While living on campus is a fine option for the first year or so at Pitt, many students find themselves inevitably drawn to the charms of South Oakland. It’s fun to look at all the house listings on Facebook and Zillow, but it can become overwhelming when you realize there are hundreds of other kids all scrambling to sign for the same listings that you are. Since I went through this exact process after my freshman year and once again this past November, I’ve decided to compile some helpful resources for other students looking to live off campus.
One of the best places to go to look for off campus housing, whether it be subletting or advice or listings, is the Pitt Off-Campus Apartments Facebook group. While this is the group I used the most, there are also a couple others that you may find helpful. This one advertises itself as for both Pitt and CMU students, and this one is another that targets Pitt students looking for houses, subleases and apartments. On top of the apartment and house listings posted on these Facebooks pages, many people also post about furniture and appliances they are looking to sell or give away, which is especially helpful when you’re looking to furnish your new place on a budget.
This might not seem like the most helpful place to visit when looking at moving off campus, however the r/Pitt reddit is full of seasoned South Oaklanders trying to help others avoid their past mistakes. One specific thread has 50 comments of other students advising you what landlords and management companies to avoid when renting off campus. If you search r/Pitt you’ll also find dozens of other threads sharing more of this information. Even though some of these threads are years old, the landlords of South Oakland haven’t changed all that much and the information you’ll find it still relevant. It’s also worth searching for your specific landlord’s name to see if anything pops up.
- Pitt OFF Campus Living (OCL)
Pitt OCL is a resource provided by the University itself. Their website has resources, apartment searches and a way to contact their office for advice. Last year I was able to get a brochure and other papers from OCL listing out things such as illegal provisions to look out for in future leases. They also informed me about the student legal services that SGB provides in case you want to have someone look over your lease before you sign it. I recommend contacting Pitt OCL because they’re experienced when it comes to helping students and answering questions, which helps take some of the stress and confusion out of dealing with landlords and legal jargon.
Finding a place in South Oakland is a fun and stressful experience, but hopefully these resources will be beneficial to any students preparing to start their search. Happy house hunting!