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With the exception of Isla Vista, most off-campus housing options do not need to be secured months in advance. Landlords usually post open listings when they are available and will want tenants who can move in right away. Plan to start looking for housing about a month before you plan to move in.

Some General Tips

  • Year-long leases are typical, but shorter leases and month-to-month options are not uncommon. Always try your hand at negotiating if you need something different than what is offered.
  • It is hard to find places with in-unit laundry, but most have on-site laundry.
  • While the area is very dog-friendly, it can be difficult to find rentals that allow any pets.
  • Most buildings in the area are more than 20 years old, so don’t expect many upgraded features.
  • Be prepared to fill out a rental application, which typically needs past landlord contact information, personal reference contact information, employment information, and financial information (bank and credit card account numbers). There may also be a small application fee.
  • For employment information, it would be helpful to have an enrollment verification letter from UCSB and any fellowship, TAship, or GSR information — the more information you can give a potential landlord about your ability to pay rent on time for the length of the lease will help you secure a place.
  • Expect to pay a security deposit of at least one month’s rent (property providers can ask up to two times the amount of rent for an unfurnished unit), though can be more if you are considered a risky tenant.
  • Depending on your rental history, income, or credit score, you may need to have a co-signer.

Typical Rental Costs

  • Private room in a shared apartment or house: Starting around $700/month
  • Studio: $900-$1000/month, size and amenities can vary widely
  • 1-bedroom apartment: $1200-$1400/month
  • 2-bedroom apartment: $1500- $2000/month
  • 3-bedroom apartment or house: Some close to $2000/month, but usually closer to $2500 and up

Additional Costs for Off-Campus Renters

Off-Campus Housing Resources

Rental listings, etc.

We have created a map of the local area (below) with neighborhood boundaries and brief descriptions, as well as some amenities like grocery stores, shopping centers, and movie theaters. This map also incorporates the information from the UCSB Community Housing Office.

View Goleta Housing Map in a larger map

The Community Housing Office also provides other helpful resources such as Rental Listings (including undergrad and grad households, rooms in private homes, as well as vacant units in the community) and the Rental Housing Success Guide. Though targeted to undergrads, it explains a lot about the rental, move-in, and move-out process. Community Housing Office also provides a move-in/move-out videotaping service to help secure your security deposit. They videotape for students that live in Isla Vista, Goleta, and Santa Barbara. The cost is $25 for both move-in and move-out video and can be scheduled here.

Isla Vista Information

Due to its proximity to campus, some students choose to live in Isla Vista. Below are some pros/cons.

Short walking distance to food (Pardall/Embarcadero Del Mar), lots of local parks, close to the beach, beaches are rarely crowded and are beautiful, biking to campus takes less than 10 minutes, very social atmosphere, some of the apartments do allow pets

High rates of theft and vandalizing, very loud (especially Thursday-Sunday), lots of glass on the streets


  • Live as far from Del Playa as possible (if you like sleep). The farthest street away with housing is Picasso.
  • Don’t walk around IV alone at night.
  • Many apartments start booking for fall early in January, so start looking now if you want to find an apartment.
  • Bring lots of earplugs.

Need to use a zip code for an online search?

  • Goleta & Isla Vista 93117
  • UCSB Campus 93106
  • Noleta (area between Turnpike and 217/Kellogg Ave.) 93111
  • Upper State, La Cumbre 93105
  • Hope Ranch 93110
  • Downtown 93101
  • Mesa 93109
  • Eastside 93103
  • Montecito 93108
  • Carpinteria 93013