Welcome to the University of Texas at in Austin! Navigating the housing process can be difficult — especially if you’ve never lived away from your parents or in tiny dorm rooms with lofted beds. UTexas.Rent is a great starting point; it will help you narrow your search and contact housing providers directly. We’ve also put together some tips for you to make it easier. Read on!
Trying to live on-campus? Get your application in ASAP
Students files 16,660 housing applications to live on-campus for the 2016-17 school year, but, according to The Daily Texan, only 7,323 students lived on campus. In order to avoid getting waitlisted — or not getting on-campus housing — don’t procrastinate on your application.
Wanting to move off-campus? Look early and know your options!
Use websites like UTexas.Rent to explore off-campus housing options! Many students start looking in the fall for their housing for the next academic year — accordingly, it’s important to start searching early in order to avoid disappointment.
The University of Texas released a study in 2016 to help graduate students narrow their searches, and its analyses can help any apartment-seeker. UT has also put together a comprehensive off-campus resource webpage, available at offcampus.utexas.edu.
Make sure you check out the apartment before you sign a lease! Tour multiple places you’re interested in, and ask plenty of questions. Here are some to start you off:
— Is parking included?
— Are utilities or cable included?
— Where’s the nearest bus stop?
— Are pets allowed?
— Are there laundry facilities within the apartment or complex?
It’s also important to budget. Using a rent calculator to figure out how much you can spend on housing will help you plan. UT has also compiled a checklist of questions you should ask before you sign a lease.
Can you handle a commute?
Living near campus in neighborhoods like West Campus can be convenient, but might be more expensive compared to housing in neighborhoods like Riverside that are farther away. Figure out what works best for your needs, whether it’s walking, biking, or taking a bus. Did you know you can ride CapMetro for free with your UT ID? If you choose to take the bus, using CapMetro’s Trip Planner will get you where you need to go. If you plan on driving to campus, make sure you’re aware of your parking options — you can purchase a parking permit from UT or look for other parking options near campus.
Check if you qualify for S.M.A.R.T. housing
The Safe Mixed-income Accessible Reasonably-priced Transit-oriented (S.M.A.R.T.) Housing program was started by the Austin City Council to provide housing for low- to moderate-income residents. To qualify, students must be receiving need-based financial aid or they cannot make more than 50-80% of the median income in Austin. Several apartment complexes near campus offer S.M.A.R.T. housing, where apartments are offered at below-market rent prices — if students qualify through income verification, their rental rate can’t be any greater than 30% of their income. If interested in S.M.A.R.T. housing, get verified early — these apartments are in high demand, and usually get leased quickly. For more information on the S.M.A.R.T. Housing Program, email Sandra Harkins, Project Coordinator for the City of Austin, contact her here.
Make sure you know how to keep yourself safe
No matter you choose to live, make sure that you are aware of the following important numbers:
Austin Police Department
UT Austin Counseling and Mental Health Center
512-471-3515 Monday–Friday, 8 a.m.–5 p.m.
UT Austin Student Emergency Services
Really confused? Try a leasing agency!
Many leasing agencies offer their services for free to help you find a place to live, and they specialize in finding you places around the campus area. Some agencies, have UT students (with real estate licenses) as agents! Contact an agent if you need help making an informed decision about where to live.