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Penn will begin leasing The Radian in August 2023. Credit: Anna Vazhaeparambil

After Penn announced that it would be leasing The Radian for on-campus student housing to accommodate renovations in the Quad, current residents say they are worried about rising rent rates and housing policy changes as a result.

The Penn Board of Trustees voted on Sept. 22 to lease The Radian, an off-campus apartment complex, as student housing to facilitate renovations in the Quad over the next three years, starting August 2023. Current Radian residents have the option to renew their lease, but they must go through Penn to do so.

Students currently living in The Radian expressed confusion and concern about Penn's leasing of the off-campus apartment complex.

Engineering junior Helena Zhang is currently living in a four-bedroom apartment suite with three roommates. She said that the group's original plan was to renew their lease at the end of the year, but Penn's plan to lease The Radian could pose a financial barrier to current residents.

"If Penn is actually going to rent out The Radian, the price might go up from when we signed the lease, so one of our roommates might not be able to stay with us," Zhang said.

Various college houses within the Quad will be closed for renovations from May 2023 to May 2026. During this time, first-year students who would have lived in the Quad will instead be placed into one of Penn’s four-year college houses.

Upperclass students will be able to select The Radian as a housing option this spring semester during the housing selection process. Housing in The Radian through Penn will cost $15,418 per academic year — the same as Penn’s current higher-cost housing option, Doug Berger, executive director of business services, previously told the DP.

Penn's decision to lease The Radian may force some students to reconsider their housing plans next year, but some say they are still waiting to learn more about how this decision affects their chances at renewing their lease.

Zhang said that she and her roommates, as well as other Radian residents they know, are wondering how the renewal process will change now that Penn will lease the complex.

"We want to know, if Penn were to rent out The Radian, how the process will be," Zhang said. "Do people who currently live in The Radian get priority to renew, or are we going to be thrown in the pool with everyone else?"

College junior Kyle Huang, who lives in a four-bedroom suite in The Radian, echoed Zhang's sentiments. He added that he is concerned about whether Penn will honor residents' existing leases. Unlike on-campus residents, who must move out by the end of May, Huang's lease with The Radian is set to expire in July.

College senior Angela Lao, who also lives in a four-bedroom apartment suite with three roommates, said she was concerned about the future of the building when Penn takes over. Lao said that some residents are considering not returning after learning that Penn would begin leasing it, starting the next academic year.

She echoed concerns about the increase in pricing under Penn ownership, and said that she has many questions about how the building will function as an on-campus dorm. 

“I feel like the pricing for housing in general for residents might be a concern,” Lao said. “On-campus housing is relatively more expensive.”