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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Answers to FAQs

What is the Office of Off-Campus Housing and Community Engagement? 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 learning and growth experiences.

The office works to ensure that students living off-campus still receive a living experience that is 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 paramount that the ideals of mutual respect, community awareness, and engagement are represented by our off-campus Bison. No matter where students live, we expect that you continue to serve as exemplars of the University.

To that end, OCHCE provides:

  • liaison accountability for students who reside off-campus;
  • an off-campus housing resource-based inventory for students, faculty and staff;
  • informational materials such as community living tips and safety information;
  • community educational support;
  • community/student liaison support;
  • conflict resolution support;
  • volunteer opportunities; and
  • a student food pantry.


How can I reach OCHCE?


Office hours: 8:30am – 5:00pm daily

College Hall South, Lower Level
Inside the Office of Residence Life and University Housing
2205 Fourth Street, NW


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

OCHCE does not own or manage any off-campus properties. Our office provides listings of available housing options in the Metropolitan area (DMV).

Through our website,, you will find listings of available properties, their prices, and a resource to find potential roommates. 


I’m interested in a property. How do I apply?

You must independently contact or visit the property to apply. OCHCE cannot apply on your behalf.

The application process 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.


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

Leases normally occur in 12-, 9-, 6-, and sometimes 3-month intervals. Some properties 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 payment. Be sure to make it clear to your leasing office the kind of lease you prefer.


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 Click on Online services, then business license, and then verify business license by entering address.

If a BBL does not exist, seek another property that has a BBL. 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.


How do I pay for off-campus housing?

Payment methods vary.

Students use scholarships, grants, private funding, and loans to pay for their housing accommodations.

You can check with your funder or the Office of Financial Aid to determine if you can use your funding to pay for your off campus housing.


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

Yes! It is recommended that you update your current address in your BisonWeb account.

For safety and quality of life purposes, it is encouraged that you update your address in the BisonWeb system.

Failure to do so may result in a “hold” being placed on your account resulting in your inability to register for classes.


I am now in my new apartment/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 to live peacefully.

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 you find yourself in violation of this act, 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 will result in conduct disciplinary actions and even expulsion from the University.


What are the benefits of living off-campus?

The most lucrative benefit of off-campus living is learning to harmoniously co-exist in the community with diverse people, customs, and beliefs. 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