International Students and Scholars of UCSC

Your first step:
If you have your CruzID (your "@ucsc.edu" email address), take Community Rental’s online Renters Workshop. It helps you learn about searching for housing and renting in Santa Cruz. If you don't have your CruzID yet, the information from the workshop is available in our Resources for Renters.

Be Aware That:
Community Rentals recommends you do NOT rent anything without seeing it with the owner or professional property manager. It is best to arrive earlier than your start date with a reservation at a hotel or elsewhere, then embark on your housing search. Of course you can look at listings online and get an idea of quality, location and price but you don’t want to sign a long-term lease and then not like the location, or the rental itself. You also greatly reduce being the victim of a rental scam by dealing in person with the owners, professional managers, live-in apartment managers or licensed Real Estate Brokers and their agents. Everyone must take caution to avoid a rental scam.

Landlords look for verifiable rental history from a third-party landlord, proof of good credit, and documented monthly income sufficient to pay the rent and living expenses. Most refuse to rent to anyone who has not viewed the inside of a rental in person. They want to meet you. It’s a ‘red flag’ if they want your money without showing you the rental.

International students and scholars usually will not have verifiable rental or credit history in the United States. Your task is to show a landlord that you are a good tenant and capable to pay the rent on time. You must come up with proof of funds and trustworthiness and at the same time exercise caution to not end up in a bad rental situation.

Ideas for means to achieve this:

  • Provide a copy of proof of your affiliation at UCSC
  • Provide a copy of your J-1 or F-1 visa. Most landlords do not know the significance of this visa. Inform them that without proof of sufficient funds, a student or researcher would not be granted a visa by any consular section of a U.S. embassy. Let a landlord know that a person granted a visa had to show adequate resources to demonstrate ability to pay for all educational costs plus living expenses while in the U.S. We include this information on our Frequently Asked Questions for Landlords — you can direct them to this page.
  • Provide a copy of your personal identification such as a passport – residents of California provide a California Driver’s License or California ID card
  • Provide an official letter of financial support from the funding home university or other entity
  • Open a bank account after arrival and place a substantial amount of money in it to demonstrate proof of funds. (Some ways to bring money into the country are through PayPal, international money order, or through wire transfer)
  • Offer to pay the maximum deposit allowable by law (amount equal to two months' rent for an unfurnished rental or three months' rent for a furnished rental).
  • Provide an “Income Certificate” or “Certification of Deposit Balance” from your country.
  • Show evidence of credit card accounts
  • Have a professor or friend who is a resident of Santa Cruz write a letter of recommendation, or actually have them co-sign the rental agreement
  • Skype with the landlord or manager before your arrival so that both parties can gain some impression of each other.

Searching:
Eligible individuals may search our rental listings. If you find rentals on other sites, especially craigslist, check with our office to see if we accept their advertisements. We cannot screen landlords but we do refuse to take some landlord’s postings as a result of multiple complaints from previous student tenants. Those landlords often post on craigslist.