Helpful Hints

Student Off-campus Housing Assistance General Information

Helpful Hints | Rental Housing Problems | Average rental cost | Helpful Links


Helpful Hints

  1. Vacant apartments can be difficult to rent in Santa Rosa because of the high demand by students and non-students. It is necessary, especially for occupancy at the beginning of Fall semester, to beginning looking for aparements months in advance. Contact the apartment complex, directly, to request and submit an application.


  2. Begin your housing search early and check the listings early if you require budget housing or a location near campus. You can use Google Maps or other online maps to locate aparements near campus.


  3. Shared rental space is usually limited to one student only. Occasionally shared rental space is offered for student couples or a single parent and child.


  4. In most cases students do NOT qualify for low income, HUD or Section 8 housing. But, it is a good idea to get on the low income housing wait lists while you are a student.  Low Income Housing and HUD/Section 8 vouchers have waiting list from 3 to 10 years.


  5. The "No Pets" policy of many landlords is strictly enforced. Students with pets drastically restrict their choices.


  6. Use a written rental agreement if renting a vacant accommodation or a written roommate agreement if you are renting a shared accommodation. 


  7. The College does not have temporary housing for use while students look for off-campus housing. There are several motels in and around Santa Rosa which students and their parents can use until off campus housing arrangements are completed.



Rental Housing Problems

NOLO is a great resource for self-help legal issues


Fair Housing of Sonoma County can provide you with housing assistance and questions by calling 707-765-8488

Tenant’s Rights and Responsibilities:

Fair Housing:
* Counsels you on your fair housing rights
* Investigates discrimination complaints
* Mediates with owners and managers
* Assists with referrals to state and federal fair housing enforcement agencies
* Makes referrals to attorneys for legal help


For Petaluma individuals that are at risk of losing their housing because of unpaid rent or because they need help with a deposit; The Homeless Prevention Program provides ONE-TIME ONLY grants for individuasl that meet requirements.  For additional information:




What are the Average Rental Costs?

Rent will vary noticeably from one accommodation to another depending upon factors such as location, size, condition, and special features. Average monthly rents for the Santa Rosa and Rohnert Park/Cotati areas are:


Shared accommodation (room in home or apt.)

$850 - $1000

Vacant 1 bedroom apartment

$1300 - $2000

Vacant 2 bedroom apartment

$1900 - $2252

Vacant 2 bedroom, 1 bath house

$2200 - $2600

Vacant 3 bedroom, 2 bath house

$2600 - $3000

There are other factors to keep in mind. Rent will more than likely, not include utlities and some apartment complexes are now charging a montly fee to park your car. Some aparments have laundry facilites other do not. Very few apartments in the county accept pets. You must start looking far in advance and expect to pay a pet deposit or even higher rent. When renting a house, all utilities tend to be the responsibility of the tenants and usually only include washer and dryer hook ups (not the acutal washer & dryer) and you will need to have your own refrigerator.

Rental houses usually require yard upkeep and because there is no property manager on site, repairs can take longer. Be sure to get information from the owner of the house on what to do in case of a maintenance emergency.

Lastly, many students prefer to live close to campus which has resulted in increased competition in an already tight market. Currently, the vacancy rate in the county is approximately 1%.



Helpful Links

Learn how to identify common online rental housing scams.

Press Democrat
The Santa Rosa Press Democrat newspaper publishes a daily classified section listing available rental accommodations as well as real estate for sale. The Press Democrat may also be reached at (707) 575-7500.

Pacific Gas and Electric

Offers up to a 20% discount on your bill through the California Alterante Rates for Energy plan to people who qualify based on income and family size.

California Department of Consumer Affairs
Various publications outlining your rights as a tenant. Don't get taken advantage of. Become an informed renter!

Fair Housing of Sonoma County
Provides information and referrals for landlord and tenants regarding discrimination, laws, and landlord tenant relationships.

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
HUD offers information on Renting and Fair Housing Rights.

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Press Democrat: Santa Rosa renters need perseverance, clever tips to land an apartment. June 19, 2016