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 Santa Barbara > Community > Education > International Student Guide > Housing Options

Housing Options

To find a place to live is really important thing. If you are a international student, first you can speak with your school's housing offices about various options. There are some housing options for international students in Santa Barbara. 


First option is a homestay. Homestay provides a private room in American home. It can be arranged with or without meals. Usually, the schools connect students with homestay family. This arrangement is a good way to experience of living in an American home, but you will have less freedom compared to live in Dormitory or in Private Apartments.

  Private Apartments/ Rental house

If you want to have more freedom or save money, you can get a private apartment or a house.  You can rent a house in Santa Barbara area as well as Goleta and Isla Vista. In downtown SB, you have a lot of choices and the house is usually cheaper than Goleta area. But if you are a UCSB student, it can be too far from school. In Isla Vista, there are a lot of apartments for students. Because there are so many students live together in IV, sometimes you can meet slumlords. To find a rental house can be a overwhelming task. Moreover, you should consider several things to rent a house such as location, rental fee, etc. Here are some tips when you rent a house. 

  • Take your time- Check newspaper classified advertisements or some college newspaper. ( UCSB daily nexus has a classified section about roommates and housing) When you find an apartment, contact with the manager and inspect the unit. It is also good way to talk with other tenants in the building.
  • Never sign a lease/ contract that you don't understand completely. This means you have to read a lease carefully and figure out the detailed information such as rental rate, deposit, length of occupancy, apartment rules, etc. If you sign for 1year  lease, you must really careful if you can hold liable for whole year. 
  • Deposit - In a lease or rental agreement, a landlord cannot require a non-refundable deposit. A security deposit is often required but a landlord may keep only those parts of cleaning and security deposits needed to repair damage caused by the tenant, to clean the premises, or to make up for unpaid rent. The manager should return the refundable part of the deposit. Deductions from the deposit must be itemized in writing. 
  • Apartment sharing - If one roommate leaves without paying his or her share of the rent, the landlord has the right to collect the rent from the remaining tenants. So, you should be really careful to choose roommates who can fulfill their share of the obligation. Also, if you are going to live with others, talk with prospective roommates before you sing a lease. Talk about sleep and study habits, musical tastes, overnight guests, cleaning habits, etc.
  • Make sure you record the condition of your apartment when you move in. - It is important to note anything that may be wrong with the apartment : stains, holes in the walls, broken cupboards, etc. This is the best way to avoid disputes over your deposit.
  • Notice before you leave - When you intend to end your tenancy, you should give a notice to your landlord at least 30 days before. 

A Guide to Residential Tenants' and Landlords' Rights and Responsibilities

Bong Ku Han from Korea
video interview