Guide to Living Off-Campus

Commuter Student Programs strives to assist students successfully navigate living off campus, building connections on campus, and provide resources to students in need. Explore this page and its resources for living off campus. For a more detailed review of this page's resources, we encourage you to check out our Guide to Living Off Campus publication.

Finding Housing 

Guide to Living Off Campus

Your all access guide to all things off campus. Check out the definitive guide to successfully living off campus!

On Campus Living

Living on campus is fun! If you are looking for an affordable housing option,  join a campus community, and be close to your classes, look no further. There's lots of options on campus. For more information, visit uaa.alaska.edu/on-campus-living

Commuter Student Housing Board

Located on the 2nd floor of the Student Union. This on campus resource is the community bulletin board for landlords, potential roommates, and renters to find current housing listings. Check it out!

Living On Your Own

  • Your Rights and Responsibilities

    Your Responsibilities

    As a renter it is your responsibility is to pay your rent on time, pay your utilities on time, sign and keep a copy of your lease,and follow all the terms of the lease. Use your judgment as to whether you should do/change anything on the premises. If it harms the property or you’re unsure if it will, don’t do it.

    Housing Codes

    There are various housing codes your landlord must follow when you rent from them. For instance, a landlord must provide uniform plumbing and meet all fire codes when designing buildings. Go to www.muni.org for a list of building codes in Anchorage.

    Unlawful Entry

    You are protected from unlawful entry as a renter. Your landlord can only enter your apartment (without permission) in very specific instances. View the law in its entirety at aws.uslandlord.com/laws/akstatelaw.html.

    Keep it Clean

    Try to keep your apartment in nice condition. Remove garbage in an efficient and timely manner, and follow all garbage collecting measures. Don’t store things next to heaters or overload power outlets. Notify your landlord as soon as possible if a repair needs to be done.

    Going IN-DEPTH

    Brought to you by UAA's Justice Center, below are in-depth guides into your rights and the laws governing renting in Alaska.

    1. A College Student's Guide to Landlord/Tenant Relations in Alaska
    2. Conversations about Landlord Tenant Law in Alaska YouTube Series
  • Preparing to Move In

    Move In Checklist

    Moving in a new place can be super stressful, but it doesn't have to be! The first step when moving is inspecting the premises. Set up a time with the landlord to view the property before your move-in date. Bring a camera with you to document any damages you notice and the conditions of every room.  Some landlords will provide their own checklist for you to fill out or will fill one out themselves. However, keeping a record of things yourself provides extra proof should a misunderstanding arise. Take photos to prove any damages existed before you moved in. When/if you have repairs done document them and have the landlord approve them. Setting up utilities and other services will also need to be done prior to moving in. Some common expenses include gas, water, cable and Internet. Remember to ask your landlord which utilities are included with the rent.

    Below is a quick move-in checklist

    1. Set up inspection date with landlord
    2. Document anything you see needs fixing, damages, and conditions of each room
    3. Bring camera to take photos of damages for necessary repairs
    4. Record dates of repairs if applicable
    5. Have your security deposit and first month’s rent and other charges (like a pet deposit) as required the day you sign the lease
    6. Bring your Social Security Card and identification with you when you sign the lease
    7. Have your vehicle identification number and car detailing information with you for assigning parking spaces
    8. If you have pets you may need to set up a pet interview with the landlord and provide additional pet information
    9. Make sure your pets are up to date with their vaccinations and licensing
  • Living with a Roommate

    Living with another person and sharing the space can be enjoyable and educational. It not only decreases the amount of rent you have to pay, but it also provides some sort of social support within the home. Consider whether you want to live with a friend or stranger and see if your interests/study habits mesh. Roommates don’t always fit together perfectly. Some work well right off the bat while others need time to adjust. Keep this in mind when choosing a roommate.

    Creating a Supportive Environment

    It’s important to understand and respect one another in order to live harmoniously. Be aware of the other person’s schedule and adjust your habit accordingly. Be considerate; don’t have friends over after midnight if your roommate works at 6 AM. Be courteous and care about your roommate’s wellbeing.

    Cooperative Living Arrangements Tips

    • Set up house rules for everyone to follow
    • Be flexible and understanding of each other’s life situations
    • Respect each other and each other’s belongings
    • If a problem arises, talk to each other so that it will not happen again. If need be, renegotiate and draft a new agreement that you all can agree upon.

    Roommate Agreements

    If you are living with a roommate, no matter who it is, friend, family, or partner, you should come up with a roommate agreement. Physically writing down and signing what is expected of each other is highly recommended. Chores, rent, and rules are some things you’ll want to include in your roommate agreement.

