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Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the Office of Off-Campus Housing and Community Engagement and what services does it provide?

The Office of Off-Campus Housing and Community Engagement (OCHCE), under the directorship of Dr. Valarie G. Turner, seeks to enhance off-campus living with rewarding, experiential learning growth experiences reflective of the University’s core values of Truth, Excellence, Leadership and Service.

As residential citizens in a diverse local and global community, it is of paramount importance that the ideals of mutual respect, community awareness and engagement are represented by our off campus Bison as you continue to serve as exemplars of the University.

To that end, the Office provides:

  • liaison accountability for students who reside off campus,
  • an off-campus housing inventory for students, faculty and staff choosing to live in the Washington Metropolitan area,
  • informational materials such as community living tips and safety information,
  • community educational support,
  • community/student liaison support, and
  • conflict resolution support.


2. Where is the office located?

The office is located at 2401 Fourth Street, N.W., Tubman Quadrangle – Lower Level and operates during regular University business hours of 8:30am – 5:00pm daily. Our office phone number is 202-806-9216. For information and/or concerns, you may email us at


3. Who is eligible for off-campus housing?

Upper class and graduate students are eligible for off-campus housing.


4. How do I find off-campus housing through your office?

Through our website,, you will find listings of available properties to include prices and any applicable student discounts.  You may also contact the office to see if any additional accommodations may be available based on calls from property owners in the area.  However, all are encouraged to register with our website to ensure that students have the best options available at their fingertips.


5. How do I apply for a property of interest?

You must apply directly with your property of interest. This may include filling out a lease application, providing a security deposit and/or application fee, and undergoing a credit check to be approved for the apartment. In some instances, a co-signer may be required. Let the leasing staff know that you are a Howard University student, faculty member or staff to see if any discounts apply.


6. Do I have to sign up for a 12 month lease?

Leases normally occur in 12, 9, 6 and sometimes 3 month intervals. Some allow month-to- month leases. However, a 12-month lease is the norm. Shorter leases, to include the month-to- month option, normally come with a higher monthly premium. Be sure to make it clear to your leasing office the kind of lease you prefer.


7. If I want to rent a room in a private property, are the requirements the same?

Private owners govern their own properties. However, there will still be a lease application, security deposits and possibly an application fee. A credit check will normally be conducted.

In the District of Columbia, private owners are required to have a Basic Business License (BBL) to rent to you. This license ensures that the property meets minimum safety and occupational standards to rent.  When looking at private homes in the District, please be sure that the property owner has the BBL. You may check on whether your owner has a BBL at If a BBL does not exist, seek another property that does.  Should your property owner need information on the BBL, direct him/her to the D.C. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs’ website to apply.


8.  After I select my new off-campus home, do I need to report my address to the University?

Yes! It is mandatory. For safety and quality of life purposes, it is mandatory that you update your address in the Bison web system. Failure to do so may result in a “hold” being placed on your account resulting in your inability to register for classes.


9. I am now in my new apartment home/room, what is my responsibility to the Community?

It is expected that you will be a respectful resident and citizen.  While you have the right to enjoy your living experience, you do not have the right to infringe on the rights of those in the community who want a peaceful existence. The District of Columbia has enacted the Disorderly Conduct Amendment Act of 2010, therefore, loud noises and partying must be kept to a minimum. Unreasonably loud noises may NOT occur between 10:00pm and 7:00am. If this does occur, you may be subject to complaints, eviction, arrest, subject to a misdemeanor and upon conviction, fined, imprisoned or both.  Complaints from the community may be registered with this office and may result in penalties from the University. Proven repetitive noise complaints may even result in expulsion from the University.


10. What are the benefits of living off-campus?

The most lucrative benefit of off-campus living is learning to co-exist in the community with diverse people, customs, and beliefs and learning to do so harmoniously. This is the introduction to a major life skill that will help you for years to come!

Our Mission

The Division Student Affairs supports the mission of the University by providing student-centered, high quality programs that promote an appreciation of diversity and foster a strong university community.


Address & Phone

Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs
2400 Sixth Street, Suite 201
Washington, DC 20059

Telephone: 202-806-2100 
Fax: 202-806-9302