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?

When beginning your apartment search as a student, one of the first decisions you'll be faced with making is whether to lease an apartment by the bedroom or by the apartment. 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. 

Whether you are living with roommates under a joint or an individual lease, it's worthwhile to have your own informal agreements surrounding the splitting of apartment bills, sharing of chores, and general house rules. While your lease agreements involve the landlord, these other terms do not concern your landlord and don't appear on your lease. It's still a good idea to put them in writing so all roommates can have confidence, act in good faith, and refer to them as needed. 

This can easily be accomplished by creating a Roommate Agreement, where each roommate can outline their needs, responsibilities, and address potential issues. The agreement can include rules about overnight guests, television usage, groceries, and how other expenses are split and paid for. Financials can always be the stickiest situation of all so it's always a good idea to outline arrangement surrounding money and expenses so everyone is on the same page. Now that you've got a handle on the types of leases available and other agreements you might want to make with your roommates, review some pros and cons of each lease type to help you make your final decision.

Per Room (Individual Lease):


  • Per room leases (also known as by the bedroom or individual leases) allows an individual to pay rent for their room alone. If a roommate transfers or moves out of the apartments, you're not responsible for their portion of the rent.
  • Properties with individual leases tend to be fully furnished and/or all inclusive since they are marked towards students and offer amenities that appeal to this demographic.
  • Generally, apartments of this lease type are within great proximity to college campuses.


  • Rent prices can be higher due to the more all inclusive nature and prime locations of these properties.
  • Roommate dynamics can shift when roommates move out. Often, apartment communities are free to lease the vacant room to another roommate. 

Per Apartment (Joint Lease):


  • A per apartments (or joint) lease tends to be the least expensive way to rent an apartment. 
  • You have control over roommates and who you'll live with in empty bedrooms. 
  • These properties may be marketed more towards professionals and non-students, therefore, if you prefer a more quiet lifestyle or like to be further way from traditional student action this is a great choice.


  • Every occupant of the apartment home is equally responsible for money owed, so be sure to consider how well you trust your future roommates' financial situation.
  • In joint-leased apartments, other bills such as cable, internet, electricity, and water will not likely be bundled with the monthly rent and billed by your apartment community. You'll need to coordinate with your future roommates on splitting these monthly bills, who's responsible for paying, and how each roommate should transfer the funds to the responsible party (Venmo or PayPal are great services for easy monthly transfers!)
  • Apartments with this lease type tend to be considered "conventional" properties and not as heavily marketed towards area students. Therefore, you may not find benefits and amenities like furniture packages, all-inclusive utility offerings, etc. If you plan to stay at your college or university for 4-years, this can be a great option. Consider some drawbacks when making your decision. It may be that conflict can arise with roommates on sharing expenses - whether rent, utilities, or furniture.

Deciding Between Per Room vs. Per Unit Apartments

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.

If you're an incoming USF freshman, or student in the USF area, find your preferred lease type by searching our lists of apartments:

Search for USF Apartments with Individual Leases

Search for USF Apartments with Joint Leases

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