I'm searching for a USF apartment and am confused by the per room and per apartment paying options. Which one would be preferred for a freshman?

Photo of IQ ApartmentsIQ apartments is a complex that sits right across from the University of South Florida. Just a 3-minute walk from the campus center.

The University of South Florida has many surrounding off-campus apartments. The real challenge is finding what amenities are best to prioritize. The base of searching for an apartment is to pick between a per room or per apartment rent. There are additional things to consider along with per room and per unit options. Therefore, sitting down and weighing out the pros and cons of each option can narrow down your decision. 

Per room: 

At its core, the per room option allows an individual to pay for their room. The opposite is exact of per apartment, as roommates must depend on each other to pay the rent in full. This is a popular option amongst many student housing apartments because each person is responsible for their rent. Often these are more than 1-bedroom apartments with roommate matching available. Beyond that, per room apartments tend to be fully furnished in both the common areas and rooms.  

Per room leases have the security that if your roommate does not pay their rent; it does not negatively affect you. Another pro is that per room apartments are directly marketed towards college students and may offer some more proximity to USF. However, some cons to per room leases are that often enough they are pricier options. It's recommended for most people who are moving in without any roommates or friends. An additional con is that when roommates move out, new roommates come in, which might change the dynamic that you have set with your previous roommates. This can be a deal-breaker for some people as it means you must adjust all over again.  

Per apartment:  

Per apartment leases in apartments near USF offer the option to rent out the entire apartment for a set price. This does not include any separation of rooms. The whole rent must be paid in full by the apartment occupants, and the consequences of not paying rent can affect everyone in the lease. Also, utilities are usually separate, and it is treated more like a "real" apartment. There aren't any possibilities of new roommates to be added to your apartment, and you have more control over the apartment itself. The apartments tend to have more traditional amenities such as laundry room, pantry, and even multiple bedrooms. The big pro is that when you're moving in with roommates or friends you already know, it can make living comfortable since you won't be roommate matched with people you don't know.

One of the more significant cons is that it is not fully furnished, so more money does have to be spent on furnishing the apartment. Per apartment, leases are geared more towards permanent stays, especially for four years. Another con may be that it may arise some conflicts with roommates on sharing expenses, whether rent, utilities, or furniture.  

Decisions to be made

It can be quite challenging to choose which payment option you would rather have. However, making a list of apartments, both per room and per unit options, and comparing the pros and cons can simplify options. As a USF freshman, consider the possibilities of transportation, accessibility, and price before making your decision.

These are the opinions of writers and not the opinions of RentTampaBay.com or any of our advertising partners.