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Off-Campus Housing Resources
Moving is an exciting experience and an important decision. It is essential that you make informed decisions as you choose a place to live. Review the sections below as you determine where to live and who to live with. The below resources can help you understand how to find the place that is right for you and how to be prepared throughout the process.
As you consider where to live, keep in mind that on-campus housing at North Village provides a variety of living options and is a short walk to classes, The WELL, Athletic Events and food. Stingers Up!
Before You Search - Questions to Ask Before Moving In
- Do you want to live by yourself or with roommates?
- How close to campus do you want to live?
- How will you get around?
- Do you want a furnished place?
- Do you need a place for pets?
- Are you looking at an apartment, a room in a house, duplex, townhouse, etc.
- Special situation?
- What amenities, like air conditioning or a dishwasher, are important to you?
What is a lease?
A lease is a contractual agreement between the owner of property, an apartment complex, car etc. and a prospective renter for the right to use but not own a house or room of a house, a unit in an apartment complex, or a car, usually in return for a periodic payment. When you sign a lease, you are bound to the terms of that lease legally for the agreed time period and must abide by the conditions stated within it in order to have continued access to whatever you are trying to use under that lease.
Increasing Your Odds
- Make an appointment & arrive on time: Make sure to call ahead and schedule an appointment for a tour and stick to it. And arrive at least 10 minutes early. Promptness can be a good indicator of whether you can pay rent on time in the landlord’s eyes.
- Follow up: Following up can show the landlord that you are interested and remind them of who you are.
- Be presentable: There may be many people interested in the same complex or unit you may be interested in. Proper attire can help you stand out.
- Have money ready: Be prepared to put money down to hold a place if you find one that you like. However, make sure you get a receipt for the deposit and note whether it is refundable if you decide not to rent, or if the deposit will be applied toward the rent. Note: The average apartment in Sacramento starts at $1850 for a 1-bedroom apartment. Be prepared to have that along with money for a deposit, which typically equals one month’s rent.
- Start early: Get a jump on the search. Keep in mind that other people will be looking to rent as well so make sure to start looking early. If you are looking to rent in the fall, start looking towards the end of the spring semester.
What the Landlord Will Need
- An application (usually available at the property or the manager's office).
- Credit check.
- Co-signer (if you don't have an established credit score and are less than 25 years old).
- Rental history/references
- Lease or rental agreement (varies from month-to-month, 6 month and 1 year agreements).
- Application or broker fee.
Before your rent, a landlord might perform a credit check. This is to see if you have a good history of making payments on time and that you don’t have a lot of debt that could limit your ability to pay rent. Different housing options will have different credit score requirements, so it is imperative that you check the requirement of each entity you intend to apply to.
You can keep track of your credit score by checking with the three main credit companies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. You are entitled to a free credit report every 12 months. It is your responsibility to maintain your credit and know where you stand.
Renters insurance is important to have as it provides you with financial coverage for many unexpected events. Renters insurance can provide you with financial coverage for personal property, liability, and additional living expenses, depending on your policy. Your landlord’s policy does not cover your belongings.
For example, if there is a fire that causes damage to your belongings, renters' insurance can cover costs up to your policy limit.
Renters insurance typically covers loss or destruction of your personal belongings due to:
- Freezing temperatures
- Impact by Vehicle
Renters insurance may also cover you if you are forced to temporarily move out of your home because it is unlivable, if a person is injured on the property and require medical attention, and items you keep inside your car are lost or damaged.
When selecting a policy, it is important for you to consider the coverages the policy provides, the dollar amount of coverage it provides, and the annual premium (cost of coverage).
Compare policies and make an informed decision. It is always advised to secure renters’ insurance. The good news is renters' insurance premiums are typically very affordable.
Renters insurance can be purchased from any insurance provider (USAA, State Farm, Allstate, Nationwide, Geico, etc.). Additionally, Sac State currently works with Grad Guard to provide renters insurance to those living in on-campus housing.
Your Rights as a Renter
As a tenant of an apartment complex, you have the right to a habitable dwelling, as ruled by the California Supreme Court. This means that your landlord is legally obligated to repair any items that affect the home’s livability. These items include the refrigerator, stove, lights, any hazards, doors, etc. You also have the right to privacy. A landlord cannot enter your unit without at least 24 hours' notice
City of Sacramento Tenant Protection Program
Another part of moving out is getting your security deposit back. Some tips to make sure that you do get it back include:
- Repair damages: If it gets fixed quickly, it probably won't be a problem when you're moving out. If you leave repairs for your landlord, he or she will use your deposit to pay for it.
