Where do I search for off campus housing for Cal Student

My daughter is a freshman at Cal and will have to move out of the dorms in May.  Where can I search for off campus housing?  How soon should I start?  What is the best way to find out about students who will be leaving in May and try to take over their lease.....and the all important question, do you know of anyone leaving their apartment that lives near the campus?

Parent Replies

New responses are no longer being accepted.

I went to Cal. There should be a couple big rental agencies that your daughter can sign up for that will have listings. There's also Craigslist for apartment listings. It's Nov now so your daughter should start asking people in Jan/Feb if they want to live with her next year. Best to ask early and form a group before people are taken. From there, she and her friends have to come up with their budgets and start responding to ads. They'll find something. As a mom, the best thing you can do is guide her but let her do the search with her friends. It's an important part of growing up. Mom should be the one finding the apartment for her, IMO. Good luck!

UC Berkeley does have housing on its website: 


I don't recommend it. Is is so clumsy and clunky. Craigslist is the place. Most people only give 30 days notice when moving, so looking too far ahead can be frustrating. But it is a good idea to start the search early to get an idea of what is available at what price. Apartments may be brand spanking new or 100 years old. Does she want to live in the crazy Southside area, or further from campus? Does she want to rent a house with friends or a studio by herself? Most places do not allow subletting, so keep that in mind if you decide you want to start a lease in June. 

Your daughter should be doing this, not you. When my daughter was a frosh three years, she and friends organized a group of roommates and found the place. The only parental involvement was co-signing the lease and hauling stuff for the move. 

Cal Housing hosts a website for landlords and owners to post vacancies for apartments, houses, and rooms. It is free to students, the owners pay a small fee. Perhaps if your daughter is ready to live off campus, she could ask around among her friends and classmates for a share situation where a graduating senior is leaving. It is unlikely to find a lease that permits another person to "take it over". Berkeley is a rent-controlled city and rent controlled apartments are dependent upon vacancy for rental increases. Good luck.

Start with Cal Rentals (details here: http://housing2.berkeley.edu/calrentals), but these days you can probably also search Craig's List, etc.  Or better yet, have her search - she'll gain valuable life skills in the process.

Craig's list, Cal Rentals other have her ask other students.  April/May is the time. I'm hearing prices for a small studio in the apartments are renting for $3,100 month.

I rather like www.padmapper.com which takes ads from Craigslist and other websites like apartment management sites and posts them, with pictures if available, and shows you the location on the map - which is the best feature of the site. this way you can select based on location and also choose by neighborhood. 

I would also highly recommend that she ask everyone she knows - go to where students hang out and to clubs and such and say that she's looking for a place in May or June, and see if she finds something by word of mouth. Sometimes the best deals are just because you asked someone and they knew about a place. 

My son and his friends used Craigslist this past spring . Places start showing up in February with June start dates for year leases.  They started casually looking then and found a place in mid April.