Housing space takes on many forms: private apartments, private rooms, shared rooms and even living rooms are being offered to potential tenants across the city. The type of housing situations also varies, with apartment buildings, luxury apartments, condo splitting, flat splitting and ‘in-law’ units being the most common places where students will take up residence.
In San Francisco, as is in all major cities, leases typically last 12 months, with month to month rental agreements being extremely hard to come by. If you are planning on staying for less than 12 months, Off-Campus Housing Director Rocha suggests looking at subletting as an option. For even shorter spells, or if you’re having friends stay in the city but your place is too small, Rocha lists hostels as good short term accommodations. USA Hostels, Hostel International: City Center SF and Adelaide Hostel are three viable options located in the heart of the city by Union Square.
The first check you will be cutting for your landlord will typically be equal to one month’s rent, plus the security deposit. If you are on the prowl and find an apartment you are especially fond of but you are just not quite ready to sign on the dotted line, do not expect a landlord to ‘hold’ it till you are good and ready. If the space is open expect a down payment once the landlord has approved you.
Older housing units are typically smaller with no amenities, but Rocha thinks they come with a lot of character. Since these types of units are usually on the cheaper end of the spectrum, someone on a smaller budget might benefit from looking for places that meet this criteria.
If having a dog is something you’re seriously considering, you should know that there will be a shortage of apartments available to you and your furry friend. Back in 2014, a rental search startup, Lovely, reported that in San Francisco just 17 percent of the rental apartments on their site specifically indicate that dogs are accepted, compared with 40 percent in Los Angeles and 48 percent in Chicago.
If you are lucky enough to find a place that does allow animals, then be prepared to face higher rent and accessibility issues with your pet. Is there enough space for the two of you? How far is the nearest park? What about a vet in case of emergency? Do they have to be leashed? Where can they poop? Where can’t they? These are all questions to consider when moving in with your pet.
When you finally find that off-campus apartment, be sure to polish up on your recycling, composting and trashing skills as Recology SF (the company responsible for picking up your trash) has no time to be sorting through your bins. If you fill up your blue recycling bin with food that is supposed to go in the green bin, do not be surprised when your trash is left uncollected. The garbage collectors will simply look inside, deny you trash privilege, and move on.
For more personalized one-on-one help, Rocha said that the Off-campus housing advisors are available at the University Center’s 5th floor for drop in counseling that requires an email to the office at firstname.lastname@example.org. Rocha said that she or one of her colleagues will advise you on topics ranging from landlord problems to apartment hunting online.