Credit: Liz Ridley | Mustang News

As the months flew by over the course of the school year, English junior Elizabeth Nancett felt increasingly burdened by her ongoing search for housing in San Luis Obispo.

Nancett’s housing plans had fallen through after her landlords decided to sell their property.

“I already have a lot of things that add stress to my life, so this was not exactly ideal,” Nancett said.

Cal Poly Housing advises students to start their housing search for the following year in late fall quarter and early winter quarter, Housing Assistant Director Nona Matthews wrote to Mustang News. However, some students like Nancett found themselves thrown back into the housing search for next year.

For students that are starting their search, Cal Poly’s off-campus housing program hosts workshops throughout the year to teach students how to begin their search, the responsibilities as a tenant and how to stand out as an applicant. 

The program also offers an educated renters’ certificate program, which is an asynchronous Canvas course that will provide students with a certificate to be more competitive applicants. It provides various resources for students such as an off-campus budgeting worksheet, a roommate agreement, what to view and ask when considering a property and other community resources. 

Nancett said she and her roommates have gone on at least three tours for apartments and houses. Altogether, they have been reaching out to people and utilizing different websites for their search. Nancett has also reached out to friends and people she knows who are graduating to see if they have possible leads to housing options.

City planning junior Kate Hauser underwent the housing scramble herself last year. She and four other roommates started their search in February and were adamant about finding a house because their larger group all wanted to have their own rooms, Hauser said. 

To begin their search, Hauser said they started with house tours. However, they were met every time with countless other roommate groups that were also touring. Nonetheless, they continued to look for other opportunities on Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace. 

Eventually, Hauser and her roommates were able to find a landlord that was accepting a small number of applicants to tour a house. Hauser said she and her roommates created a small biography about all of them so the landlord could get to know them better. 

“It was something that makes us stand out and seem more approachable,” Hauser said. 

To stay organized while searching for housing, Hauser and her roommates scheduled weekly meetings to go through houses that each of them found so they could find time in all of their schedules to go on house tours together. They also put deadlines and links to houses on a Google Doc so that everyone could talk to their families and have their applications done before the due date. 

Hauser advises anyone else looking for housing to utilize their resources and to begin the search as soon as possible.

“The earlier the better, but never stop looking,” Hauser said.

However, students can also continue their housing on campus if they so please. To find information on campus housing, students can call University Housing at 805-756-1226 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., or email 

Students can also utilize for more information. To contact off-campus programs, email or visit

Cal Poly’s campus apartments typically have 400 to 500 spaces available for continuing students aside from those that are in a two-year housing contract, with 300 additional spaces for transfer students. 

If students wish to continue their housing on campus, they can sign up for an initial interest list, which usually opens in mid-February and remains open for five days. The available spaces are offered to students from the initial interest list by lottery. However, if you do not receive housing after the first round, a new interest list opens after the first round of offers and stays open through fall move-in. 

The number of spaces available depends on a variety of factors such as new student enrollment, the availability and occupancy level of facilities, the number of approved exemption requests and cancellations. 

Matthews wrote that Cal Poly provides limited financial assistance through Cal Poly Cares for those who cannot meet immediate and essential expenses because of temporary hardship. This program offers grants of up to $2,000 that can be received once a year.

To apply for a grant, students can go to or contact the Dean of Students’ office at

Matthews added that, in the fall, Cal Poly will launch an off-campus housing marketplace, which is a website that will provide students with rental opportunities in the area and help with trying to find potential roommates and potential subleases. There will also be a credit-building opportunity for students and an alternative deposit program that students can try to opt into. 

Nancett said she has done her best to remain positive and hopeful during her search. She encourages other students who are in the same boat to “exhaust your contacts…just talk to friends” to find possible leads and to also lean on others for support.