- Properly restore any fixtures or furnishings you remove: If you swap out the blinds for curtains, you'll need to put the blinds back up in the same condition they were in when you took them down.
- Ask for it!: Many landlords won't make the effort to return the money until you say something. Be sure to leave a forwarding address where your check can be sent. And if all of the above fails...
- Take Action: If you don't receive your deposit, or an itemized list of damages, it's time to take action. Write a certified letter asking for your deposit. If that doesn't work, look into small claims court. These inexpensive trials do not require a lawyer and are completed relatively quickly. Most of the time, the landlord won't want the hassle of a court appearance and will give you back the deposit to avoid any further legal action.
Upon arrival to your new home, there are many tasks to complete. From unloading and unpacking to setting up your utilities to documenting preexisting issues, it can be a bit overwhelming. To make the process a little less overwhelming, use this list to ensure you get everything completed.
- Set-up your electric and gas utilities. If you live in Sacramento, your electricity utility is SMUD and your gas utility provider is PG&E. If you live outside of Sacramento, find out who your utility providers are and set-up accounts with them so that your service is not impacted. You can complete this prior to move-in.
- On their websites, you can also view rates so that you can make educated decisions on things like what temperature to set the thermostat to.
- Set-up your internet service. You will likely have a few different providers (I.e. Comcast Xfinity, AT&T, Verizon, etc.) and many plans you can select from. You can complete this prior to move-in.
- Prior to moving any of your belongings in, walk your new home (look at floors, walls, in drawers, appliances, etc.) and take photos of any issues you notice. Then email those to your landlord so that you have it documented that those were preexisting issues. This will help ensure you are not charged for preexisting issues at move-out.
- If something isn’t working correctly, you can request that the landlord send someone out to fix the issue. As a tenant, you typically do not need to pay for things that break due to normal wear and tear.
- Some landlords have online portals for making rent payments. Make sure to set-up an account and automatic payments, if interested. This can ensure you are never late on your rent. This can typically be completed prior to move-in or after move-in.
- Unload and unpack in your new home! Enjoy!
Alternative Transportation to Campus
As a Sac State student, all students have access to the Sacramento Regional Transit bus and Light rail for free. You will need to obtain a commuter sleeve that fits over your OneCard from the Bursar’s Office in Lassen Hall. Note that you will need to get a new sleeve every semester. ZipCar and Gig Car are also services students can utilize to rent a vehicle for a certain time period. Lyft and Uber are also other alternatives to getting around.
- Sacbike Program – This page has lots of resources for bikers, including bike maps.
- Sac Bike Kitchen -Sacramento Bicycle Kitchen is a great community resource for buying a good, used bike and for keeping one’s bike in good working condition. It is often a transportation starting point for many students.
- Sacramento Regional Transit – Here you can find public transportation routes and schedules.
Meal Plans for Off-Campus Students
Hornet Hospitality offers various meal plans for students who live off campus. To view the current off-campus meal plan offerings, visit the Hornet Hospitality Off Campus Meal Plan Website.
Farmer's Market Locations – On this page, you will find all the local farmer’s markets that take place in Sacramento and their hours of operation.
Being a Good Neighbor
It is likely that you have one or more neighbors where you live. These neighbors can be in the unit or house next door, or they may be your roommate. In any case, it is important for you to be mindful of your behaviors so that you are a good neighbor.
Being a good neighbor can include:
- Being mindful of noise you create (I.e., personally, from a vehicle, watching the TV, etc.)
- Letting neighbors know if you notice something off (I.e., left a car door open)
- Helping a neighbor if you see they need help (I.e., a grocery bag broke open)
- Letting a neighbor know if you have an issue with something that occurred so that you can resolve it
- And more
It is recommended, that you introduce yourself to your neighbors and exchange contact information (if you are comfortable). This allows you to start a relationship that can be mutually beneficial. It helps to create an environment where you (and your neighbors) are thoughtful of how your behaviors might impact others and if there is an issue, you are more likely to address it internally, instead of involving a 3rd party (I.e., Police or landlord).
Roommate Finder location?
If you are looking for a roommate to move into a housing unit with or are looking for a roommate for a place you already live in, you can use the Sacramento State Roommate Finder to find one.
Sample Roommate Agreement Questions
When living with other people, it can be helpful to have discussions around expectations and rules for living with each other. Roommate agreements can assist in establishing boundaries and creating a healthy environment for roommates to coexist. Roommate agreements are most effective if created shortly after moving in with someone and can be revisited and referenced for as long as you are roommates. You can email the agreement, print it out, or write it out and post it so that everyone has access and can refer to the agreement as needed.
