fbpx

FAQ

Learn the in-and-outs of Leasing around UT.

Finding Housing

Having a Housing Scout agent on your side is a huge advantage when searching for a home around Campus. We help thousands of UT students every year find their off-campus housing. Make sure to check out the reasons why you should use Housing Scout to find your housing this year:

  • We have access to about 98% of properties in the Campus area. From individually managed houses or condos to high-rise apartments, we can help you sort through hundreds of options so you can select the property and floorpan that best fits your criteria. We are experts in leasing properties in the area around UT’s campus.
  • We are happy to communicate with parents and guardians about expectations regarding the housing search, budget, paperwork and everything leasing.
  • We communicate with the management company/property to help you navigate the application process and assist you in correctly filling out all important paperwork.
  • We are by your side throughout the leasing process and strive to make apartment hunting and leasing as smooth as possible.
  • We have been in business for almost 10 years, so we can provide you advice and expertise about everything leasing around UT.
  • And, most importantly, you do not have to pay us our our help. Using Housing Scout is completely free! We are paid by landlords and properties around Campus to help find qualified tenants to lease their property.

Using Housing Scout is completely free! We are paid by landlords and properties around Campus to help find qualified tenants to lease their property.

Housing Scout is paid a commission by the property owners/managers for leasing their property. Using our services does not increase the rent that you will have to pay nor does it increase related fees. You will get the benefit of your agent’s help while searching and touring properties and guidance on the leasing process for absolutely no charge!

Just a few minutes walk or drive from UT Campus, the West Campus, North Campus / Hyde Park and Riverside neighborhoods are popular among students. Many UT underclassman choose to live in West Campus because it offers convenient access to Campus and includes restaurants, grocery, and shopping.

We recommend that you begin your apartment search as soon as possible when pre-leasing. If you are looking for a house in West Campus, it is especially important that you start your search early—September, October, November. By December, many of the properties available for Fall move-in near campus have already been pre-leased. If you have certain preferences in mind, or a strict budget, it is wise to start earlier rather than later when more options are available to you.

If you were unable to start looking early and still need a place in June or July for August move-in, it’s not too late! Go to our Get In Touch page and fill out the form on the page. We’re confident that we can still find you a great place to live.

We understand that different clients have different needs – which is why we’re committed to showing you all of your options. Our agents have access to properties that include apartment complexes, privately owned or managed condos, and houses. Keep in mind that our agents work in the off-campus market, meaning that we’re unable to work with the UT Austin Dormitories.

There are many houses available in West Campus, North Campus and Hyde Park that students love to live at! These houses range from large Victorian-style houses to smaller bungalows to brand new modern builds, and anything you could imagine in-between.

While it is possible to live in a house, there are fewer of them than there are apartments, condominiums, and other smaller living arrangements. If you want to live in a house, make sure that you have at least 2 roommates already and reach out to us as soon as possible. Go to our Get In Touch page to begin!

SMART Housing

The S.M.A.R.T. (Safe, Mixed-income, Accessible, Reasonably-Priced, Transit-Oriented) Housing Policy Initiative is an economic development program designed help low and moderate income residents in Austin. For residents, this means that you can take advantage of lower rental rates when you qualify. Residents can qualify based on income, financial aid or disability. If you’re a full-time student, it is most likely that you will qualify based on your financial aid. If you receive any federal aid, grants, or scholarships and want to explore your SMART Housing options in West Campus, our agents can help!

There are three ways to qualify for SMART Housing – low income, financial aid or disability. If you are on need-based financial aid, you automatically qualify. Otherwise, you will need to prove that your income is below a certain median income for the area in which the particular property is located.

If you are currently receiving need-based financial aid, you may automatically qualify. You would need to look at your current Financial Aid Award Letter, then compare your grants/scholarships/loans to the approved need-based Financial Aid list. If you have any items that appear on the list, no matter the amount, then you automatically qualify for S.M.A.R.T. Housing. You can see many of the qualifying items here!

