We hope that you are excited about living off campus and securing your own housing for next year.
This information is prepared as helpful guidance for students who obtain off-campus status. Nothing in this site creates a legal relationship between you and the college or with any third party regarding off-campus housing.
In seeking your off-campus living arrangements, you will have several options to consider. You will need to choose a type of housing: house, rooming/boarding house, or an apartment. Students should not live in any type of housing that does not meet the International Property Maintenance Code adopted by the City of Oberlin or the Rooming House Regulations – State Building Code.
A city ordinance requires all landlords to have each property inspected by the Oberlin Code Compliance Administrator at the change of occupancy. A certificate of occupancy is issued at the time of inspection and should be visible and current in the rental space. The college does not inspect off-campus rental properties.
The college makes no endorsement of rental property or landlords. Some area property listings can be found in the Oberlin Classifieds community website, to aid you in your search for off-campus living arrangements.
In addition, many students believe that when they move off-campus, their actions do not fall under the jurisdiction of the college. The college does not monitor off-campus behavior, but does retain the right to address alleged behavior that negatively affects the college or another member of the campus community. Violations of the college’s rules and regulations can be addressed through its Student Conduct system regardless of whether the behavior is also being handled through the court system.
Off-Campus Address Form
Students living off campus are required to submit their address and contact information to the Residential Education office.
If you do not wish to have this information published in the college directory or Fussers, you must contact the Office of the Registrar.
Fall/Spring Deadline to submit off-campus address
- First Friday of classes
Failure to submit the off-campus address form by the deadline will result in a $50 fine.
In Your Apartment
- Always keep exterior and interior doors locked.
- Never leave your rental unit door propped open for friends.
- Always keep rental unit/basement doors and windows locked, even when taking a short nap or if alone.
- Never leave keys for roommates or housemates outside of your rental unit.
- Leave a light on when you go out to give the appearance that someone is present in the unit.
- During vacations, remove valuables (such as TVs, stereos, computers, etc.) from the rental unit.
- Use an electrical timer for a lamp to be lit when the rental unit is vacant.
- Never let anyone into the rental unit before finding out who it is.
- Use Campus Safety Shuttle System when leaving campus at night.
- At night, have your keys ready before you get to your door.
- Get to know the students and neighbors in your building and become acquainted with their schedule of being home.
- Encourage your landlord to provide lighting in the entrance to your rental unit/stairway/driveway.
- If you receive obscene phone calls, hang up and call the police.
- Notify the police if any unfamiliar person is loitering near your rental unit.
- Pull down window shades or blinds at night.
On the Street
- Do not go out walking or jogging alone after dark. Ask a friend or a group of friends to accompany you.
- Arrange to get a ride from a friend, take the Shuttle Service, or use public transportation. Wait for a ride with a friend.
- Take main streets. Avoid shortcuts and dark or isolated spots.
- Walk in the middle of the sidewalk to avoid accessibility of cars pulling up or people hiding in parked cars, doorways, or bushes.
- Ignore strangers who may call out to you, whether they are on foot or in a car.
- Look alert while walking – ready to exit if trouble develops. Be aware of your body language. Look strong and aggressive. Walk confidently and briskly.
- Do not ever hitchhike – no matter what the time of day.
- If you must walk in an unfamiliar neighborhood, try to plan your route in advance.
- If you feel as though you’re in danger or being followed by someone on foot, cross the street, change direction, vary your pace. Do not be afraid to enter a lighted store or campus building and call police.
- If someone in a car follows you, turn around and walk the other way. If the car persists, record the license number and call police.
- If you are held up, do not panic. Hand over valuables quickly and quietly. Get as good a description of your assailant as possible.
- If you are attacked: If possible, flee immediately. Be realistic about your ability to protect yourself. An immediate reaction of yelling, biting, kicking, may give you a chance to escape, but be aware that these actions could expose you to further harm. Remember: Every emergency is different. Only you can decide which course of action is appropriate. If you are able to break away, run toward lights and or people. Continue to scream and attract attention.
- Report to police immediately if you are a victim of a crime. Always press charges.
Find general information about the city of Oberlin by contacting City Information at 440-775-1531 or by visiting the city of Oberlin website .
To view information specifically pertaining to residents living in the city of Oberlin, refer to: Information For Residents
Important phone numbers to have on hand:
- Oberlin Police Department : 440-774-1061
- Oberlin Fire Department : 440-774-3211
- Oberlin Utilities Department : 440-774-7211
For a list and explanation of exemptions, please visit Housing and Dining Exemptions.
