Planning Ahead

Factors to Keep in Mind


Figuring out how much you can spend on rent each month will help to narrow your search. The costs for accommodations vary and are determined by the landlord. Many landlords require that a tenant’s income be triple the monthly rent to qualify for a unit. Some units accept cosigners for those who do not meet such qualifications, so make sure you ask! It is also important to keep in mind that more and more apartments in the county are charging residents for water and garbage. Also, when renting a house, all utilities tend to be the responsibility of the tenants.


Sharing a unit with other residents is often a necessity for students to reduce the cost of rent. Make sure to compare lifestyle preferences, including studying, sleeping, and cleaning habits. It is also important to be in agreement on financial responsibilities. For those who have animals, it is also critical to note that 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, which should be agreed upon by all roommates before signing the lease. 


Most rentals in Sonoma County require that tenants sign a fixed lease, meaning you will be obligated to pay rent for the duration of your contract by the terms of your lease. Do not sign a multiple month lease if you think you may want to move out before the lease is up. Leases are legally binding documents. 


Living off-campus is a big responsibility. Not only are you in charge of upkeeping the home, but rental homes often require yard upkeep, as well. Unlike living in a Residential Community, repairs can take longer because there is not a property manager on site; be sure to get information from the owner of the house on what to do in case repairs are needed quickly.