Housing and Living
In This Section
Those of you who will be moving to the Bay Area will have many options as to where you live and what type of living arrangement is most suitable for you. Some students like to be close to the law school; others enjoy putting the day of classes behind them by taking BART home to San Francisco or other parts of the East Bay. Some like to live alone, others prefer roommates, and some prefer roommates who are (or are not) law students. Our only advice is this: It is best to be moved and settled in as early as possible in the semester. That may seem like a huge task, but if you are conscientious and persistent you ought to be able to secure decent housing and get your bearings quickly. Many students experience anxiety over this task, but all students do manage to find a place to live and get settled. And, remember, with the appropriate sticker, your Cal student ID Card entitles you to free rides on local buses so you need to confine your housing search to the immediate campus vicinity.
You will find a complete listing of housing options for graduate students at here.University Housing
Although most graduate students live in off-campus rental housing, there are a few options in the category of university and alternative housing near campus. University apartment options for graduate/law students consist of the Manville Apartments, Ida Louise Jackson Graduate House, and apartments in University Family Student Housing.
Housing For Single Students
The Manville Apartments are reserved for law and graduate students. Assignment priority is given to law students. Manville, with its unique, award-winning architecture, is located just three blocks from the central campus at the corner of Shattuck Avenue and Channing Way. This location features a popular coffee cafe right downstairs, restaurants, a bookstore, and a copy and desktop publishing shop across the street. Just down the block, in downtown Berkeley, are more restaurants, movie theaters and shops. The complex consists of 132 small, single-occupancy studio apartments. There is normally a waiting list, so the sooner you apply, the more likely you will get an offer of housing. Each apartment is approximately 275 square feet, and some have decks, views or access to the central open-air courtyard. Each apartment is carpeted and features a built-in kitchenette, desk and bookcase. The complex has study rooms, a laundry room and a recreation room. Rents ranged from $1082 to $1118 per month in academic year 2014-2015, and include all utilities except electricity. A 12-month lease is required. Rent is reduced by $200 in June and July.
Ida Louise Jackson Graduate House
This nearby complex features both shared and single-occupancy studio units just one block from the law school. Furnished apartments range from two bedrooms up to six bedrooms, and the complex features study rooms, lounges, a private courtyard and coin laundry facilities. Each apartment features a kitchen, living room, dining area and one or two bathrooms, depending upon the number of bedrooms in the unit. The complex is reserved for graduate students. Rates per bedroom range from $992 to $1167 in 2014-2015. A 12-month lease is required. Rent is reduced by $200 in June and July. All utilities are included. To apply online for either the Manville Apartments or Jackson House, go to www.housing.berkeley.edu/livingatcal/graduatestudents.html.
For more information you may contact Cal Housing:
2610 Channing Way #2272
Berkeley, CA 94720-2272
Housing For Married Students And Students With Children
University apartments for married students or students with a domestic partner, with or without children, and single parents are available in Albany, a small city approximately three miles northwest of campus. The University Village is an active, supportive community for students juggling family and educational responsibilities. 2014-2015 rental rates for Family Student Housing are reasonable ($1337, $1597 and $1818 respectively for 1, 2 and 3 bedroom apartments in the new West Village, and $1733 to $2059 for 2 and 3 bedroom flats and townhouses in the recent East Village), include all utilities (except telephone service), and a parking space.
To qualify as a student family and live in Family Student Housing, you must be:
1) A registered student living with a spouse or family member, or
2) A registered student living with a spouse and one or more minor children, or
3) A registered student who is a single parent and has at least 50 percent custody of his or her ward, or
4) A registered student living with a partner in a committed relationship.
See www.housing.berkeley.edu/livingatcal/stufam_elig.html for details on eligibility.
Note: Single graduate students may apply for a one bedroom West Village apartment and two or more single graudate/law students may apply together to share a two-bedroom East Village townhouse, but student families have priority for University Village housing offers. If the university classifies you as a Postdoctoral Fellow or Visiting Scholar (PD/VS), then you are welcome to apply for Family Student Housing (East and West Village only.)
Eligible students should apply early, as assignments are made on a first-come, first-served basis, and there is a waiting list. It is anticipated that starting in January 2013, the Family Student Housing Application and Assignment process will be fully online. The length of time you will remain on the waiting list depends on the type of apartment you request, the demand and your move-in date. The greatest demand (and longest wait) for housing is in August, at the beginning of the fall semester. The shortest wait is usually mid-semester during October and March. You may begin the online application process here.
For more information about Family Student Housing, contact:
Cal Housing/Apartment Assignments
Residential & Student Service Programs
2610 Channing Way
Berkeley, CA 94720-2272
Berkeley Student Cooperatives
The Berkeley Student Cooperative is a student-owned and operated system of 17 rooming houses and 3 apartment complexes near campus. Students contribute a weekly work shift to keep the cost of housing extremely low. Two facilities, Hillegass Parker House and The Convent, are set aside for graduate and reentry students. The 2012-2013 rates in the graduate/reentry houses are $3,354 per semester for a standard single and $3,966 for a larger “deluxe” single. These rates include room, board and utilities. In addition to meal service in the rooming houses, the house kitchens are available for students to use at all times.
