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Sunset in San Diego

Please review the resources below to help you in your housing search. If you would like to learn more about housing or have further questions, please contact the Admissions Office at 619-525-1401 or

Step-By-Step Guide to Finding Housing

  1. Set a budget
  2. Decide where you want to live
  3. Start your search online
  4. Tour your options
  5. Review the lease and know your rights

Set a budget

Before starting your housing search, make sure to review your financial circumstances and set an appropriate rental budget. If you will be taking out student loans, remember that living frugally while you are a student may allow you to significantly reduce your student loan debt.

  • Consider all related costs. In addition to rent, consider other costs like utilities, parking, and pet rent. Factoring in all of these costs can help prepare you to make a financially sound decision.
  • Consider living with a roommate. Sharing housing costs with a roommate can be a great way to save money. In many cases, the rental cost of a two-bedroom apartment may be only slightly higher than that of a one-bedroom place. In addition, you can split the cost of utilities to save even more. Once you’re admitted to California Western School of Law (CWSL), you’re invited to join the CWSL Housing Page Facebook group, where you can connect with other students looking for roommates.

Decide where you want to live

San Diego is the eighth largest city in the country, but its many small neighborhoods enable it to maintain a small community atmosphere. Consider the following factors when you’re deciding where to live:

  • How close do you want to be to school? Check out our neighborhood map to see how close each neighborhood is to CWSL. While neighborhoods within walking distance to CWSL tend to be more expensive than others, remember that being able to walk to school can present savings in other areas such as gas and parking costs.
  • What kind of neighborhood are you looking for? Once you have a general idea of which neighborhoods to consider, the next step is to research them further. Click here to download our San Diego neighborhood guide. Each San Diego neighborhood has a distinct personality, and many neighborhoods also have their own websites offering helpful insight, pictures, and information to help future residents.

Start your search online

Resources such as Zillow Apartments,, Craigslist, or HotPads can be helpful tools to start your search, but there are many other websites that can aid you in your search. Pay attention to the details of each listing (such as whether pets are allowed or if there is a washer/dryer in the unit etc.) to make sure it meets your requirements. If an important item is not covered in the listing, call and discuss it over the phone. When comparing housing options, keep in mind any amenities that are important to you. For example, having an onsite gym can save you a monthly gym membership fee if that is something you are interested in.

Tour your options

Once you have found a few places you like, we strongly recommend that you make an appointment to see them in person and feel comfortable about the surrounding neighborhood, the security of the unit, and the amount of space you’ll have. While this may be more difficult if you live in a different state, planning a short visit to San Diego can help you not only with securing a place to live, but also with becoming more familiar with the city and CWSL.

If you are unable to make a trip to see your housing options in person, there may be other options available to you such as virtual tours or finding a local roommate through the CWSL Housing Page who can assist with the housing search.

Finally, if you find a place that you like, be prepared to submit an application but note that this may require a $30-$60 fee.

Review the lease and know your rights

When you are ready to sign a lease, make sure to read it carefully to understand the responsibilities of each party. If you are unsure about any of the lease provisions, do your research to make sure they are allowed under law and that you feel comfortable with them before signing. Pay close attention to items such as:

  • What is the length of the lease? What happens once the lease term ends?
  • How much is the security deposit? What is the process for getting it back?
  • When is the rent due and what is the required method of payment?
  • Does the rent cover any utilities or other fees?
  • What are the rules regarding pets, parking, or subleasing etc.?

We look forward to welcoming you. As mentioned above, if you have any questions about the housing search process, please do not hesitate to contact us at 619-525-1401 or