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Living off Grounds

Apartments and rooms in the Charlottesville area can be found in almost any price range and description. Many of these apartments are within walking distance of the University or on University or Charlottesville city bus lines.

Most students choose to live in two-, three-, or four-person apartments with their own bedrooms. An individual student’s share of the rent typically ranges from $623 to $1,061 per month. Leases for most apartments run on a 12-month basis, usually starting in June or August.

Students who want to live off Grounds may feel the need to make their housing decisions before the on-Grounds selection process, sometimes starting in the early fall. In truth, apartments for the following year often are available as late as May. First-year students in particular should not rush to make a decision. Instead, they are well-advised to take time to become acclimated to college life and living with other students, to make friends, and to learn about the many housing options available, including on-Grounds housing.

As a means of helping students with decisions and procedures surrounding living off Grounds, the University and Student Council have developed support for off-Grounds housing resources. Housing & Residence Life offers information to help students navigate the decisions involved in living off Grounds. The office sponsors programs and produces materials aimed at helping students decide where to live, understand leases, create a safe living environment, develop a budget, and more. See for more information.

Student Legal Services, also funded through Student Council, assists students with the review of leases and other landlord/tenant legal matters. For more information, see Student Legal Services.

Property Maintenance Inspector - A Resource for Students Living off Grounds

To enhance the safety and security of students living off Grounds, the University has funded a full-time property maintenance inspector since 2005. This official is responsible for enforcing building code and safety issues in residential areas near the University. This individual joins the city fire marshal in annual inspections of each fraternity and sorority house in Charlottesville.

The housing inspector can help address health, fire, and other safety concerns. Students who live in off-Grounds housing and who have safety or building-related concerns should first contact their landlord or property manager. In the event that these issues are not corrected in a timely manner, students should contact the city of Charlottesville property maintenance inspector for assistance at 434.970.3184.

It is important to note that by law, the city's inspector can only respond to requests made by the leasee—the student, for example, and not the parent.

More information about Charlottesville’s Code of Ordinances, which promotes clean, safe, and attractive neighborhoods, is available at the City of Charlottesville website.

For more information
Housing & Residence Life
434.924.3736 |

Living off Grounds: Considerations

Students planning to live off Grounds are urged to keep these guidelines in mind before signing a lease:

  • Determine what is covered in the rent when considering how much you can afford.
  • Ask if there are additional expenses, such as utilities, cable, or Internet connection. Some rental agencies include certain utilities in the cost of rent, so make a note of which ones are covered when signing a lease.
  • Be sure to check the parking in and around the complex (is there a monthly fee for parking, is a city permit required, or is it open parking?). Much of the parking in Charlottesville (including on-street parking) is restricted to permitholders.
  • Whenever possible, parents should go with students to meet landlords and look over rental property prior to the lease being signed. Generally, the landlord and the tenant will walk through the property to make sure that everything is in working order. Another option is to review the lease with Student Legal Services prior to signing.
  • Review security needs with the landlord and discuss whether changes, if any, will be at the landlord’s or tenant’s expense. These details will be included in the written lease. Some features are controlled by city building codes and may not be under the landlord’s control.
  • Purchasing renters’ insurance is strongly recommended if student possessions are not covered by a parent’s homeowners’ insurance policy.
  • Always take safety into consideration!