The Arch Program - Thoughts and Solutions to Renting

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The new Arch program at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute has been changing the way landlords and renters approach finding housing for the upcoming school years. Since RPI has made it mandatory that Rising Juniors (current Sophomores) have to live on campus during the 2019 summer, there has been lot of confusion on what to do. Hopefully, this article will help inform you and perhaps provide some ideas and solutions to combat these problems whether you are a landlord or a renter.

The Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute has made pages on their website for the Arch discussing the in’s and out’s of it here.

What is the Arch?

As a brief summary of the program, Sophomores that participate in the Arch will have the flexibility to either study abroad or do an internship/co-op on one of the off semesters that they aren’t enrolled into RPI (Fall 19/Spring 20). The semester they have to attend is determined based upon a students major. A Sophomore who attended RPI for Fall 2018/Spring 2019 will have to do a 3rd semester in a row which will be the Summer. Depending on their schedule, they may also have to participate in the Fall 2019 semester. In other words, they have to participate in 4 back to back semesters with a few weeks of break in the winter. This is EXHAUSTING for students and I know searching for apartments will be tiresome as well.

As a renter or Landlord, there are some important Arch dates that should be considered.

ARCH 2019 (Graduating class of 2021)

  • Housing Selection was from November 13th-20th. After the 20th, you will be placed into summer housing. In other words, RPI automatically places you into summer housing and stops receiving requests for permission to live off campus. I believe this was pushed back because RPI currently is receiving a little bit of kickback from parents.

  • Housing begins May 19th, 2019. Housing ends August 17th.

Arch 2020 (Graduating Class of 2022)

  • Housing Selection will be officially decided as of January 30th.

  • Classes will begin about May 20th and classes will end about August 20th.

As you may be able to see, due to the problems with housing selection this year, RPI pushed back the housing selection date of November 20th selection to January 30th for the following year.

As a Landlord, I am interested in different aspects of the Arch that I will list below.

  • What dates will students need leases for?

  • How do we pick these leases up off of where our current leases end?

  • How can we work with students so that they aren’t forced to live on campus Fall/Spring after their Arch housing ends?

  • How can I help the students pay rent in just ONE place for the summer?

Fortunately, we have answered a lot of these questions ourselves as well as many of the students have been creative in solving their own problems for housing.

  • Fifteenth Street Housing has adopted 5, 6, 10, and 12 month leases in order to work with as many students as possible.

  • All of our current leases end in May so that we have time to clean and repair them before June 1st when our leases begin.

  • Every situation is different and as the leasing agent, I have to work with each student directly to find a solution that will work for both the student and the owner.

When I referred to the students finding their own solutions, I have seen a large number of them enter into year leases while finding subletters for either the summer or the off semester when they won’t be attending RPI. As good of a solution as this may be in order to have someone pay rent when you aren’t living there, a subletter is an individual who has NO obligations to pay rent, clean the room, pay for damages, or be contacted by 15th St Housing since we don’t know who they are. We do allow subletting but since we rent by bedroom, each tenant and each co-signer is liable for their designated bedroom.


Please feel free to contact me, Colin, on my cellphone at 814-243-0558 for questions on how I can accommodate you or your student with a flexible lease for the upcoming semesters! Thank you for reading our post and I hope I hear from you soon!