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Welcome to San Diego! Here is some information about housing in San Diego along with resources to help you find suitable housing both on and off-campus.

**Providers with whom we have a trusted relationship are featured below. Note that all external housing services are courtesy suggestions only and are not endorsed by the International Students & Programs Office.


Be aware of scams. It is safest to rent from leasing agents and rental companies and check their ratings on Better Business Bureau. Visit for more information regarding how to avoid scams.


Before you start searching

Before you jump into the housing search, prepare yourself! Learn about budgeting, potential scams, and the renting process with the information below.

Avoid common scams

It is best to always act with caution if you decide to live in off-campus housing. Unfortunately, housing scams do occur. You should never provide bank details or credit information, send money, or give personal information to someone over email or over the phone. Search for housing agents and property management companies using the Better Business Bureau to verify their legitimacy. For more information on scams visit

Learn to recognize the common signs of a housing scam:

  • Advertisements
    • The advertised price of a rental property is much lower than similar properties in the area.
    • The landlord/owner/agent posting an ad on Facebook has an account that was created very recently.

  • Landlords/owners/agents
    • The owner or agent will not let you see the home or apartment in-person or charges you a fee to view it.
    • The owner or agent requires you to sign the lease before you see the rental room or property in-person.
    • The owner or agent uses high pressure sales tactics, urging you to rent quickly, before someone else gets the property.
    • The person renting the room/property claims to be an agent for the property owner who is too busy, out of the country, or otherwise unavailable to handle the rental.

  • Financial transactions
    • You're asked to wire money as a deposit or payment of the first and last month's rent. Wiring money is the same as giving cash. You can't get a refund, even if you find out the offer was a fraud.
    • The person preparing the lease writes in a higher monthly rent or additional fees that you hadn't agreed upon.
    • The landlord directs you to a website to get a free credit check. This can be a tactic for harvesting your identity. Only disclose this information on a written application after you have seen the property.

What you can do to protect yourself:

  • If you’re not able to see the unit in person, have a friend or family member check it out for you. If this isn’t possible, hire a local real estate agent.
  • Check the home’s address online using Google Maps to see if it matches what is being advertised online.
  • Consult with UCSD Student Legal Services if you have any questions or concerns about a property you are renting/would like to rent:
  • Report any scams to the San Diego Police Department:

*Source: Housing Scams Website

Learn how renting works in the U.S.

1. Search for housing: The easiest place to look for housing is online. You should research neighborhoods and search to see housing options on different websites. The rental price advertised is monthly, but does not include any additional charges such as utilities. When you send a message to the landlord or owner of a property, you should include your name, what you are doing in San Diego (for example: studying or researching), a little bit about yourself (for example: hobbies and interests), the general time period that you are looking to move in, and ask if they are willing to set up a time for a viewing. You should send many messages to many different housing ads, and do not expect that all of your messages will be answered.

2. Ask questions and set up a viewing: You should always be sure to ask landlords, owners, or agencies several questions to make sure you know all relevant information. You should always request to set up a time to see the property in person, which is known as a viewing or inspection. Never send any money to a landlord, owner, or agency without viewing a property and signing legal paperwork first. Here are some useful questions to ask a landlord or owner:

  • Cost:
    • How much is the monthly rent?
    • How much is the deposit? Is it refundable?
    • Are utilities included? If not, how much per month?
    • Is there an application fee?

  • Availability and Property Facilities:
    • When is the earliest move-in date?
    • When can I visit the apartment/house?
    • Is there a waitlist?
    • What is the length of the lease or rental agreement?
    • Is it furnished?
    • Are there parking spots for tenants?
    • Are there laundry facilities onsite?
    • How are maintenance issues handled?

  • Contract:
    • Do you allow co-signers?
    • If I have no credit score in the United States, what can be done?
    • Do you allow subletting?
    • Do you allow pets?

3. Examine your lease: Once you view a property and agree to move in, the next step is to sign a lease. A lease is a legal contract details the rights and responsibilities of both the renter and the landlord. 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. Contact Student Legal Services for assistance with reviewing your lease or rental contract.

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. 

4. Pay your first month’s rent and deposit: After you sign your lease, the owner or landlord will ask you to pay the first month’s rent along with a security deposit. Be prepared to pay a security deposit equal to at least one month’s rent (which is refunded upon leaving if there is no property damage). The deposit is in addition to the first month’s rent. The maximum allowed security deposit amount in California is twice the rent for an unfurnished unit and three times the rent for a furnished unit.

Housing terms to know

Application: If there is a rental application, you will have to supply your personal, professional, and financial information. Some landlords also require the tenant to pay an application fee.