Off-Campus Rental Housing
The majority of law students live in apartments in the Berkeley or Oakland area. Most students spend at least a week looking for an apartment. Most landlords will expect the first month's rent and a security deposit (usually equal to a month's rent) in advance.
The best place to start looking for an apartment is at Cal Rentals, part of the Cal Housing "family" in Residential & Student Service Programs. You can take advantage of Cal Rentals resources on the web, by phone or in person to help guide you in the steps you need to take to have a successful house-hunting experience. The rental market is like that of many busy, competitive urban areas. During times of peak house hunting, rentals that are well priced and in popular areas close to campus may be rented within a day or two. Luckily, you will have an edge in that grad students are most often viewed as desirable tenants!
All Cal Rentals listings have a consistent format for comparison, are linked to online maps and are reviewed by an area expert before posting online.
The listings, consultations and house-hunting resources are included in a modest fee of $20 for 3 months of online access. Any student with a CalNet ID can initiate a rental listings account directly on the Cal Rentals website, http://calrentals.berkeley.edu/, and pay the fee online. First select "Find Rental Housing" and then click on "CalNet Authentication" under "Students".
If you wish to start your search before your CalNet ID is activated, you may use this alternate method to gain access to the Cal Rentals listings:
Fax a copy of your letter of admission to Cal Rentals at 510-642-4026.
Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to alert the Cal Rentals staff that you will be requesting an account.
Request a new student rental listings account on the Cal Rentals website:
Click on “Find Rental Housing” at http://calrentals.berkeley.edu/
Click on “Newcomer/Affiliate Student” and then on “Register Online”.
Complete the form and submit.
Cal Rentals will send you an email with a link to the online payment system once your admission letter is matched with your online request.
Although you may begin browsing rental listings whenever you like, there is actually such a thing as starting your search too early. New rentals, available for immediate occupancy, are advertised daily. Begin looking in earnest at the point at which you can both afford to start paying rent and spend time to view places. Although it may be tempting to secure a rental on the basis of e-photos, this can be a mistake without touring the entire unit, looking at the surrounding neighborhood, and seeing how you will commute to campus. If you are seeking a room in a shared household, of course it is advisable to interview the other household members to determine if you are compatible. We also provide listings to find or advertise for roommates. To sum it up, house-hunting will almost certainly require your presence in Berkeley.
For more information contact:
Residential & Student Services Programs
2610 Channing Way, 2nd floor
Berkeley, CA 94720-2272
Typical Rent Ranges
The following are typical monthly rent ranges for apartments and houses in Berkeley and the surrounding areas:
$697 - $1,220 - Room in shared apartment or house
$800 - $1,272 - Studio apartment
$975 - $1,500 - One-bedroom apartment
$1,417 - $3,724 - Two-bedroom apartment or house (Berkeley)
$2,100 - $4,361 and up - Three-bedroom or larger house (three-bedroom apartments are rare)
Please note that market rates may change and rents are sometimes negotiable.
Work ExchangesSometimes a lister will seek a student to perform a job, such as baby-sitting, gardening or property management, in exchange for a room or small apartment at no rent or reduced rent. Expect to work approximately 12 to 15 hours per week for a rent-free situation.
Rental Listings: Other Sources
The following information provides overviews of some of the many resources you can use in your housing search.
Craigslist is a popular, free online bulletin board of community information, job listings and rental listings. To access this information, go online to http://www.craigslist.org/
Uloop is a network of online marketplaces for college students, featuring classified advertisements (with textbooks, job, carpools, housing, for sale, travel, and events categories). http://berkeley.uloop.com
Local newspapers also have rental listings and are easily found near campus at many bookstores and cafes. Some of the most helpful, such as the “Daily Californian” and “East Bay Express,” are free.
Interim Housing During Your Search
If you do not have a place to stay during your housing search over the summer, you might consider staying in university-operated Summer Visitor Housing, located in a residence hall near campus. Until mid-August, you can rent a single room for one or two people for approximately $65 per room per night, with a discounted weekly rate. (Please check the website below for additional rate information.) You should make your reservations as soon as you know your arrival date. Credit card, cash and U.S. currency traveler's checks are accepted, and a full payment for the length of your stay is required upon arrival. Additional information is available online at http://www.housing.berkeley.edu/conference/reserv_req_form.html.
If you prefer not to stay in a residence hall, there are many hotels and motels in the Berkeley area, particularly on University Avenue. You will find a list of hotels and motels on the Cal Rentals website and in the Visiting Boalt Hall section of this Guide. If you expect an assignment to university-operated housing, you may need to rent a place until your assignment is ready. Cal Rentals recommends that your off-campus rental be a month-to-month agreement, which allows you to move out with 30 days written notice to the landlord. Approximately half the rentals listed with Cal Rentals are month-to-month or offer negotiable tenancies.