Resources for Finding Housing
- W&M Off-Campus Housing. One of W&M's main resources for local apartment searches, which includes detailed listings of current apartment openings, and also includes a room-mate search resource. Most housing offers are in Williamsburg/James City County (the county that surrounds Williamsburg).
- Whose Your Landlord. Provides evaluations of landlords from prior tenants.
- International Post-it List Serv. Emails go out to the international community on Thursdays. Some students, scholars and faculty use this to seek housing or advertise spaces.
- Off-Campus Housing Facebook Group. Some students use this to seek housing or advertise spaces. (Note: This group is not affiliated with W&M and is provided for informational purposes only. ISSP does not endorse nor confirm the accuracy of its content).
- Departmental listservs and message boards (School of Education, School of Business, VIMS, etc.) —ask your department manager if these exist, and if so, to be added early.
- New international students are encouraged to reach out to their international peer leaders, current students, and other new students to make connections and find off-campus housing together.
Things to Know Before Renting
- It is often difficult to make a decision from abroad, therefore, we recommend looking for housing after you have arrived. If this is the case, you may want to look into short-term housing options.
- A Guide to Successful Off-Campus Living explains your rights as a tenant and your responsibilities in your neighborhood.
- Security deposit for housing. Most rentals require a deposit (typically the equivalent of 1 month’s rent) when you sign a lease. This deposit is typically in addition to that month's rent. At the end of your lease you will get this deposit back, less any fees for damages or cleaning.
- Avoiding rental scams. Rental scams happen when a property owner misrepresent themselves. Below are some tips on how to avoid rental scams:
- Do not wire money as a deposit or payment of first and last month's rent. Wiring money is the same as giving cash; you cannot get a refund, even if you find out the offer was a fraud.
- Do not pay a security deposit, fee, or first month’s rent before you have seen the property and signed a lease.
- Get a copy of the lease, signed by both you and the property owner/manager. The lease should have the terms of your rental, including fees, rent, and maintenance.
- More tips are available at Avoiding Rental Scams by USA.gov
- Security deposits for utilities. Most utility companies (gas, electric, internet, etc.) require that you pay a deposit when initially starting them if you do not have a credit history or social security number in the U.S.
- After 1 year you should get this deposit back (typically in the form of a bill reduction).
- Deposits are typically $200 or more for each utility that you set up, so make sure that you have enough money to get started (or arrange to split the costs of deposits with your roommates).
- Setting up utilities.You will probably need to call the utility companies (or contact them online) to set up your utilities such as electricity, gas, internet, etc. Your landlord/manager should provide you with a list of utilities that you will be responsible for and also provide a list of utility companies. If you will be living with roommates, you should decide who will set up each utility, and how you will divide the costs.
- Paying rent. Rent is typically due at the beginning of each month. Many landlords require that it be paid by check, though sometimes there are online options or other payment methods.
- Pets. Most rental housing does not allow pets, so if you plan to have a pet, check the policy in advance.
- Background checks. Some rental applications require a background check (and often a fee); these background checks sometimes require a social security number. If you do not have a social security number, contact your rental company or landlord to see what other options you have for completing the background check.
What to Look for in a Rental
- Proximity to bus line/walking/biking distance. The William & Mary bus line makes loops around campus during the academic year. Buses in Williamsburg do not run as often as in big cities, and stops are limited, so check the schedule first to have an idea of what to expect.
- Cost. Off-campus housing rental rates are often listed by apartment/house instead of by room. Sometimes housing is rented by room, but this should be specified in the advertisement.
- Safety. Before signing a lease, make sure that your potential apartment and neighborhood are safe. Pay attention to things like parking and street lighting. You can reserach the property management and the surrounding neighborhood to ensure that it is a safe area to live in.
- Long-term or short-term rental. Most apartment complexes or landlords will require long-term leases (e.g., 6 months or 1 year). Some will offer short-term (month-to-month) rentals but the rent will be higher.
- Furnished or Unfurnished apartments. Most apartments will be unfurnished but some will offer furnished apartments for a fee.
- Number of bedrooms. Single room apartments are more expensive than apartments with multiple bedrooms (when a unit is shared).
- Number of bathrooms. In advertisements, a “full bathroom” includes a toilet, sink, and bath or shower. A “half bath” includes a toilet and sink only.
What’s Included in the Rent
When researching housing, ask which (if any) of these are included in the rental price.
- Utilities: Water, gas and/or electricity, internet, cable television. In many cases, no utilities (except sometimes water) are provided by the management, so you should factor these additional costs in your planning. Utilities are typically billed monthly.
- Major appliances. Most units include a stove, oven and a refrigerator, but it is important to confirm this.
- Laundry. If a washing machine and dryer are not provided, you will need to use a local laundromat.
- Air conditioning. Williamsburg is typically very hot and humid in the summer (77F/25C or more). If central air conditioning is not included, consider asking if it is permitted for you to use a window unit.
- Furnished/unfurnished. Most off-campus housing is rented without furniture (bed, tables, sofas, etc.) but sometimes furnished housing is available.
- Parking. This sometimes carries an additional fee, if it is available. In some locations, street parking is available; a permit typically can be purchased from the City of Williamsburg. If more than one person will have a car, ask about the number of parking spaces available.
Local Apartment Information
- The list is provided for informational purposes only and the apartments are listed in order of proximity to the campus, with those closest listed first.
- Be sure to contact the apartment complexes directly for the most updated information.
- We have indicated which apartments are on the bus line but be sure to visit the Williamsburg Area Transport for the most updated bus routes and schedules.