Matt Lalanne/Mustang News

As the new year gets rolling, students begin the hunt for off-campus housing.

Agricultural business freshman Shea Forrey wants to live off-campus next year, but was originally unsure of how to begin the process.

“Everyone says it’s so hard to find housing,” Forrey said. “It seems like a lot of apartment complexes don’t have their applications available online. It’s hard to know where to pick applications up and where to turn them in.”

Be cautious

One common obstacle new renters face is finding legitimate housing among fake listings online. University Housing provides an off-campus listing service where anyone looking to rent out a property can post listings.

Craigslist is also popular among landlords, but University Housing’s Market Coordinator Chip Neuenschwander warned students to use caution when looking at online listings. Neuenschwander said that in order to avoid falling victim to fake listings, freshmen should never send money to a landlord they haven’t met.

“If it seems too good to be true, you should probably check it out,” Neuenschwander said.

On-campus vs. off-campus

As for choosing between living on-campus or off-campus, Neuenschwander presented the pros and cons. He said that Poly Canyon Village (PCV) and Cerro Vista — the on-campus student apartments — have nine-month leases for students who only want to live in San Luis Obispo for the school year. Most off-campus housing requires a 12-month lease.

Liberal studies sophomore Jennifer Mizuki lives in PCV. She said she enjoys the close proximity to her classes and numerous running trails. However, next year, she plans to live off campus.

“I would start looking for housing early,” Mizuki said. “Definitely start looking now if you haven’t.”

Neuenschwander said searching for off-campus housing can be difficult for first-time renters because landlords want to see previous rental history. In response, University Housing created the Educated Renters Certificate Program. Through the program, students can earn a certificate to show landlords they are educated about the renting process.

“It educates you about your rights, the community and things you should know while living on your own,” Neuenschwander said.

Students can meet with property managers and receive more information about housing options at the Housing Fair on March 3. The fair will take place on Dexter Lawn from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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