Credit: Once you have an American social security number, it means that you have credit. Your credit score will determine your ability to apply for certain things such as a cell phone or credit card. If you don't have credit in the U.S., landlords or companies will require a monetary deposit instead.

Deposit: A deposit, or security deposit, is typically required. This will be a monetary amount paid at the same time as your first month’s rent and will be 1-2 times your monthly rent. A deposit is returned when you move out if there is no property damage.

Full vacancy: “Full vacancy” listings indicate that the entire apartment is for rent.

Furnished: 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.

Landlord: Somebody who owns an apartment or a house.

Lease/Leasing contract: A legal document that both landlord and tenant sign to officially agree on the obligations of both parties during the stated length of stay. A six-month or one-year lease guarantees that the price of rent will not be raised during that time period. A person who signs a lease and moves out before the lease ends will probably be liable to pay a penalty, or possibly all rental payments for the remainder of the lease time.

Maintenance person: A person who comes to fix technical problems such as plumbing issues occurring in the apartment or house.

Month-to-month rental: This refers to a rental agreement renewed monthly. Renting month-to-month allows the flexibility to move out with 30 days notice.

Tenant: Somebody who rents an apartment or a house.

Utilities: Additional charges that are not necessarily included in the rent fee. Examples: Water, electricity, phone, internet, trash.

Prepare information and documents

Personal Information: It is best to have specific information readily available when looking for housing. Additional information beyond this list can be required but will vary depending on the landlord, property owner, or rental agency.

  • 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 in California is twice the rent for an unfurnished unit and three times the rent for a furnished unit.
  • Contact Information: U.S. phone number and email that you can be reached at. Most rental agencies will also ask for emergency contact information.

Documents: Landlords or rental agencies may also ask for scans or pictures of specific documents to help prove your identity and your ability to pay rent.

  • Proof of Identification: Individuals seeking to rent or buy a home will be asked to provide a proof of Identification document, for example:
    • U.S. Government issued ID
    • Passport

  • Proof of income document: Applicants usually must also demonstrate their financial ability to pay a monthly rent. A common requirement is for a tenant to have a total monthly household income of at least 2.5 times the monthly rent. Note that this will vary depending on the landlord/rental agency. Here are documents that you can use to provide proof of income:
    • Most recent pay statement
    • Job offer letter indicating income
    • Other recent income verification document or proof of funds

Other Rental Forms: UCSD Student Legal Services has created Off-Campus Rental Forms for students renting off-campus housing, including a Rental Property Inventory Checklist and a formal template for Roommate Agreements and Sublease Agreements.

Cost of living and housing availability in San Diego

Cost of living: 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. Please take a look at the average cost of living in San Diego to help plan your budget, and consider the following costs not included in monthly rent:

  • 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 if there is no property damage). This is in addition to the first month’s rent. The maximum allowed security deposit amount in California is twice the rent for an unfurnished unit and three times the rent for a furnished unit.
  • Application fees and conditions: When you submit an application to rent, 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.  
  • Renter’s insurance: An often required expense to cover loss or damage to a renter’s personal property. See information about Renters Insurance under our 'After Moving In' section below.
  • Utilities: Additional fees are not included in the monthly rent for utilities such as gas and electricity, telephone, and cable television service. See information about Utilities under our 'After Moving In' section below.

Availability: Vacancy rates are very low in San Diego and it may take some time to find an apartment. The largest number of vacancies come up in June - September. If you find a suitable location but there is currently no availability, it is recommended that you join the apartment complex’s waitlist if they have one.

San Diego neighborhoods and address format

Neighborhoods: When searching for housing in San Diego, it could be useful to search with specific neighborhood names. see map of nearby San Diego Neighborhoods. UC San Diego is in the University City and La Jolla neighborhoods. The area near the UTC Mall is also often referred to as UTC in housing ads.

Safety: When searching for housing we recommend that you review 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, visit the City of San Diego’s Crime Statistics & Crime Mapping for crime statistics by city and neighborhood.

Address Format: Ensure that you are familiar with the way that addresses are written in the U.S. Here are some examples:

  • 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


Make sure that you check how accessible your off-campus housing options are. Before securing housing in another neighborhood of San Diego, we recommend that you consider the location and its proximity to public transportation.

