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Here's a compilation of information you will need to continue your housing search while at UC San Diego. Visit the websites listed below for detailed information.


Be aware of scams; we recommend that you only rent from leasing agents and rental companies. Check out their Better Business Bureau rating for any complaints.

Step 1: Prepare 

Documents commonly needed

Individuals seeking to rent or buy a home will be asked to provide proof of identity. Proof of Identification document, such as:
  • U.S Government issued ID
  • Passport
Applicants must also demonstrate financial ability to pay a monthly rent. A typical requirement is to have a total monthly household income of at least 2.5 times the monthly rent. Proof of income document, such as:
  • Most recent pay statements
  • Offer letter indicating income
  • Other recent income verification document.
Additional items are required but will vary depending on the landlord/rental agency.

Information Commonly Needed

Legal Name
Names of every adult that will reside at residence.

Social Security Number (SSN) 
A Social Security Number is used as a way to verify credit history. If you do not provide a social security number you could be asked to pay an increased deposit. The maximum allowed security deposit amount is 2 times the rent for an unfurnished unit and 3 times the rent for a furnished unit.

Contact Information
U.S. Phone number and email that you can be reached out. Most rental agencies will also ask for emergency contact information.

Additional information is required but will vary depending on the landlord/rental agency.

Address Format in U.S.

U.S. Address Format
[First Name of Recipient] [Last Name of Recipient]
[Street Number] [Street Name] [Apartment or Unit Number] 
[City], [State Abbreviation] [Zip Code]

Sample U.S. Address Format
Tommy Triton
1234 University Ave. Apt 101
San Diego, CA 92122

Step 2: Considerations


Living in San Diego, especially near the UC San Diego campus, is very expensive it is important to consider your budget before beginning to look for a place to live.

When you submit an application to rent a location there may be an application fee per adult that will be living in the household. The application fee is typically non-refundable.

If your application is approved, typically you are either approved or approved with conditions. If an applicant has no credit or bad credit, they could be approved with conditions and be asked to pay a higher security deposit.  

A deposit is typically required to hold your rental, until your move in date when you are provided the keys. Be prepared to pay a security deposit equal to at least one month’s rent (which may be refunded upon leaving). This is in addition to the first month’s rent.

Many apartments near UC San Diego campus require that show you proof of purchasing renters insurance after your application has been approved. Renters insurance prices can vary depending on coverage levels and location. Your landlord/leasing agency will let you know the minimum coverage they require, if any.

Apart from the fees to secure a rental and monthly rent, there are additional monthly fees such as utilities (San Diego Gas & Electric - SDGE) and internet. Most rentals include water and trash. Review your lease agreement to see what monthly fees you and your landlord are responsible.


When searching for housing in San Diego, keep in mind that individuals may refer to the neighborhood name, see map of nearby San Diego Neighborhoods. UC San Diego is in the University City neighborhood which is also referred to as the Golden Triangle. The Golden Triangle is the area between the 805 freeway, 5 freeway and 52 freeway. The area near the UTC Mall is also referred to UTC.
When searching for housing we recommend that you review the safety reports for the area.

UC San Diego publishes an annual campus security report (Clery Report) which includes data regarding crime statistics on and around campus for the past three years. For information on these statistics visit the

The city of San Diego also posts a Clery Report with crime statistics by city and neighborhood.

Proximity to Public Transportation

When searching for housing in San Diego, consider the location and its proximity to public transportation. Using public transportation can save you time and parking fees when visiting a UC San Diego facility. The San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (SDMTS) trip planner tool can be a helpful resource to help you see which public transportation options are near your potential home. 

Bicycle paths
Getting around San Diego on bicycle is very popular due to the wonderful San Diego weather. 
The SDMTS has bus routes that operate throughout San Diego and connect to other transportation options such as the Trolley and Airport.
The SDMTS has Trolley's that operate throughout San Diego. The Blue line runs from San Ysidro to UC San Diego.
UC San Diego offers free shuttle options that operate in the neighborhoods near campus.

Additional Transportation information can be found on IFSO's Transportation page.

Step 3: Begin your Search


Vacancy rates are very low near the UC San Diego campus and it may take some time to find an apartment. The following are resources for locating off-campus housing:

UC San Diego Off-Campus Housing Website
UC San Diego's Off-Campus Housing website is an excellent resource if you are looking to rent in the San Diego area.  The service is free for the UC San Diego community. You can post and search rental listings, roommate ads, and sublets. Don't forget to look at their Resources page for tips regarding finding housing and commuting. 