Roommate agreements include prompts that all roommates should discuss and find common ground on. Agreements can include topics like cleanliness, cooking, noise, shared and individual items, sleep times, guests, chores, and more. Talk with your roommates to identify the appropriate topic areas for you to discuss.
Below are some prompts and questions you might consider discussing with your roommates as part of a roommate agreement:
- We are comfortable sharing the following personal possessions (toiletries, clothes, food, etc.)
- We should ask permission before using the following personal possessions
- If items (ie. cleaning supplies, food, furniture, etc.) are needed for our home how will they be paid for and shared?
- Are we allowed in each other's bedrooms without an invitation?
- At what times should the suite be quiet (for everyone to sleep or study comfortably) on weekends and weekdays?
- Who will be responsible for what chores (ie. vacuuming, cleaning the bathroom and kitchen, taking out common area trash, etc.) and how often?
- What items/areas in the common space, kitchen, and bathrooms need to be cleaned?
- When is a good time to talk about concerns or issues and how do we approach those conversations?
- If we want a guest to come over, how should that be communicated and with how much notice?
- Am I comfortable with guests being in common spaces? Can guests use items in the common space (ie. pots and pans, furniture, video games, etc.)?
- When do we plan to use the restroom to get ready? How long does it typically take?
- How will the bathroom be divided for each of the roommates’ toiletry items?
- Is consuming or being under the influence of alcohol okay in our common space?
The Student Services Center offers a variety of resources to aid students in any challenges that they may face while in school. Sacramento State Financial Wellness Resources can help students with financial education, budgeting, and even applying for loans to buy a house or car.
Basic Needs Resources
If students find themselves in need of food, clothing, etc., Sacramento State CARES Basic Needs Resources can assist students with those things.
Campus Rapid Rehousing Services
Sacramento State offers rapid rehousing to individuals who are in emergency situations that need a place to stay. You can apply at CARES Rapid Rehousing Resources for academic year-long support.
Saving Money on Energy
Here are some ways you can save money on energy from the Department of Energy:
- Set your thermostat comfortably low in the winter and comfortably high in the summer.
- Use compact fluorescent light bulbs.
- Air dry dishes instead of using your dishwasher's drying cycle.
- Turn off your computer and monitor when not in use.
- Plug home electronics into power strips; turn the power strips off when the equipment is not in use.
- Lower the thermostat on your hot water heater to 120°F.
- Take short showers instead of baths.
- Wash only full loads of dishes and clothes.
- Wash your clothes using cold water whenever possible.
- Drive sensibly. Aggressive driving (speeding, rapid acceleration and braking) wastes gasoline.
- Look for the ENERGY STAR® label on home appliances and products. ENERGY STAR products meet strict efficiency guidelines set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy.
- Use fans, instead of air conditioners, to cool your house in the summer. Leave your window shades drawn to reduce heat coming in from outside. Likewise, in the winter, leave your window shades open during the day and close them at night.
- Check your rental agreement:
Look for any information regarding moving out, whether it's the date your agreement expires or the specific procedures for doing so.
- Notify landlord in writing:
You should let your landlord know of your intent to vacate, in writing, at least 30 days in advance of the termination date. Even if your lease is set to expire, you are still required to submit notice 30 days in advance.
- Arrange to have landlord inspect apartment:
Arrange for your landlord's inspection to be completed in your presence, using the same checklist you completed when you moved in. Be sure to have all rooms thoroughly cleaned; it is also common to have your carpets professionally cleaned prior to the move out date.
- Notify utilities:
Let your utility providers know that you’re about to move at least one week in advance. Be sure to give them a forwarding address where final bills can be sent.
- Remove all trash & personal possessions:
You should be completely moved out by the time the landlord is ready for an inspection, including removing all items you plan on getting rid of. Clean the floors, closets, fixtures and appliances. Many landlords provide guides for their cleaning specifications.
- Return all keys to landlord:
Usually, landlords will ask for keys to be surrendered during their inspection.
- Leave a forwarding address:
Contact your local post office branch and fill out change-of-address and mail-forwarding forms so your landlord can send you the remaining deposit.
SMUD, PG&E, and Emergency Phone Numbers
If there are problems with your power or a gas leak in your area, call the numbers below to get assistance with whatever issues you may have.
SMUD: 1 (888) 456-7683
PG&E: 1 (800) 743-5000
Police and Fire Services: 911
Parks and Public Garden
Public Garden Finder – For students who enjoy visiting gardens, we have also linked a list of all the parks with gardens that you are able to visit.