Public Transportation: 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. You can use public trnasportation through the Triton U-Pass program, which grants unlimited access to regional MTS and NCTD mass transit bus and trolley/light rail routes during the fall, winter and spring academic quarters to current UC San Diego undergraduate and graduate students (not exchange students or visiting scholars). Here are some public transportation options available to you:

  • Public Bus: The SDMTS has bus routes that operate throughout San Diego and connect to other transportation options such as the Trolley and Airport.
  • Trolley: The SDMTS has Trolleys that operate throughout San Diego. The Blue line runs from San Ysidro to UTC, stopping at UC San Diego Central Campus on the way.
  • UC San Diego Shuttle: UC San Diego offers free shuttle options that operate in the neighborhoods near campus.

Driving: Are you commuting to campus? Discover commuter resources and plan your journey with the links below.

Additional food and housing resources

Here are some additional resources from UCSD organizations that can help you in your housing search:

Off-Campus Housing Webinar: The following webinar describes first-time renting, housing search platforms and tips, the leasing process, and undergraduate/graduate housing off-campus. Webinar provided by: The Hub Basic Needs Center, Off-Campus Housing, Student Legal Services, and Housing, Dining & Hospitality (HDH).


On-Campus UCSD Housing

UCSD Housing, Dining and Hospitality (HDH) 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. Deadlines can be found on the HDH website linked above.

Undergraduate Housing

Undergraduate On-Campus Housing: This site has everything you need to know about undergraduate student on-campus housing options provided by UCSD HDH. Explore resources for application processes, important dates, and announcements about on-campus housing.

International House (I-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.
  • Questions about applying to live in I-House? Contact I-House:
  • Questions about I-House notifications, timeline, waitlists, room placements, move in, etc.? Contact ERC ResLife:
  • Please note: Successful completion of the application does NOT guarantee your placement to live in I-House. It is strongly encouraged to place yourself on the Housing Waitlist (see below) in addition to applying for I-House.

Undergrad Housing Waitlist: Apply for the waitlist each quarter you are in need of housing.  Contracts are offered based on date in which you applied, the gender of roommates in the space available, available spaces and room type, and the location of the vacancy.

Graduate and Family Housing

Graduate/Professional Students and Family HousingThis site has everything you need to know about graduate student, professional student, and family on-campus housing options provided by UCSD HDH. UC San Diego Graduate and Family Housing consists of seven apartment complexes. Students eligible to live in a Graduate and Family Housing community are:

  • Full-time Graduate and Professional Students (i.e. enrolled in 12 units or more throughout the lease term)
  • Graduate, Professional, and Undergrad Students with Children
  • Full-time Undergraduate Student Couples


Off-Campus Housing

Looking for off-campus housing? Here are resources to help you in your search. Please note that all links are suggestions only and do not constitute endorsement by the International Students & Programs Office. Always act with caution and beware of potential scams for any kind of housing search that you do.

UC San Diego Off-Campus Housing Directory

UC San Diego Off-Campus Housing Directory: A rental referral and housing information resource center with listings of apartment, house, and condominium rentals, available in a variety of areas around campus and the San Diego community. In order to access the Online Housing database, you will need to input your student information. If you are not a student yet, email to request a log-in and password.

Framework Apartments: A new UCSD-affiliated community dedicated to providing high quality housing for the UC San Diego community. A limited number of units have been made available to students. Framework is located in downtown San Diego, two blocks from the Park & Market station on the UC San Diego Blue Line, which provides direct access to the La Jolla campus.

Housing websites

There are many third-party websites that help connect renters with local property owners, landlords, or tenants looking for another roommate. Please note that all links are suggestions only and do not constitute endorsement by the International Students & Programs Office. However, we do note providers with whom we have a trusted relationship as marked below.

  • HUGS** is a San Diego based startup founded by former international students. They provide comprehensive international student-focused housing solutions for undergraduate, graduate, and students on OPT without the need for a social security or credit score.

  • RoomChazer** offers furnished housing to college students and international students near UCSD, in Pacific Beach, Downtown, Mission Valley, and in central San Diego. You can rent just one room and we'll find you matching roommates. You can also rent a place with your friends. Flexible Fall or Spring contracts are available for exchange students.

  • ULoop is specifically designed to help university students find housing.

  • Craigslist is a popular online bulletin for a variety of things, including room rentals. This website does not require users to sign-up for a profile, so proceed with extreme caution when using this particular site.

  • Zillow is a real estate marketplace with an option to search for rentals rooms and properties.

  • Trulia is a real estate site with rental options that also gives the users neighborhood descriptions regarding what is in the local area.

  • is an online rental marketplace.

** ISPO Trusted Partner

Homestay programs

Interested in living with an American host family? Homestays are a great way for students to experience American culture and customs! Private and shared rooms available. Apply at least 4-6 weeks before arrival. Please note that all links are suggestions only and do not constitute endorsement by the International Students & Programs Office. However, we do note providers with whom we have a trusted relationship as marked below.

