Skip to main content


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; only rent from reputable agents! Check out their Better Business Bureau rating for any complaints.

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.  

Short-Term Housing options

Here are some alternatives to short term housing in San Diego. You must contact the home stay provider, hotel, or hostel directly. The International Faculty & Scholars Office does not arrange temporary accommodations, but offers helpful advice and tips about any questions you may have about housing

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.


There are many hotels near UC San Diego. Some are within walking distance of UC San Diego:

Best Western by the Sea
7830 Fay Avenue
La Jolla, CA 92037
Courtyard by Marriot - Sorrento Valley/La Jolla
9650 Scranton Road
San Diego, CA 92121
Holiday Inn Express Sorrento Valley
5925 Lusk Boulevard
San Diego, CA 92121
Homestead San Diego
9880 Pacific Heights Boulevard
San Diego, CA 92121

Hotel La Jolla at the Shores
7955 La Jolla Shores Drive
La Jolla, CA  92037

La Jolla Inn
1110 Prospect Street
La Jolla, CA  92037
Marriott Residence Inn
8901 Gilman Drive
La Jolla, CA  92037

Sheraton La Jolla Hotel
Special UC San Diego rates offered
3299 Holiday Court
La Jolla, CA  92037
UC San Diego reservation line: (866) 500-0335
Synergy Corporate Housing
(Various Locations)

Hyatt House
10044 Pacific Mesa Boulevard
San Diego, CA 92121

Studio 819 Residential Hotel
819 University Avenue
San Diego, CA. 92103

Youth Hotels

Youth 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.

Banana Bungalow San Diego
707 Reed Avenue
San Diego, CA 92109
Lucky D's Hostel
615 8th Avenue
San Diego, CA 92101
Hostelling International-Point Loma
3790 Udall Street
San Diego, CA 92107
Ocean Beach International Hostel
4961 Newport Avenue
Ocean Beach, CA 92107
Hostelling International-San Diego
521 Market Street
San Diego, CA 92101 
USA Hostels San Diego
726 5th Avenue
San Diego, CA 92101

Long-Term Housing Options

The UC San Diego Housing and Dining Services Office operates several housing complexes, but on a limited basis. Students are strongly encouraged to apply for on-campus housing as soon as they receive an official admission letter from UC San Diego.

Special housing options:

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.

Long-Term Off-Campus Housing Options

Living in San Diego, especially in La Jolla, is very expensive and it is important to set a realistic budget before beginning to look for a place to live.

Vacancy rates are very low in San Diego and it may take some time to find an apartment.

Be prepared to pay a security deposit equal to one month’s rent (which may be refunded upon leaving) in addition to the first month’s rent.

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. 

Where to live in San Diego
In order to access the Online Housing database, you will need to register for an account using your student information. If you are not a student yet, 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. They are empty apartments for rent, which means you have to find your own roommates

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

Print publications

  • The San Diego Union-Tribune Classified Section also lists apartments for rent; Sunday’s edition has the largest number of listings.
  • The La Jolla Light is a local newspaper which is published every Thursday and contains listings of properties for rent in nearby areas.

Graduate student listserv
This mailing list includes graduate housing opportunities. For instructions on how to signup for the listserv, visit

Signs and community notices

Often there are “Apartment for Rent” signs in the windows of apartments or on signs posted in front of an apartment complex or bulletin boards around major grocery stores.


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, possibly all rental payments for the remainder of the lease time.

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:

  • the date rent is due and which methods of payment are acceptable
  • 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.

Tenant Rights

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

Need 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 UCSD Legal service for staff, if you registered for this additional benefit at your employee orientation (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.

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: 


For most (but not all) apartments, the landlord pays the water, sewer, and trash removal bill. The renter pays for utilities such as gas and 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, plus a fee for reading the meters, must be paid. To establish service call (800) 411-7343 and service will begin within a few working days. For more information:

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

Appliance Rentals

Most apartments provide major appliances like refrigerators and stoves with no additional charge. If these appliances are not provided, look in the yellow pages under “Appliance Rentals.” When asking about the price, be sure to ask about delivery and pick-up charges, or other fees. For students and scholars staying in the U.S. for a year or more, it may be cheaper to buy used appliances instead of renting.

