Many students live in off-campus houses and apartments in the many neighborhoods surrounding the university. Public transportation and university shuttle buses make nearby communities easily accessible to the campus.
Carnegie Mellon University encourages students to live on campus for their entire undergraduate journey, as we know that the residential experience significantly contributes to academic success, personal development and graduating on time. At the same time, we recognize that some upper-class students choose to move off-campus and nearly all of our graduate students live off campus. We hope the following resources will be helpful as you make your housing decisions.
Make Sure You Are Asking These Questions
This list of questions, as well as the On-Campus and Off-Campus Housing Checklist (pdf), can prevent you from incurring any unforeseen costs or from having any problems with your lease.
Rent and Additional Costs
- Is there an application or holding fee? If yes, what is the cost?
- What utilities are included in the rent?
- How much is the security deposit?
- When is the rent due?
- In case you plan to study abroad for part of the school year or summer, are variable lease options available (six, nine, or 12 months)?
- Is individual lease liability offered?
- How many people is this unit legally zoned for?
In the city of Pittsburgh, it is illegal for more than three unrelated individuals to live together in a residential dwelling.
- Do you have a rental license on file with the city of Oakland?
- Will I be able to sublet my unit in the summer or for study abroad?
Repairs and Maintenance
- Will any repairs be made to the unit prior to move in?
- How quickly do you make repairs when there is a work request or maintenance issue?
- Do you take before and after pictures to help guarantee I get my security deposit back?
- What type of security does the building offer?
- What is offered for parking?
- What appliances are provided and how old/new are they?
- Who is responsible for yard maintenance and snow removal?
Finding Housing in Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh has a vibrant housing rental market due to the large number of colleges and universities located in the downtown and east areas of the city. Nearly all Carnegie Mellon graduate students live in off-campus apartments. Students are encouraged to start their housing searches as early as possible since the demand for housing in the communities surrounding Carnegie Mellon tends to be very high.
CMU Off-Campus Housing
CMU's Off-Campus Housing website allows anyone with an @andrew.cmu.edu email address to browse listings. Many students have great success with finding housing from the companies and landlords on the Off-Campus Housing site. Please be aware that Carnegie Mellon does not visit or inspect any of the properties listed on the site.
As you prepare for your move to Pittsburgh, make sure to resolve or accommodate any existing obligations and anticipate new ones. You may find using a checklist helpful.
Some examples of things to consider:
- Notify current landlord of lease termination
- Schedule utilities to be shut off and paid
- Submit change of address form to IRS, DMV and USPS
- Transfer car insurance to new address
- Establish a budget
- Visit Pittsburgh
- Find an apartment in Pittsburgh (furnished/unfurnished)
- Arrange for utilities and new service hookups
- Establish moving dates
- Recruit help as needed (friends, family, moving company)
- Arrange for long-term storage as needed
- Change voter registration and drivers license
- Open new bank account in Pittsburgh
- Obtain new renter's insurance
Utilities and Residential Services
As you search for the right apartment, it is important to also consider information about utilities and residential services. This is one of the major differences between on-campus and off-campus housing; all utilities are included in the price of your room rate for on-campus housing.
The utility company that supplies utilities to your apartment or house depends on the area that you live in. You should ask your landlord or refer to the lease to determine which companies to contact.
Find out which services are included in the rental cost (paid by your landlord) and which are not (paid by you.) For utilities that are paid by you, you are responsible for setting up those utilities with the company and being there during the time of installation or set up.
Companies supplying electricity to residential customers in Pittsburgh:
Ask your landlord which supplier serves your neighborhood:
Water and Sewage
Determined by neighborhood. Ask your landlord.
Garbage and Recycling
Determined by neighborhood. Ask your landlord.
Internet, Phone and TV
Competing companies provide Pittsburgh residents many options:
Short-term and Temporary Housing Options
Most landlords and management companies in the Pittsburgh area require one-year leases for all of their properties and units. However, below are some companies who may be able to provide short-term or temporary housing options.
- Hampton Inn (Pittsburgh University/Medical Center)
- Wyndham Pittsburgh University Center
- The Inn on Negley
- Hilton Garden Inn (Pittsburgh University Place)
- DoubleTree by Hilton
- Drury Plaza Hotel Pittsburgh Downtown