Local Homestay Agencies:
Other Homestay Agencies:
** ISPO Trusted Partner


Facebook has many groups that students use to find housing and roommates. You may need to request access to some of these groups in order to see the housing ads posted there.

Short-term and temporary housing

If you cannot find housing right away, it can be helpful to book short-term rentals of rooms, apartments, or houses before you find a more long-term housing option. There are also hotels and hostels in San Diego if needed. Find more information below.

Short term rentals: While often used as vacation rental sites, these companies can provide convenient short-term housing options.

Temporary Housing Providers: These companies own and manage apartments in the local area and can help place you in their temporary or extended-stay accommodation. Additional costs for these services may apply. See websites for more information.

Partner hotels: San Diego has negotiated discounted rates with a local partner hotel conveniently located next to campus. If you would like to take advantage of this option, please contact the hotel directly to make a reservation.

  • Residence Inn San Diego La Jolla 
    • Students need to stay a minimum of 90 days (between Sept. 10, 2023 through Jan. 8, 2024) in order to receive the discounted rates offered to UC San Diego students. Rooms/rates are on a first-come basis and subject to hotel availability. Please check the hotel’s website to view room options.
    • Room Rates: Please reference “UC San Diego Fall Housing Rate” to receive the discounted rate.
      • Triple occupancy option: Penthouse Suite, $239 per night (3 queen beds, full-size sofa sleeper, 2 bathrooms)
      • Double occupancy option: Executive Penthouse Suite, $214 per night (2 queen beds, full-size sofa sleeper, 2 bathrooms)
      • Single occupancy option: Studio Suite, $139 per night (1 king bed, full-size sofa sleeper)
    • Amenities: All suites include full kitchens with a microwave, dishwasher, refrigerator, oven, and cooking and eating utensils. Hotel stays include daily complimentary hot breakfast, Wi-Fi and weekly housekeeping services.
    • Location: 0.3 miles from campus
    • Contact: 858-587-1770
    • 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.
    • Contact: 800-345-9995 (800-344-3370 for Pacific Terrace reservations).

Additional hotel options: 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

Hostels: Hostels in the San Diego area are not very close UC San Diego, but they offer dormitory-style housing at a lower rate than hotels. Some also have private rooms available, and most have kitchen facilities. Find hostels on or Hostelworld.


After Moving In

There are still a few things to consider after you move into your new housing. Find information below about paying utilities, renter's insurance, and your rights as a tenant along with resources to help you find nearby furniture and grocery stores.

Utilities, Phone Service, and Internet

Utilities: 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 assistance finding providers for utility plans, internet, and cable visit InMyArea.

Cell Phone Service: Customers without a social security number or established credit history can still activate cell phone service but may be subject to a security deposit at the time of application, which varies in cost 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 where early termination fees may apply. Prepaid and no-contract plans are also available. Major cell phone service providers in the U.S. include: Mint Mobile, Verizon, T-Mobile, and AT&T.

Internet/Wi-Fi: 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 InMyArea.

Phone SIM Cards: There are many options available to you in regards to selecting a mobile phone service in the United States. One such option is Campus SIMS (in partnership with Mint Mobile), which offers to mail you a free SIM card so can use your phone as soon as you arrive in the U.S.

Furnishing and Supplies

There are many ways to find inexpensive furniture and household items.

Secondhand furniture: Also known as used furniture, secondhand furniture can be an economical option for students, and is plentiful in San Diego.

  • Garage and yard sales: Usually held on weekends, garage sales are informal markets usually held in the front of someone’s house. The seller will likely post signs around the neighborhood and offer low prices on used household items. Although prices are marked, some bargaining may be possible.

New Furniture: Beyond ordering furniture online, there are may stores you can visit to purchase new furniture. Here are local stores with plenty of furnishing options:

Furniture Rentals: Most apartments in the U.S. are not furnished, and It may be more convenient to rent furniture. Here are companies that help organize furniture rentals:

Renter’s Insurance

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.

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.

Grad Guard offers insurance designed specifically for UC San Diego renters.

Tenant Rights and Responsibilities

Landlord, Tenant and Roommate Responsibilities:
  • Learn about your responsibilities as a tenant and the responsibilities of your landlord and any roommate(s).

Resources to help you understand your legal rights as a tenant: Legal Resources:
  • 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).
  • See the legal resources for California listed on the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) website.


We understand that many international students may need storage options during the summer. Here are a few resources for you to check out: