Timeline for graduate housing?
May 3, 2014 7:16 AM   Subscribe

How far ahead should I be looking for graduate apartments?

Attending graduate school in the fall in a large-ish very urban city in the midwest (not chicago). How far ahead should I apply for apartments? I'm looking within a mile of campus, but it seems they don't have openings yet for August, but I'm afraid of waitng too long and not being able to find anywhere to live.

These apartments are not affiliated with the university even though lots of students live in these 2-3 places, if that matters.
posted by Aranquis to Education (8 answers total)
When my dad lived in Madison, students usually secured their apartments in May or June for the following school year, off-campus.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:18 AM on May 3, 2014

It really does depend on the city, and how dominated it is by the student population. It can range from anywhere from 1-2 months and almost a year. Ask your school; they'll have the best info.
posted by snickerdoodle at 7:24 AM on May 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

Depending on the city, if you're that close to campus, you're potentially looking at areas where the apartments are mostly rented to undergrads and leases are signed during the spring semester for the next August. So it's possible you're late.

However, if there isn't that sort of student rental market or you're willing to go more than a mile from campus, you probably want to look in June/early July for an August 1 lease. My lease in Minneapolis requires two months notice before moving out, so you can't look earlier than the start of June in my neighbourhood. I found my apartment the last week in June 2008 and my lease started July 15th. Most apartments I was looking at then were July 15th or August 1st. The Minneapolis rental market is tighter now than it was then, I think. (And if the "large-ish very urban city" is Minneapolis, you probably don't want to be living within a mile of most of campus. Too many drunken undergrads.)
posted by hoyland at 7:27 AM on May 3, 2014

Ask the office manager/admin person for your department if they're friendly. Also ask to be connected with current grad students--they might be moving out. This is highly location-specific stuff.
posted by the young rope-rider at 7:30 AM on May 3, 2014

I am limited to being that close to campus (no car). Not a ton of undergrads live in this area as it's a bit more expensive, but safer.
posted by Aranquis at 7:41 AM on May 3, 2014

When I was looking for an apartment as a graduate student in April for an August lease, I was told to come back later. That August leases would open up June or July 1st (I forget which). So you may be running into that.

The best thing to do is just to email or call a number of different apartments you're interested in, and seeing what their cycle is and seeing if there's a general pattern for the city.
posted by SollosQ at 8:55 AM on May 3, 2014

Does the university you will be attending have an Office of Off-Campus Housing? Most large universities have something like this, and they'll be able to answer your question regarding when to look and provide information on the local student leasing cycles. A lot of them also maintain listings of available off-campus housing, and some maintain reviews / surveys of apartment complexes popular with students.
posted by needled at 9:48 AM on May 3, 2014

It really varies by city, and by campus culture. In Ann Arbor in the 199x-200x range, we often had to tell landlords if we were renewing our Sept-to-Aug lease in December so that they could rent it out by February. But for people who didn't get their apartments set that early, there were still options in April, and in June, but it tended to be a different kind of option - people scrambling because the early lease had fallen through, massive apartment complexes farther from city-center, houses looking for a 4th roommate, campus slumlandlords who charge high and primarily deal with the unprepared, etc.
posted by aimedwander at 8:39 AM on May 4, 2014

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