Looking For a Place to Call Home

The annual housing crunch is back and in full force as hoards of UCSD students find themselves in need of housing. Demand for off-campus housing is especially high this year with students no longer guaranteed housing for their sophomore year.

Jennifer Myer
Guardian

What does that mean to students looking for housing? According to Justin Taylor, a leasing specialist at The Villas of Renaissance, it means that students need to start house hunting immediately.

“”[The students] need to start looking now,”” Taylor said. “”We already have a waiting list for housing in September. It is only going to get busier.””

This can be a sobering realization for students who have yet to begin their quests for housing, but before huddling in a corner and crying about visions of whoring themselves on a street corner for shelter, they should take comfort in the fact that there is help available for the search.

Beginning

There are several different ways that one can go about finding available apartments.

One means is the Off-Campus Housing office, located in the Eucalyptus Lounge in the Student Center. At the office, students can find a plethora of information regarding available housing off campus, including openings, roommates and other possibilities.

Another popular method is to drive around town and look into complexes that seem appealing. While this may take more time than some other methods, it allows students to get acquainted with the areas surrounding their potential dwellings by driving around them for the day.

For those students who prefer to find housing on their own, but want to have some direction, they can find a wealth of information on the Web or in the various free housing magazines that are available at the entrances of most area supermarkets. These allow students to decide which communities they would like to visit before they decide to drive aimlessly through the city.

Choosing

Ruben James, a leasing representative from Costa Verde Village, recommends looking at several different places until you find one that suits you.

“”The best thing to do is to just shop around and take a look at what the different places have to offer,”” James said. “”You should probably choose three to five communities that you really like.””

Once you find those communities, both Taylor and James recommend getting on wait lists.

“”Students should definitely take advantage of wait lists at properties that offer them,”” James said. “”They are a great way to secure some sort of availability for an apartment.””

As is the case with people, not all wait lists are created equal.

Most complexes charge a completely refundable fee for getting on their wait list. This fee can range anywhere from $20 to $200. A few places, such as The Villas of Renaissance, even take credit cards for the deposit.

Costa Verde Village is one of the few area properties that has no wait list. This is due to the fact that the complex is opening up a new building and is leasing those rooms out now.

For the most part, people get on wait lists and specify a certain month that they would like to move in. Since most places remain at capacity throughout the year, or close to it, they do not know when they will have openings until tenants give their 30-day notice to move out.

At that point, the people on wait lists are contacted and offered the opening. If they like it, then it is theirs. If they don’t, or if they have another apartment already, then the wait list deposit is refunded.

Prices

While there are places out there for just about any price range, students should be realistic about what they expect to pay in La Jolla.

Unless you’re willing to live in a roach motel, you should expect to pay somewhere between $1,100 and $1,500 for a cozy two-bedroom apartment.

Before making a decision purely on price, students should also consider what they are getting for their money. For example, while the cheapest two-bedroom apartment at The Villas of Renaissance costs $1,585, there are several benefits that come with living in that community.

The Villas of Renaissance offers a fitness center with free weights, an aerobics room, a sauna, four pools, four Jacuzzis and several activities ranging from movies to dances, of which are all included in the rent.

“”We are a very activities-based community,”” said Taylor. “”We really like to keep things interesting for the residents.””

Some complexes also include some, or all, utilities in the rental price, something that can be very valuable with the current high prices of water and electricity.

In contrast to those high prices, Costa Verde Village offers a two-bedroom and two-bath model for a mere $1,350. Couple that price with a high success rate of people getting housing, and it is not surprising that Costa Verde Village has become one of the more popular communities for UCSD students.

Of course, those are La Jolla prices for La Jolla apartments. If you want to save money, there is always the option of going to neighboring areas for cheaper housing.

Pacific Beach, Clairemont, Mira Mesa and Del Mar are all communities that have benefited from college students seeking inexpensive housing.

Signing the Lease

There are several different leasing options available to students.

Most places offer leases ranging from month-to-month to full-year leases. For students, there may be nine-month leases that run from September to June, perfect for the school year.

Co-signers may be necessary to sign the lease at some apartments, as some leases can require the renter to put down two or even three times the monthly rental price. This is why many college students have their parents co-sign for their apartments.