  • Nuts and Bolts of Independent Living

    Setting Up Utilities

    Energy Saving Tips

    • Switch to energy-efficient lighting. Using high-performance compact florescent lamps (CFLs) or light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs can reduce your energy usage and your electric bill.
    • Install programmable thermostats that can lower your homes temperature when you are out during the day. Set your thermostats around 65 to 70 degrees during the winter, and 60 degrees when you’re away for more than a few hours.
    • If you have a fireplace be sure to keep the flue closed when it is not in use. Also, by installing glass doors on your fireplace it will keep your room heat from escaping through the chimney.
    • If your house has baseboard heaters be sure to allow adequate room between the heaters and furniture, as well as household items. This will let your heaters work properly and allow the air to properly flow through your home.
    • Turn down your water heater’s operating temperature to 129 degrees or less.
    • Weather-strips around doors and windows keep heat in during the winter and cold summer days.
    • Turn off or unplug home appliances and electronic devices when going on vacation or leaving the house for extended periods of time.  To make it easy, plug multiple devices into power strips.
    • Save money on energy usage by looking for appliances that meet Energy Star guidelines set by the U.S. Department of Energy.

    Renter's Insurance

    Protect your assets with renters’ insurance. Did you know your landlord’s insurance usually does not cover your personal property? Renters need special insurance for their belongings. Your clothes, jewelry, stereos, televisions, bicycles, computers, furniture, artwork, and other valuables are not protected against loss or destruction. Renters' insurance is surprisingly inexpensive and covers many situations that may surprise you. Check these options below first. Then shop around. Your auto insurance agent may be a good place to begin.

     

    • Students may be covered under parents’homeowners policy.
    • Parents may also be able to purchase an economical addition to their policy to cover the student’s property.

     

    Prices for a “typical” college student apartment run around $120-$180 for a one-year policy ($10-$15 per month). Ask about "replacement value." Typically, the insurance company will pay a depreciated value for your belongings. A little more money gets you the amount it would take to replace the item(s)at today's prices.

  • Sustainable Living

    The 411 on Recycling 

    (adapted from the Anchorage Daily News article, How to recycle like a pro in Anchorage, by Devin Kelly)

    1. Only recycle screw-top plastic bottles and jugs.
    2. Everyone should be recycling cardboard.
    3. Aluminum and steel cans and newspapers are also strong bets.
    4. Sorting machines can't handle glass, aluminum foil and plastic bags. Take time to sort it yourself.
    5. "When in doubt, throw it out"
    6. At best, mistakes devalue the load. At worst, they make it all go to the landfill. Try not to be that person.
    7. Tape and staples are OK!
    8. Rinse containers that need it.
    9. Don't try to recycle cartons, including Tetra Paks, or coffee cups.
    10. Its OK to leave paper labels on bottles or cans.
    11. Lids and caps? It depends. Plastic is OK. Glass is not.
    12. Avoid materials that aren't easy to recycle, and reuse what you can.
    13. Set up a system in your house to make it easy
    14. Can't put it in a bin? There are places to take some non-recycles besides the landfill
    15. Feel good about it!
  • Moving Out and Moving On

    When moving out, the most important thing to do is notify your landlord. Many landlords will require that this notice be given when rent is due and at least 30 days prior to move out. Give your landlord at least 30 days notice of your departure in writing and keep a copy of the notice yourself.  Check your lease to make sure you aren’t violating the terms of the lease in any way by moving out. If for any reason you must move out before your lease is up, be prepared to pay additional fees. Remove all your belongings and clean the premises by the day you’ve stated. Follow the terms of the lease during the process and repair or replace any items you may have broken during your stay there. If the property was furnished before you moved in, move all the furniture back to its original position. If you do not you may be charged additional fees or lose part or all of you security deposit. Make sure you leave a forwarding address for mail.

    Quick move-out checklist

    • Provide written notification to your landlord 30 days prior to moving out
    • Get boxes, tape, and permanent markers for packing
    • Clean area per leasing agreement
    • Do repairs per leasing agreement
    • Transfer, cancel, and/or create utilities accounts
    • Meet with landlord and set a date for final inspection
    • Provide forwarding address to pertinent parties (i.e. Post Office)
    • Return all keys to landlord
    • Leave contact information with landlord in order to receive your deposit and/or other notices

Safety

UAA Safety App 

UAA takes your safety on campus seriously. There are several resources on campus, and all of these resources have been centralized into one friendly app.  The UAA Safety App can be found in both the Apple and Android App stores. 
 

