Published: Sept. 28, 2022


Thinking about where you’d like to live next year can be exciting and less stressful when you get a head start. While you may feel pressure to sign a lease early, it’s better to make sure you are fully prepared for your search and find the right lease for you. If you have questions about when to sign a lease, Off-Campus Housing & Neighborhood Relations (OCHNR) is here to help. As you begin your search, here are a few tips and resources.

Prepare for the search

The first step is to do some research. Start by creating a budget that includes not just rent, but also utilities, internet, groceries, etc. Check out what public transportation options are available in different neighborhoods. Check out the crime rates, and ask other students about their experiences living in their neighborhoods. You can always email to get insight from a neighborhood ambassador for advice on your off-campus living experience.

Research properties and commutes

Use Ralphie’s List, CU’s official rental database, to research properties and commutes:

  • Browse available student apartments, townhomes, condos and houses in the Boulder area.
  • Search by neighborhood, price, number of rooms and other filters.
  • Find roommates based on a variety of different criteria.
  • Review info on public transportation options you could use to get to campus, along with how long it might take to walk or drive from your potential new home to campus.

Many students commute to campus with their free student bus pass, and RTD public transit has routes that serve all of Boulder and nearby communities. With many transportation options available, consider researching properties throughout the Boulder area. Popular Boulder neighborhood areas for students include The Hill, Martin Acres, East Aurora, Goss Grove and North Boulder. Neighborhoods are often a mix of students and community members. You could also consider neighboring communities such as Longmont, Superior, Louisville or Lafayette.

Attend a CU Housing Fair

Housing fairs are a great place to learn about off-campus properties and options that will fit your budget. At housing fairs, you have the chance to meet with off-campus property managers, city offices and vendors and tips for living off campus. Attend an upcoming housing fair this fall:

Enjoy free food and giveaways when you attend!

Understand lease agreements

When you find a place you are interested in renting, get legal advice on any rental concerns you may have. Students can make an appointment with attorney Bruce Sarbaugh through OCHNR to get a free lease review before signing. You can also make an appointment for any questions or concerns you may have regarding your housing situation. 

Don’t feel pressured to sign a lease earlier than you are comfortable with. Rentals become available throughout the year so if you don’t find a rental early, it won’t be too late. 

Finding roommates

As you consider who your roommates will be next year, make sure you’re aware of the city of Boulder occupancy limits, which states a maximum of three or four unrelated individuals living together. Both tenants and property owners can be subject to violations of over-occupancy and up to a $2,000 per day fine. You can use Ralphie’s List to browse profiles of potential roommates. Find the perfect fit for your living situation!

If you have an idea of who you’ll be living with next year, talk with your potential roommate(s) about what expectations each of you might have. Consider completing a roommate agreement before you move in together.

Learn more about finding housing.