Make a realistic budget and stay within it as you search. Rent tends to depend on:
- size of the rental unit
- condition of the rental unit
- location relative to campus
- utilities that are included
Remember to include all utilities in your budget if they are not included in the rent.
The city of Oberlin prohibits parking on residential streets from November 1 to April 1 during the hours of 2 a.m. to 6 a.m.
From April 1 to November 1, vehicles may not be parked in residential streets for more than 48 hours. The city also enforces a prohibition on parking on lawns rather than approved driveways.
Violations of all of the above city parking restrictions may incur fines of up to $200 and the vehicle may be towed. If parking is available from the landlord, it must be written into the lease.
If you bring your car to any campus lot, you must register for and display a student permit ($150 during the first two weeks of September, $200 for the rest of the year). You may only park in student allocated parking spaces (not visitor or other restricted spaces or lots).
Contact the Office of Campus Safety for more information.
Your choice of roommates/housemates is very important in determining whether or not your living situation will be a comfortable and relaxing one. Discuss lifestyles, habits, and expectations thoroughly before deciding to form a household. Clearly define how responsibilities will be distributed or assigned if one party decides to move out before the term of the lease is up.
Most important, be honest about what you can and cannot live with in terms of cleaning, cooking, noise, guests, etc.
Before Signing a Lease
A rental unit should meet the International Property Maintenance Code adopted by the City of Oberlin or the Rooming House Regulations - State Building Code in order to be rented.
If a permit is not displayed, call 440-774-3428 to request more information on the property.
You should always conduct a formal walk through with your landlord or property manager before signing a lease.
Why is there an off-campus registration process?
Oberlin is a residential college and students are required to live on campus through graduation. However, our current student body exceeds the number of spaces available in housing. Therefore, a pre-determined number of students (based on anticipated enrollment and housing capacity) will be approved for off-campus housing status. Approval for off-campus housing status is based on both the number of semesters a student has been in residence at Oberlin College and a randomly assigned number.
Who is eligible to participate in the off-campus registration process?
Students who have 6 or more semesters in residence or who qualify for an exemption are eligible to register for off-campus. Students who are eligible will receive notification of their eligibility status through e-mail. Students who want to register for off-campus are required to attend one of the Mandatory off-campus information sessions and to register for off-campus on-line by the deadline posted on the Residential Education Housing and Dining Application website .
What happens if I forget to register on line by the registration deadline?
If you were in residence during the registration period and missed the deadline you are no longer eligible to register for off-campus housing status. If you were on a leave of absence and missed the registration deadline you may contact the Residential Education office to discuss your options.
I did not receive notification of eligibility and think I am eligible. What should I do?
If you think that you have 6 or more semesters in residence at Oberlin College and did not receive notification from our office through e-mail please contact us immediately. Our staff will happily verify your eligibility and help you through the next step in the process. If you are a transfer student then your transfer credit must be in by the fall deadline for the registration process. If you did not enter Oberlin as a transfer student then transfer credit is not taken into consideration in calculating your semesters in residence.
Housing selection usually takes place in the spring. I am confused. What's going on? Should I be doing something now?
Only if you are eligible for off-campus registration should you be doing something now. Due to student suggestions about making off-campus housing plans before leaving for winter break or when taking an academic leave for the spring semester, the registration for off-campus begins in the fall semester.
I have heard that there will only be one round of notifications this year, why is this changed?
Based on student feedback and due to student suggestions about making off-campus housing plans before leaving for winter break or when taking an academic leave for the spring semester, the ResEd Office has decided to make one round of notifications to the students who are granted off-campus status. This is to allow the majority of the students the best opportunity to see and potentially secure off-campus housing prior to going on a leave.
I am on Academic Leave this Fall so how do I find a place to live off-campus by the acceptance deadline since there is only one round of notification?
What we suggest you do if you are planning on living alone off-campus and do not have a friend that can locate a place for you or if you do not happen to have some members of your group present during the acceptance period for off-campus status is to go ahead and still accept your offer of off-campus by the deadline. Then when you return from your leave, you can search for a space off-campus up until the time of on-campus housing sign-ups which usually occur in late February. At that point in time, you can still rescind your acceptance of off-campus status and get back into the housing selection process for the upcoming year. Know that if you choose to rescind your acceptance, we will not be able to reinstate you for off-campus for the following year.
I have heard that I can register as a group for off-campus. How does the off-campus group registration work?
Only students who each have 6 semesters of residence at Oberlin College and who know that they are interested in potentially living together off-campus for the following academic year may register as a group. The group will randomly be assigned a number for approval for off-campus housing status. This means that a group will either be approved for off-campus housing status as a group or will not as a group. In order to register as a group, students must submit each others T-Numbers on the online web form by the deadline posted on the Residential Education Housing and Dining Application website .
