Off Campus Housing Options
Many visitors realize is that in Lawrence owning a car makes makes life much easier. However, many visitors will not be here long enough to justify purchasing a car. This means that using public transportation becomes important, and finding a home close to public transportation options equally important. The Lawrence public transportation is designed to bring students to campus. This means Monday - Thursday, buses are very frequent. However on Friday and Saturday, they might not be as frequent and on Sunday there is no bus service.
Many decide that it is easier to find a home close to amenities or resources (for example: grocery stories, shopping, dinning, etc.) outside of KU so you can walk there and then take the bus to campus during the week.
We recommend that you talk with your department / faculty host about good neighborhoods to live in Lawrence. The following are websites (not affiliated with KU) where you can search apartment postings. If possible, take a friend with you when viewing apartments.
This is Lawrence’s local newspaper. Look under the classifieds->Rentals->unfurnished apartments. This is one of the best sources for off-campus housing.
This is a site where you can search for apartments. Remember that most apartments are unfurnished, and utilities such as electricity, gas, cable television and water are often NOT included in rent.
Finding a lease for a period less than one year is very difficult in Lawrence. The renting season is normally August 1 through July 31. If you arrive in Lawrence after August 1, then you may be able to rent an apartment with a lease ending July 31. International Programs has contacted many of the large apartment complexes in Lawrence for information about short-term leases.
Housing Search Strategies
- Have a cell phone and laptop computer to inquire about vacancies that become available. Many apartment leasing offices do not answer calls and have voicemail or email only. You will need the phone to receive those returned messages. You may want to prepare a script when leaving telephone messages for the landlord, mentioning that you are a new employee or scholar at KU and that you are interested in the property.
- Rent or borrow a car. Your search will go faster if you drive.
- Get familiar with housing vocabulary (see following page)
- Become familiar with names of neighborhoods. Look for housing in a neighborhood near campus where you will be working or studying, or along public transportation lines to make your commute more convenient since parking is difficult to find.
- Walk or drive around neighborhoods you like and look for “For Rent / For Lease” signs posted in the window or front yard of houses and apartments.
- Drive/ walk by to see the places you are interested in to find out what the exterior and neighborhood look like before making an appointment for viewing. When you find something you like, do not hesitate to let the landlord know immediately that you are interested. Have a check or money order ready to pay the deposit.
- Prepare a list of questions to ask your potential landlord.
- What utilities are included in the rent (water, gas, electricity, garbage, cable, and/or internet)?
- What is the cost of gas and electricity per month?
- When will the apartment be available (when is the first day I can move in)?
- How much is the security deposit?
- What parking is available?
- Are laundry facilities located on site?
- Meet potential roommates in person before making a commitment. Do not make arrangements from abroad to find a roommate. You would not want to move in with someone that might not be suitable for you. Do not be surprised if you are asked for an interview yourself from everyone in the house.
- Most apartments are unfurnished. You can purchase large furniture items (bed, dresser, tables, chairs, etc.) and have them delivered (for a fee). This is very often cheaper than renting a car to pick up items, and you can schedule when they will be delivered.