In order to access the Online Housing database, you will need to register for an account. If you do do not have active directory or business systems credentials with UC San Diego, you can create a temporary guest account to use the website. For questions regarding the Off-Campus Housing website please contact

Alternative housing websites
Some of these links will offer “full vacancy” listings which are empty apartments for rent without roommates.

Note: The above links are suggestions, not endorsed by the International Faculty & Scholars Office. BE VERY CAUTIOUS AS SCAMS CAN HAPPEN. Housing Scams Website


The UC San Diego Housing and Dining Services Office operates several housing complexes, but options for international scholars are extremely limited.

International House
I-House is an apartment complex of single and double rooms open to single UC San Diego upper-division undergraduate students, graduate students, faculty, and researchers. The purpose of this facility is to provide an environment and programs that foster understanding and friendship among individuals from different nations and cultures. A very small number of apartments are reserved exclusively for visiting scholars.

Additional UC San Diego Housing
UC San Diego Graduate and Family Housing operates one housing complex, La Jolla Del Sol, for which scholars are eligible; the wait list can be very long.

Framework is a brand new community located two blocks from the Park & Market station on the UC San Diego Blue Line which provides direct access to the La Jolla campus and is one block away from a bus stop with several lines that provide easy bus access to the Hillcrest Medical Center.

Short Term


There are many hotels near UC San Diego. Some are within walking distance of UC San Diego. Many locations near UCSD offer a discount to UCSD employers and visitors, so ask if they offer a UC San Diego discount.

Hotel Distance from UC San Diego
Residence Inn by Marriott La Jolla Less than a mile away
Sheraton Hotel La Jolla Less than a mile away
Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa Less than a mile away
Hyatt Regency Hotel at Aventine San Diego Less than a mile away
Marriott Hotel San Diego La Jolla One to two miles away
Embassy Suites La Jolla San Diego One to two miles away
Hilton Hotel Torrey Pines La Jolla One to two miles away
Synergy Corporate Housing Various Locations
Bartell Hotels Offer a UCSD Discount:
Eight Bartell Hotels offer a preferred discount to all students, parents, alumni, family, friends and employees associated with UCSD of 15% off best available rate. Book online or call 800-345-9995 (800-344-3370 for Pacific Terrace reservations).


Home Stay Programs

Live with an American host family and learn about American culture. Private and shared rooms available. Apply at least 4-6 weeks before arrival.

  • Solana Beach Host Family Program 
    • No application fee required.
    • Providing free short term housing and a cultural exchange with an American family. Serving UCSD students and scholars for over 6 years.
  • San Diego Homestay
    • Application fee required. Weekly/monthly rates available.
  • HomestayBay San Diego online directory of homestays to choose from (with no placement fees)
While hostels accept individuals of all ages, they tend to be more popular with 18-30 year olds. The hostels in the San Diego area are far from UC San Diego, but offer dormitory-style housing at a lower rate than hotels. Some have kitchen facilities. AirBnB
AirBnB offers homes and private rooms that can be rented in San Diego. 

Renting Questions

Questions to ask a landlord when renting a room, an apartment or house

  • How much is the rent? 
  • Are utilities included? If not, how much is it typically per month?
  • How much is the deposit? Is it refundable?
  • What is the length of the lease? Is it month-to-month, 6 months, a year?
  • After my lease ends, will the rent increase?
  • Do you allow co-signers?
  • Do you allow subletting?
  • Is there an application fee?
  • Is renter's insurance required?
  • If I have no credit in the United States, what can be done?
  • When is the earliest move-in date?
  • Is there a waitlist?
  • When can I take a tour of the apartment/house?
  • How many parking spots? Any visitor parking?
  • Do you allow pets?
  • How are maintenance issues handled especially in case of emergency?
  • How far is it from campus?
  • Is there a bus stop nearby?
  • Is it furnished? 
  • What appliances are included? Washer and Dryer? Microwave? Stove? Refrigerator?
  • Is there a washer and dryer in unit? on site? nearby?

Step 4: Sign your lease

Lease Agreement

A lease is a written legal contract in which the renter agrees to make rental payments for a specified period of time. The advantage is that a six-month or one-year lease guarantees that the price of rent will not be raised during that time period. In contrast, renting month-to-month allows the flexibility to move out with 30 days notice. If planning to stay in the apartment for six months or more, a lease is a good idea. A person who signs a lease and moves out before the lease ends will probably be liable to pay a penalty, please review the lease.