I have a friend who will have 7 semesters of residence and I will have 6. Why can't we group together?
Students with 7 or more semesters of residence at Oberlin College who register for off-campus will be among the first to be approved for off-campus status, along with students who qualify for exemptions. The group registration process is designed to allow students with 6 semesters who are in a more competitive field for off-campus status, to group together as an off-campus housing group. Read on for further details about how you can live off-campus with other students who have 7 semesters in residence or higher if you do not.
We really want to live together off-campus. What should we do?
There are two options:
- If you have 7 semesters of residence and you are interested in living with a group of students who have 6 semesters of residence, we recommend the following: The student with 7 semesters of residence, registers for off-campus as an individual; The group of students who have 6 semesters of residence register as a group. If the group of students with 6 semesters in residence is approved for off-campus housing status, then you may all live together as a group off-campus. If the group of students with 6 semesters in residence is not approved for off-campus housing status, then the student with 7 semesters must decide whether or not to accept off-campus status without the group. If the student with 7 semesters wants to live on-campus with the group with 6 semesters then that person will have to decline off-campus housing status and go through the on-campus the housing selection process with the group. We recommend that students with 7 semesters accept off-campus housing status. Once a student declines off-campus housing status, then there is no way to regain that status at a later date. However, there is no penalty for declining the off-campus status received at any time prior to the start of the on-campus housing selection process.
- If you have 7 semesters and you are interested in living with an individual student who has 6 semesters of residence, we recommend that you both enter as individuals. If the student with 6 semesters in residence receives off-campus status, then you may both live together and will both have been granted off-campus status. If the student with 6 semesters in residence does not receive off-campus status, then the student with 7 semesters must decide whether to accept off-campus status or re-enter the on-campus housing selection process with that individual. Again, we recommend that students with 7 semesters accept off-campus housing. If a student declines off-campus status, then there is no way to regain that status at a later date. However, there is no penalty for declining the off-campus status received at any time prior to the start of the on-campus housing selection process.
If a member of my group qualifies for an exemption to live off-campus does this affect our group status?
A student who qualifies for an exemption to live off-campus may only register for off-campus as an individual. This parallels the question above; students with exemptions should consider the same recommendations as students with 7 or more semesters of residence.
Is there an advantage to registering for off-campus as a group? Is the size of the group an advantage?
The advantage of registering for off-campus housing status as a group is that you and your friends won't have to guess whether you can live together off-campus. We can't make any guarantees as to what your status will be, but each individual needs to decide if it is more important to be a group or to receive individual off-campus housing status. Remember, once you are registered as a group, you may not register as an individual for off-campus housing status after the deadline posted on the Residential Education Housing and Dining Application Residential Education Housing and Dining Application website . We have set the maximum group size at 8 students
I registered for off-campus as a group. What happens if one of my group members decides to leave our group or does not to enroll in the spring?
Your group may still be approved for off-campus housing status since you will be assigned one random number. If the person leaving the group is not enrolled for the spring semester, that is, takes a personal or a medical leave, the person is no longer eligible for off-campus housing status. If the person is taking an academic leave for the spring semester then the person is still eligible for off-campus housing status in the fall if your group is approved.
I was not offered off-campus status but I am told I am can add myself to the summer room change wait list for off-campus status. How can I find out where I am on the list? What are my chances of getting off-campus?
Unfortunately, ResEd does not release any information on off-campus wait list ranking. Each year, a number of students from the wait list are eventually given off-campus status. However, we cannot make any promises.
What if we have already signed a lease and have signed and accepted off-campus with ResEd?
All off-campus housing status offers and acceptances are contingent upon continued enrollment in the spring semester. We want to make it clear that the early release process depends upon no changes in your enrollment status as an individual or as a group. So, to the best of your ability, be sure everyone in the group will be enrolled or on an academic leave if they will not be on campus in the spring.
If I apply as part of a group do we have to prove that we plan to live together? Do we have to show ResEd a copy of our signed lease?
No. The group registration process is designed to help students who really want to live together do so. We trust that students who register as a group do so in good faith and will be living together off-campus.
I am eligible to register for off-campus but want to live on-campus. How does the off-campus registration process affect me?
The ResEd office needs to be aware of your intention for the next academic year housing selection process. Please complete your online intent form that shows that you plan to not register for the off-campus housing process. You may change your mind up until the deadline posted on the Residential Education Housing and Dining Application website . Keep in mind this is your one-time opportunity to register for off-campus housing for the next academic year. The number of students who are approved for off-campus status ultimately depends upon the number of students who inform us of their intent to register or not register for off-campus housing potentially.