The Kitchen and Exchange Rental Service is a service provided by Oceanids, a UC San Diego support organization. International post-doctoral fellows, visiting scholars, and faculty who are staying at UC San Diego for one year or less are eligible for this service. Kitchen equipment and baby furniture are available for a very small rental fee depending upon the condition and number of items. A deposit is also charged which is refunded upon return of articles in reasonable condition. For more information regarding the Kitchen Exchange visit


Cell Phone Service

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 these things can still activate service but may be subject to a security deposit at the time of application. The security deposit ranges from $150 to $500, depending on the service provider. This 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. 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

Below is a list of major US cell phone service providers

Additional stores and shopping malls

Land Line Service

There are several major telephone companies serving San Diego, including AT&T Telephone Company, Time Warner Cable and Cox Communications. There is usually a basic start-up fee of $35, which covers wiring and accounting charges. A U.S. social security number is not required, but helpful for starting service. Service begins in two to five business days.

(800) 288-2020

Cox Communications
(619) 262-1122

Time Warner Cable
(800) 340-4308


There are many ways to find inexpensive furniture and household items. “Discount” furniture is sold at a reduced price due to out-dated style, minor damages, etc. “Used” furniture is usually less expensive than “discounted” furniture and can be found at garage sales or second-hand stores. Furniture stores that sell new furniture usually provide delivery services.

The Resale Shop at the UC San Diego carries some small furniture and appliances for reasonable prices. When leaving UC San Diego, the Resale Shop is happy to receive donations of items you will not be taking home. For additional information visit

There are many stores listed in the yellow pages under “Thrift Shops” and “Clothing, Used.” Also, there are various thrift shops in Pacific Beach on Garnet Avenue near the beach.

Target Express (on campus) in Price Center 2nd floor
9500 Gilman Dr,
La Jolla, CA 92093

4605 Morena Boulevard (membership or gift card required)
San Diego, CA 92117
(858) 270-6920

Goodwill Industries
1430 Garnet Avenue, Pacific Beach
San Diego, CA 92109
(858) 274-4960

Kobey’s Swap Meet
3500 Sports Arena Boulevard
San Diego, CA 92110
(619) 226-0650
Located in the Sports Arena parking lot Friday-Sunday, 7 a.m.-3 p.m. Minimal admission fee required.

The Salvation Army
4606 Mission Bay Drive, Pacific Beach
San Diego, CA 92109
(858) 272-6514

4840 Shawline Street
San Diego, CA 92111
(858) 268-2885

Furniture Rental Companies

Furniture rental companies are listed in the yellow pages of the telephone directory under “Furniture Rental.” They rent complete room sets as well as individual pieces.

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

Used household items are listed for sale in the classified-ads section of local newspapers under “Household Furnishings,” “Miscellaneous,” and “Garage Sales.” Garage and yard sales, usually held on weekends, offer low prices on used household items. Although prices are marked, some bargaining may be possible.

The Kitchen and Exchange Rental Service is a service provided by Oceanids, a UC San Diego support organization. International post-doctoral fellows, visiting scholars, and faculty who are staying at UC San Diego for one year or less are eligible for this service.

Weekly papers such as The San Diego Reader and Pennysaver are also good places to look for advertisements for garage sales, used furniture items, and other items for sale.

Renting Questions

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

  • How much is the rent?
  • When is the earliest move-in date?
  • Are utilities included? If not, how much per month?
  • What is the length of the lease? Is it month-to-month, 6 months, school year?
  • Do you allow co-signers?
  • Is there an application fee?
  • If I have no credit in the United States, what can be done?
  • Is there a waitlist?
  • How much is the deposit? Is it refundable?
  • How many parking spots? Any visitor parking?
  • Do you allow subletting?
  • 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?
  • When can I visit the apartment/house?
  • Is it furnished?


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

Once you have an American social security number, it means that you have credit. Your 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 will require a deposit instead.


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.