Off-Campus Housing Search FAQ

How do I find off-campus housing?

For housing, start with CCA's off-campus housing list, which is updated weekly with listings that local landlords post specifically for CCA students.

Didn't find what you wanted? Locals often turn to Craig's List, which is searchable by neighborhood. (Select East Bay or San Francisco depending on which campus you seek to be most near.)

Other reliable housing websites:

Local newspapers, such as the Oakland Tribune, the San Francisco Chronicle, and the Contra Costa Times might also prove helpful.

What are the closest neighborhoods to CCA's two campuses?

The Oakland campus is located at 5212 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94618 and the San Francisco campus is located at 1111 8th Street, San Francisco CA 94107-2247.

Rockridge is the ideal district closest to the Oakland campus. Other neighborhoods in proximity are Piedmont, Lake Merritt, and Temescal. Consider living in Berkeley or Emeryville, too, as each is near the Oakland campus and has accessible public transportation.

The San Francisco campus is located in the lower Potrero Hill district (close to the design district). Nearby neighborhoods include SOMA (south of Market area), the Mission, and Bernal Heights. San Francisco's public transportation system is easily accessible from many districts, so living farther away from the San Francisco campus is less of a problem.

Is my neighborhood safe?

Oakland and San Francisco are large, urban environments, which means more and less desirable areas exist in either city. The best way to decide if you feel safe in a neighborhood is to spend time in it during the day and evening. Alternatively, do a Google search for the neighborhood and read the top search results (including online crime statistics).

Try talking to residents about their experiences living there. If you don't know anyone personally, search for such residents on or Also seek blog sites and forum postings on or that allow you to post questions.

Keep in mind many neighborhoods have a website or an affiliated Yahoo group that can be a great source of information.

How do I find a roommate?

If financially you need to share housing, but are not familiar with any locals, check or for other CCA students who are also looking for roommates. Many locals turn to for roommate searches, too.

What's a lease?

A lease is a legal agreement that defines the relationship and rental terms between renter and landlord. See for relevant information about leases (including a sample lease).

What should I do before I sign a lease?

Before signing a lease, do a thorough inspection of the apartment:

  • Walk through each room and make a list of any and all damage
  • Make sure the place looks clean and well maintained
  • Check for mold in the bathrooms and kitchen
  • Make sure that all the doors open and close properly
  • Check the locks on the front (and back doors)
  • Open and close blinds
  • Turn on and off all faucets
  • Flush the toilet
  • light the burners on the stove, etc.

If anything is broken, worn or weathered, or appears it might break soon, ask the landlord to have it fixed before signing a lease. Know who makes necessary repairs once you've moved in, how long it takes for repairs to be addressed, and who (if anyone) has a key to the unit.


It is also essential that you understand your rights and responsibilities as a renter, as well as what rights your landlord has. Review your vital renter's rights before you look for an apartment.

Nolo Press offers a wealth of affordable renter- and landlord-specific, easy-to-understand books. To name just a few:

  • California Tenants' Rights
  • Break Your Lease Without Breaking the Law
  • Renters' Rights: The Basics
  • The California Landlord's Law Book: Rights & Responsibilities

Finally, don't allow a landlord or property manager to pressure or bully you. If something doesn't feel right or look right, trust your instincts.

The apartment I'm considering isn't furnished. Where can I find affordable furniture? is a reliable resource for well-priced, mostly-used furniture–you can even find items that people are willing to give away if you pick them up! The Bay Area offers IKEA, Target, WalMart, and Costco, as well as local consignment shops.

Local Goodwill Industries International and Salvation Army stores are also good resources for students who are on a budget.

Is there anything else I should think about before I sign the lease and move in?

Yes! If you haven't already considered it, think about how you'll commute to campus. If you don't have a car, is your apartment near public transportation? Conversely, if you own a car, is parking available? Is neighborhood parking regulated?Does your building have reserved spaces for tenants?How difficult is it to find street parking?

Think about services and resources, like grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations, coffee shops, and so forth. Are they located nearby? If travel is necessary, how will you get there? Understand what your neighborhood has to offer, as well as its shortcomings before you sign a lease.