If you’re a student at The University of Texas at Austin and do not currently receive need-based financial aid, you must qualify for SMART Housing through income verification. This method of qualification is a bit complicated. If your parents are your only source of income, you will not be approved. Please be prepared to provide your W2 or last 3 pay stubs.
Only a limited number of West Campus apartments offer SMART Housing. This is because the City of Austin only grants this program to builders that comply with their construction guidelines. In addition, SMART Housing availability changes on a regular basis, making it tough to figure out the best SMART Housing deal. Typically, the most affordable SMART Housing units are leased by mid-October. We recommend contacting one of our leasing agents to find the current availability.
There is a common misconception that SMART Housing units are not as nice as non-qualifying units, because they are less expensive. This is not true. These units are the same in quality as the others at the complex, they are just offered at a lower rate specifically for those who qualify for it.
Don’t worry! Even if you do not qualify for SMART Housing, there are still very affordable options in the West Campus, North Campus/ Hyde Park and Riverside neighborhoods. You might need to consider having roommates, or double occupancy (two people per bedroom), but if budget is your biggest concern we can definitely accommodate you.

The Leasing Process

Pre-leasing is unique to college campus areas around the country. It allows for students to apply and sign their leases far in advance to the actual move-in date. For example, most apartment complexes in West Campus, North Campus/ Hyde Park and Riverside have early August move-in dates every year with the leases ending in mid-to-late July the following year. This term coincides with the UT Austin academic calendar. Pre-leasing begins in September or October every year for the following August. Normal leasing means that apartment complexes only know 30-60 days in advance their upcoming availability. The pre-lease schedule allows UT Austin’s 50k+ students to find housing with plenty of time ahead of the following school year.

Depending on the type of property you decide to live in will determine what is required in the application process. You will need to fill out an application and pay an application fee for all properties – our agents will give you full instructions on how to complete this. For houses and condos, you will need to submit a deposit with the application, and then pay the 1st month’s rent after lease signing. After that, you’re all done! Whether you do this in October or January, you can rest easy until August move-in knowing that your apartment is reserved just for you.

Our agents are prepared to walk you through the enire process from the property search process through lease signing. To help your agent best help you, it’s a good rule of thumb to have your preferences regarding your rental budget, roommates, pets, parking, and furniture. We also recommend talking to your parents to make sure they are on-board with you living off-campus. This will help your Housing Scout Agent narrow down your options so that you can see the most suitable places for you!

Guarantors

Many college students and young adults rely on their parents for financial support throughout their early years renting or owning property. Parents often have concerns and questions about their involvement in their child’s housing choices.

When a student resident decides to lease an apartment or house, it is common practice for their parent(s) or other relatives to sign on as a guarantor for the lease, guaranteeing that the rent will get paid. This also helps residents avoid the need for a double security deposit. We have compiled the most common questions about guarantors for your convenience.

In order to qualify for an apartment, you generally need to have a monthly income that is at least three times the monthly rent amount. This must be proven with pay stubs. If you are self-employed, you can provide recent bank statements. If you are unable to show this amount of income, you will need to find a guarantor for your lease.
Every apartment complex and landlord is different. Most do not require using a relative as a guarantor, but the more strict landlords might require a family relation.
If you are an international resident and do not have enough income to qualify without a guarantor, you will not be able to use a guarantor that is out of the country. Alternatively, you must provide documentation from a company or state entity ensuring your financial security (such as a letter from your bank). For students, you will also need to provide an I-20, I-94 and a copy of your passport.
When someone guarantees your lease, they are verifying that they are liable for the entire rent amount for the entire duration of the lease. This also means they are liable for damage caused by the tenants. Be sure your guarantor understands that they are responsible for paying the rent if you are unable to do so.

Depending on the type of lease, yes. For Joint Leases, even if every roommate has their own guarantor, each and every guarantor is responsible for the entire rent amount. This is actually a good thing because the risk is spread between all the guarantors. If the lease is Individual Liability Lease (also known as a “bedroom lease”), then your guarantor is only responsible for your personal rent portion, regardless of how many roommates you have. Typically houses or condos run on a Joint Lease, and larger apartment complexes offer Individual Liability Leases.

If you do not qualify based on income and are unable to find a guarantor, there are a few options for you. Depending on the manager of the property, you may be able to provide a double security deposit, or a letter from your bank stating that you have sufficient available funds for the duration of your lease. Alternatively, there are a handful of apartment complexes in West Campus that work with a company called Leap Guarantee. This company will act as your guarantor if you are approved.

Other

Once you sign your lease with one of our Housing Scout Agents, you will be eligible to participate in our client referral program! For every friend that you refer to us who signs a lease, you will receive a $50 Amazon eGift Card to your email within days. There are no limits to how many friends you can refer!
X