Finding off-campus housing in Berkeley: A guide for freshmen

Illustration of a green apartment complex
Betsy Siegal/File

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As you hit the halfway point of your freshman year and your time in the dorms, you may be thinking about what to do for housing next fall. And so it begins, looking for potential housemates and potential apartments to move into. But where do you look? How do you avoid getting scammed? We’ve gone through the off-campus housing search multiple times and have witnessed many variations of the process. Here at the Clog, we provide you with a guide on how to find off-campus housing in Berkeley.

Browse on public websites

Winter break is a good time to browse options while many are available. Look for listings on websites such as Zillow, Apartments.com and Craigslist and contact landlords to see if you can schedule a showing for mid-spring semester. These sites normally allow you to filter by rent, location, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, housing type and amenities.

Join Facebook housing groups

There are several community groups on Facebook catered toward Berkeley student lease and sublease. UC Berkeley Off-Campus Housing and UC Berkeley Housing, Rooms, Apartments, Sublets are a couple of the biggest groups, but beware of spam! Ask to video call or visit, and try to look for posts from people that look like Berkeley students (Hint: Club recruitment flyers as cover photos are most likely real students), but always be careful sending your personal information to someone you’ve only met online.

Look around physically

If you know the general area you want to live in, going around the neighborhood and actually looking at potential apartments and houses is an option. Many apartments have phone numbers on the outside with information about what type of rooms are available, so you can simply call the number for more details on what’s inside. This method will not guarantee availability, but it will most likely get you in direct contact with the landlord.

Contact graduating seniors

You can try the methods above, but the easiest and most convenient method of all? Contact those you know who are leaving Berkeley. Graduating seniors or exchange students who are at the end of their time here are good people to ask if you can take over their lease — you may even be able to keep or buy all the furniture off of them.

Remember to consider the price, location, room situation, laundry and parking availability, convenience and most importantly, safety when looking for a place to live. Joining Greek life and housing with a fraternity or sorority is also an option many choose. Whichever way you go about with your search, good luck and happy apartment hunting!

Contact Eunkyo Jo at [email protected].