Frequently Asked Questions - Community Housing

Q: Who is eligible to use the Community Housing office for finding housing?
A: Any current direct Stanford affiliate can use this service. This includes students, employees, faculty, postdoctoral scholars, visiting scholars, and visiting researchers. Alumni, however, are not eligible to use the service.

Q: What is the rental market like right now?
A: As of Winter 2015, the rental market is moderately tight. The economy in Silicon Valley is doing well, companies are hiring, and rents remain high. The market for cottages, houses and apartments is tighter than for rooms and shared rentals. Many rooms sit vacant for long periods of time, so if you see an ad and know that it has been running for quite awhile, you should not assume that it has been rented or that there is something wrong with it! The toughest market is for short-term housing. It can be VERY difficult to find a short term rental.

Q: Does the Community Housing office get the housing listings from the newspapers?
A: No. Landlords submit rental listings directly to Community Housing in order to reach prospective Stanford tenants.

Q: What other resources should I use?
A: Check craigslist,, hotpads, padmappers,, etc. 

Q: The Places4Students web site requires a working Stanford email account to set up a "student" account.  What should I do if I won't have a Stanford email account until I arrive? 
A: Send proof of Stanford affiliation, along with your e-mail address, fax number, or address, to the Community Housing office. This can be faxed to 650-736-1297 or mailed to 482 Galvez Mall #110, Stanford, CA 94305. We will promptly send you the information needed to access the rental listings.

Q: How often are the rental listings updated?
A: Listings are updated Monday through Friday.

Q: Are the posted rents discounted in any way?
A: In general, no. However, there are some landlords who offer lower rents in order to help students - most of these are people with rooms for rent in their homes.

Q: How far ahead of time can I secure housing?
A: In this area, most landlords don't advertise a vacancy until it is already available, or up to a month ahead of time. For this reason, you should time your concentrated housing search for as close to your desired move-in date as possible.

Q: How long should I allow to secure housing?
A: You should allow two weeks, keeping in mind that you may be lucky and find something in two days or unlucky and not find anything for a month. If you have a pet (especially a dog) or have a very limited amount of money to spend on rent, it will probably take you longer to find housing.

Q: Where do most Stanford affiliates live?
A: Stanford affiliates are scattered all over the area - generally within 4.5 miles of campus. Many people prefer to be within Palo Alto and Menlo Park because of the proximity to campus, but these cities are more expensive than most of the surrounding communities. More and more Stanford affiliates are choosing Redwood City, Mountain View, and Sunnyvale because of the lower rents - particularly locations close to CalTrain stations.

Q: What time of year do leases begin in this area?
A: There is no particular time of year when leases/rental agreements begin. Start-dates are available at all times of month and all times of year.

Q: Is there anything I can do to make myself a more appealing tenant?
A: You need to sell yourself somewhat, as if you were applying for a job. Make any house-hunting phone calls between 9 AM and 9 PM so as not to disturb anyone's sleep, be punctual for appointments, contact the landlord if you are delayed or need to cancel and appointment, dress neatly, and be polite. Make yourself a list of questions to ask when viewing a unit, and be sure not to ask questions that were answered by the advertisement to which you responded. Address any concerns you have about the condition of the unit and/or appliances, but try not to seem overly nitpicky. If you like the unit, say so. If you definitely want to rent the unit, apply for it on the spot. The day after applying, call the landlord to thank him/her for showing you the unit and to express your enthusiasm for the unit.

Q: What information should I have available to give to a landlord?
A: Your residence history - dates, addresses, rents, and names and (current) phone numbers of managers/landlords.
Your employment history (if any) - dates, titles, company/school names, names and (current) phone numbers of your supervisors.
Current credit information - creditor names, account numbers, addresses, and monthly payment amounts.
A copy of your credit report, if possible.
Income information - amounts of income from employment, student loans, grants, parental support, government support, trust funds, etc. Provide documentation where possible.

Q: Are there application fees in this area?
A: Yes. Landlords can charge a fee for processing applications and running credit checks. However, if they do not run a credit check on you they are required to refund that portion of the fee. Fees often range from $20-$50 per adult.

Q: Is there public transportation in the area?
A: The public transportation system here is not extensive, but it does exist. Caltrain runs along the peninsula between San Francisco and San Jose. It has stops in Redwood City, Atherton, Menlo Park, Palo Alto, Mountain View, and Sunnyvale. Stanford operates a free shuttle that runs to two train stations in Palo Alto, to the Menlo Park train station, a shopping center near the Mountain View train station, and into downtown Palo Alto.
There are buses that run up and down El Camino Real, along Middlefield Road, out Willow Road, etc.
Stanford's Parking & Transportation Services office has a great Web site with links to route maps and schedules. 

Last modified Tue, 3 Mar, 2015 at 15:27