Helpful Hints Off-campus Housing Assistance General Information

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


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 submit an application 1 to 3 months in advance. Contact the apartment complex, directly, to request and submit an application.


  2. The less expensive accommodations and the ones nearest campus are taken first. Begin your housing search early and check the listings early if you require budget housing or a location 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. HUD rental subsidy programs for qualifying low-income students are impacted in Sonoma County and usually requires a waiting period of 2 to 5 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. These can be obtained by contacting the Sonoma County Rental Information and Mediation Services (SCRIMS) at (707) 575-8787.


  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

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.)

$650 - $900

Vacant 1 bedroom apartment

$1200 - $1758

Vacant 2 bedroom apartment

$1900 - $2252

Vacant 2 bedroom, 1 bath house

$2000 - $2300

Vacant 3 bedroom, 2 bath house

$2200 - $2600

There are other factors to keep in mind. More and more apartments in the county are charging residents for water and garbage. Most of them have laundry facilities. 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.

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 3%.



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. is a national rental listing service, which includes rental properties in communities surrounding SSU. is an online resource for people who are seeking a roommate in cities throughout the U.S.S

Craig's List
Provides and online listing of local share rentals as well as vacant apartments and homes.
Website has photos, floor plans and average rental costs and availability of many local apartment complexes.

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.

The 511 website provides information for commuters in the Bay Area including information on bike routes, public transportation routes, and carpooling.

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

Rental Agencies

The following rental agencies may be able to help you locate housing. Most charge a fee for their services.


NorthBay Property Management
615 North Street #8
Santa Rosa, CA 95404
Kelley Rentals
489 South Main Street
Sebastopol, CA 95472
Alliance Property Management
1611 Fourth Street
Santa Rosa, CA 95404
Timely Property Manament
2425 Clevelenad Ave Ste. 240
Santa Rosa, CA 95403
Sonoma County Property Rentals
5218 Country Club Drive
Rohnert Park, CA 94928
DeDe's Rentals and
Property Management, Inc.
1150 B Coddingtown Center
Santa Rosa, CA 95401
DeDe's Rentals
Burbank Housing
790 Sonoma Ave
Santa Rosa, CA 95404
Eden Housing
22645 Grand Street
Hayward, CA 94541
USA Properties Fund
3200 Douglas Blvd., Suite 200
Roseville, CA 95661
Apartment Guide
950 E. Paces Ferry Road NE
Suite 2600
Atlanta, GA 30326
PEP Housing (Affordable Senior Apartments)
951 Petaluma Blvd. South
Petaluma, CA 94952
Apartment Finder
3438 Peachtree Rd, NE
Suite 1500
Atlanta, GA 30326
Rent Jungle

Housing - The long and the short view

Logan Place affordable apartments

The cost to rent or buy a home in Petaluma has increased dramatically in recent years.  According to Zillow, during the past five years, the average price of a single family home increased from $386,100 to $620,100 and the average rent increased from $1,922 to $2,636. As a consequence many people, even some with relatively high incomes, have difficulty finding a place to live at a price they can afford. 

Petaluma's Housing program is flexible, allowing it to change with the needs of the community. Since its inception, more than 1,760 units were built in collaboration with non-profit partners. These include rental units for families, seniors, and the developmentally disabled, and also enable single family home ownership through subsidies and first-time home-buyers programs. The City also financed two homeless shelters and five homes for transitional housing. Homes and apartments have restrictions to keep them affordable in future years. In our mobile home parks, Petaluma helps to keep rents affordable, with 343 spaces subject to our Mobile Home Rent Stabilization program.

Through the Housing programs, community nonprofits serve more than 1,228 low income citizens each year.  

What is affordable housing?

In government agencies, "affordable" means housing for low income households, i.e., those earning below the median income of an area. In Sonoma County, a family with earnings of less than 50% to 60% of the median income would typically qualify for affordable rental apartments. Qualification for affordable home ownership would be at 80% to 20% of the median family income.  

For a family of four, the qualifying annual income would range from $49,440 (low) to $98,800 (moderate). Qualifying low income families will pay $1,113 for a 2 bedroom apartment, saving them more than $1,000 / month when compared to the average market rate 2-bedroom apartment.

How do we fund affordable housing?

Over the years, Petaluma used several sources of funding to help build affordable housing with our nonprofit partners. Those funding sources include fees charged to private developers in lieu of providing affordable housing units in their projects (In-Lieu fees); Redevelopment funding; Community Development Block Grants; and fees charged to commercial projects to support the cost of providing housing for their employees (Commercial Linkage fees). In 2011, the State of California took Redevelopment funding away from cities, which reduced the amount of money available to Petaluma for affordable housing projects by $3 million a year. Losing this funding source makes it very difficult for Petaluma to subsidize affordable housing projects, which have cost the City $3.5 million to $4 million per development.

Looking to the Future

Since losing Redevelopment funding, the focus of Petaluma's housing programs is preserving and ensuring the long-term affordability of our existing affordable housing stock. By funding programs such as Rebuilding Together Petaluma, an organization that makes home repairs for low income home owners, we can prevent unsafe and unhealthy living conditions and keep people living in their homes. 

The City supports nonprofits such as Eden Housing, Burbank Housing, PEP Housing, and USA Properties by helping to finance property renovations. This financial assistance serves to extend affordability restrictions for an additional 55 years.

Petaluma is working with private developers to encourage them to include affordable units in their projects. Those who do not include affordable units must pay the Housing In-Lieu fee. As noted earlier in this column, commercial developments also pay the Commercial Linkage fee, which can be used to build affordable housing. Both of these fees will soon be under review, with possible increases to follow, as both fees were established when Redevelopment funding was still available to offset costs. The Housing Division is always looking for opportunities to build more affordable housing through new State and federal funding sources and by working with private developers. Current examples of these efforts are 23 affordable rental units that will be built as part of the Altura Apartment project, 21 rental units in a market-rate development of 142 units, and 25 First Time Homebuyer homes in a market-rate development of 198 units.