Ever since Campus Hill, a Lehigh apartment rental agency, was bought by a Hong Kong investment firm in 2018, the company has been offering incentives to students to encourage them to sign leases.
Chris Pollan, ‘20, and Liam Hanna, ‘20, both live on Hillside Avenue under Campus Hill leases. Pollan said one of the incentives Campus Hill gives is a month of free rent for referring new tenants.
According to the company’s website, Campus Hill is entering new students who sign leases into a raffle to pay for their spring break vacation.
Mike Nah, ‘22, is planning to live in SouthSide Commons next year and said the cheaper prices for off-campus housing is attractive to students. Nah said Campus Hill may be lowering their prices in order to compete with newer off campus options for Lehigh students, such as SouthSide Commons and Five 10 Flats.
“One of the main things college students are concerned about is financial instability,” Nah said.
Nah said rent at SouthSide Commons starts near $1,000 and is above the pricing for Lehigh’s fourth tier on-campus housing, which includes Sayre Park and Farrington Square.
Pollan said his rent on Hillside is currently $840, and it is typically raised $40 to $50 a year.
“Campus Hill wants money,” Pollan said. “They increase rent on everyone every year.”
Pollan said he does not think the price for his house is worth it, considering the condition of the house. He said he believes other students feel the same way.
Light switches do not work in multiple rooms in his house, including all of the bedrooms, he said. Before moving in, the first floor collapsed into the basement and even though it was fixed, Pollan said the house is not very stable.
Hanna said Campus Hill is slow to perform maintenance and that the condition of the houses is poor.
“Out of all the off-campus houses I’ve been in, the Campus Hill ones aren’t the nicest,” Hanna said.
Nah said incentivizing students may be key to keeping students interested in off-campus options. Lehigh’s more expensive on-campus options are difficult for some to afford.
Pollan said the flexibility that off-campus rental companies offer versus the strict on-campus regulations is a draw for some. He said he has more space at his Campus Hill house, he doesn’t have to worry about being loud, and he also has a yard.
Much of Campus Hill’s housing is toward the east side of campus on East Fifth Street and Hillside Avenue. Because these houses are in popular and sought-out locations, students typically have to sign a lease their freshman year to be able to live there as a junior.
Campus Hill declined a request to comment.