying aware when emergencies happen, including:
Additionally, Arcadia’s offices of Public Safety and Marketing and Communication maintain a number of systems, including the University’s Emergency Notification System, SendWordNow. The system sends an email and text messages to all registered users in the event of an incident posing an immediate threat to safety (i.e. weather-related closings or delays). Update your emergency contact information to ensure you receive texts and calls.
You should also update your home address if you have moved off campus or no longer live at home. In the event of a local emergency such as flood, fire, or blackout, the University may try to identify local commuter students affected. Having the most up-to-date and accurate address and contact information for our students helps us determine who may need support.
How can I ensure my personal safety off campus?
Students at Arcadia and in the surrounding area consistently report that they feel safe. Unfortunately, each year, some students are victims of certain crimes both on and off campus. Although the Glenside area is generally safe, you have to be aware of your surroundings and take precautions to protect yourself.
In your home or apartment:
- Doors and windows should be equipped with quality locking mechanisms.
- Entry doors should have peep holes and dead bolt locks.
- Never loan out your key.
- Always lock your doors and windows at night. Never leave a door unlocked for a housemate.
- Do not leave your valuables (i.e. your ID, wallet, jewelry) in open view.
- Do not let strangers in the building or allow them to “tailgate” in behind you.
- Do not leave notes on your door that you are not there.
- Keep your shades drawn when changing clothes or retiring for the night.
- Leave spare keys with a trusted neighbor. Never hide them around the exterior of your apartment.
- Arrange for service people to come when someone else will be present.
- Avoid isolated areas (i.e. stairwells, laundry rooms, basements) when you are alone.
In your vehicle:
- Park in well-lighted areas.
- Take valuables with you or lock them in the trunk.
- Do not leave your keys in your car.
- Remember where you parked, so you don’t have to wander around.
- Keep your doors and windows locked.
- Have your key ready to open your doors as you approach your car.
- Look inside your vehicle before getting inside.
- If you are followed by someone in another vehicle, drive to an open business, fire station, police station, etc. for help. Do not drive to your residence.
- Don’t offer rides to people you don’t know.
- Protect your computer from Internet intruders. Use anti-virus software and firewalls.
- Create passwords that would be difficult for someone to guess.
- Never give your name, address, telephone number, passwords, credit card numbers, or other personal information to others online.
- Never agree to meet alone and face to face with someone you’ve met online. Take a friend with you and meet in a public place.
- Never respond to messages from unfamiliar persons.
Does Arcadia provide fire safety tips for off-campus housing?
There are several causes for fires on college campuses, including cooking, intentionally set fires, overloaded power strips, and open flame. Most college-related fires are due to a general lack of knowledge about fire safety and prevention. It is important that both on- and off-campus students understand fire risks and know the preventative measures that could save their lives.
Before signing a lease, ask:
- Are working smoke alarms installed? (Preferably in each bedroom, interconnected to sound all if any one detects smoke.)
- Are there at least two ways to exit your bedroom and your building?
- Do the upper floors of the building have at least two interior stairs or a fire escape?
- Is a sprinkler system installed and maintained?
- Are the existing electrical outlets adequate for all of the appliances, computers, printers, and electronics without the need for extension cords?
- Are there exit signs in the building hallways to indicate accessible escape routes?
- Does the building have a fire alarm system installed and maintained?
- Has the building’s heating system been inspected in the last year?
- Is the building address clearly posted to allow emergency services to find you quickly?
- Does the sprinkler system or fire alarm system send a signal to the local fire department and/or campus security?
- Make sure candles are in sturdy holders and put out after each use. Never leave a burning candle unattended, and keep them away from draperies and linens. Flameless candles are a safe alternative.
- Cook only where it is permitted, and keep the area clean and uncluttered. Never leave cooking unattended. If a fire starts in a microwave or electric oven, keep the door closed and unplug the unit.
- Make sure cigarettes and ashes are out. Never toss hot cigarette butts or ashes in the trash can. Use deep, wide ashtrays, placed on something sturdy and hard to ignite. After a party, check for cigarette butts, especially under cushions. It is risky to smoke when you have been drinking or are drowsy.