A lease also details the rights and responsibilities of both the renter and the landlord. It is important you read your lease carefully before signing it to better understand your rights and responsibilities. Examples of some of the items contained in the lease are:

  • Date rent is due
  • Methods of payment are acceptable
  • Penalty fee for late rent payment
  • Restrictions on painting and other alterations to the property
  • The guarantees the landlord makes to the renter to ensure safety and well-being

If either party violates the lease, there are usually penalties. For the renter, penalties can range from a warning, to a fine, to an eviction. For a landlord, violating the lease can sometimes mean the renter can leave without penalty. Rental law in California can be very complex and ambiguous.


For most (but not all) apartments, the landlord pays the water, sewer, and trash removal monthly bill.

The renter pays for utilities such as gas, electricity, telephone, and cable television service. San Diego Gas & Electric Company (SDG&E) supplies San Diego County with gas and electricity service. To begin service, a deposit must be paid. To establish service call (800) 411-7343 and service will begin within a few working days. For more information:


Spectrum and AT&T are the two most popular internet service providers near UC San Diego.

For assistance finding providers for utility plans, internet, and cable visit:

Cell Phone

In order to activate cell phone service in the United States, it is helpful for customers to have a valid social security number and an established credit history. Customers without a social security number or credit history can still activate service but may be subject to a security deposit at the time of application. The security deposit will be returned customers as stipulated in the cell phone contract.

Service contracts may last for one or two years and early termination fees may apply. Prepaid and no-contract plans are also available. Purchase cell phones or sign up for cell phone services at shopping malls or provider branches.

Below is a list of major U.S. cell phone service providers

Additional stores and shopping malls where cell phones can be purchased

If you would like to utilize a free resource to check availability of internet, cable, and telephone providers in their area and compare prices, visit

Furniture & Appliances

Before signing your lease, make sure to ask what furniture or appliances are included, if any. Your apartment or home may be furnished, unfurnished, or partially furnished. Many rentals have a refrigerator and stove at no additional cost. Not all rentals have a microwave.

Some discounts available to UC San Diego Staff:  

On Campus:
Less than a mile from campus:
In neighboring community:
Furniture Rental Company

AFR Furniture Rental 
7825 Trade Street Suites 104/105
San Diego, CA 92121

Grocery Stores


Common Housing Terms

Tenant vs. landlord
A tenant is somebody who rents an apartment or a house
A landlord is somebody who owns an apartment or a house

It is the other charges that are not necessarily included in the rent fee.
Example: Water, electricity, phone, internet, trash, etc.

It is the first document that you will have to fill up. You will have to write your personal, professional, and financial information on it. Some landlords require the tenant to pay an application fee as it often guarantees a hold on the room or apartment.

Leasing contract
It is a legal document that both landlord and tenant sign to officially agree on the obligations of both parties during the stated length of stay.

Maintenance person
It usually is a person who comes to fix technical problems such as plumbing issues occurring in the apartment or house.

Credit in the United States
Your U.S. credit score will determine your ability to apply for cellular phone, credit cards, loans, etc. If you don't have credit in the U.S., landlords or companies typically require a higher deposit.

When a room or an apartment is furnished, it implies that there are enough furniture and/or appliances for you to live without purchasing any extra ones.

Tenant Rights

Resources to help you understand your legal rights as a tenant:

Renter's Insurance

It is important to consider purchasing renter’s insurance while in the United States. Generally, except under very special circumstances, a landlord is not legally responsible for loss or damage to a renter’s personal property. Also, if a renter causes damage to the landlord’s property, even unintentionally, the landlord may have the right to hold the renter financially responsible. In both of these situations, renter’s insurance would protect the renter from having to pay sometimes very large amounts of money.

For more information on renter’s insurance, the following insurance is designed specifically for UC San Diego renters: 

Legal Advice

Speak with an attorney who represents tenants.  If there is a large amount of potential liability involved, it is a good idea to consult with a couple of attorneys.

The San Diego County Bar Association has a referral service in which the initial consultation is without charge. 

Use the UC San Diego Legal service for staff, if you registered for this additional benefit through the ARAG Legal Plan (it was an additional fee for this service).

Try searching the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for the state of  California. There are some “legal advisors” in San Diego.