Signature UAA Safety App Features

  1. Emergency Contacts: In case of emergencies, always called 911. However, should a non-emergency occur you have access to the campus and Anchorage non-emergency hotlines.
  2. Virtual Walkhome: Use this feature to let University Police know where you're travelings so they can keep an eye on you. 
  3. Mobile Blue Light: This function send our campus police your GPS location. In the event of an emergency, our campus police will have the capacity to respond to your need wherever you may be. 
  4. Report a Tip: If you are a witness to a crime or have information to provide our campus police, use this function to report what you've seen.
  5. Friend Walk: Never feel alone! If you feel sharing your location with campus police invasive, the app allows you to share your location with a friend. 
  6. Safety Toolbox: A collection of tools to help communicate how UAA keeps safety and concern as it top priority.
  7. UAA Shuttle Map: Know where your campus shuttles are in real time
  8. Emergency Plans: If you want to know what our campus response would be for any emergency, check out this section of the app
  9. Support Resources: UAA has several student supports to ensure your well-being. Check out these resources in this section of the app

The Municipality of Anchorage has two great resources for residents to stay informed on important community developments to your safety and well-being. Check out the resources below. 

Nixle

Nixle keeps you up-to-date with relevant information from your local public safety departments and schools. As the main form of communication for the Anchorage Police Department, subscribing helps ensure you're aware and informed of public safety incidents; you receive information directly from the Anchorage Police Department; and you have the ability to tailor what updates you receive.
 
If you want more information on how to sign up for Nixle, check out the following link: https://local.nixle.com/register/ 
 

211Alaska 211 Logo

Alaska 2-1-1 is Alaska's hotline for all community resources. It’s free, confidential and available in almost any language. Alaska 2-1-1 has information from topics ranging from Employment and Income Support, Food and Nutrition, Housing and Shelter, Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Services, and Military and Veteran Services to name a few.  This program is made possible by the United Way of Anchorage. You can take advantage of their resources by simply calling 2-1-1. 
 
 

Home Fire Safety Essentials 

We all learned “Stop, drop and roll” years ago, but there are lots of other fire safety basics to keep in mind. Take the American Red Cross Fire Safety Quiz to see how savvy you are on fire safety basics. After taking the quiz, make sure to download the Home Fire Safety Checklist and Home Fire Escape Plan. Use these resources at home to ensure your safety!  

American Red Cross Fire Safety Quiz 

Home Security

Information provided by SafeHome.org

Protecting your home can be a daunting task and there's lots to consider. Below are just a few steps you can take to secure your home.

  1. Write your driver's license number somewhere on any valuables that might be stolen so that they can be identified
  2. Take detailed pictures of items that you can't write on.
  3. Make sure that you keep an updated record of your valuables. This record might include model, type, serial number, fair market value, and proof of purchase, to name a few.
  4. Replace broken windows, locks, and doors when needed.
  5. Fix broken fences and locks when needed.
  6. Keep loose rocks away from the property to avoid vandalism and break-ins.
  7. Keep your home in good condition: mow the lawn, rake the leaves, clean the litter, etc. to indicate that your home is lived in and not being neglected.
  8. Make sure that your street address number is clearly visible from the street so that cops can find your home easily as needed.

For a comprehensive guide on protecting yourself, your belongings, and your identity, we encourage students to check out SafeHome.org. SafeHome.org is the industry leader in providing education, resources, and information around home security.

Renter's Insurance

Protect your assets with renters’ insurance. Did you know your landlord’s insurance usually does not cover your personal property? Renters need special insurance for their belongings. Your clothes, jewelry, stereos, televisions, bicycles, computers, furniture, artwork, and other valuables are not protected against loss or destruction. Renters' insurance is surprisingly inexpensive and covers many situations that may surprise you. Check these options below first. Then shop around. Your auto insurance agent may be a good place to begin.

  • Students may be covered under parents’homeowners policy.
  • Parents may also be able to purchase an economical addition to their policy to cover the student’s property.

Prices for a “typical” college student apartment run around $120-$180 for a one-year policy ($10-$15 per month). Ask about "replacement value." Typically, the insurance company will pay a depreciated value for your belongings. A little more money gets you the amount it would take to replace the item(s)at today's prices.

Your Neighborhood + U

  • Midtown and Turnagain

    Busy. Centralized Midtown Anchorage is a hot spot for stores, restaurants, services, and bars. One of the more popular areas of town and includes “Spenard,” which is a fast-growing area.

    • Housing Offered: Houses, apartments, duplexes, fourplexes, mobile homes
    • Pricing: Average
  • Downtown and Fairview

    Like other metropolitan cities, Anchorage’s downtown is rich with entertainment, culture, the arts, shopping, and restaurants/bars. Federal, state, corporate, local and private offices.

    • Housing Offered: Apartments, condominiums, duplexes, studios
    • Pricing: Above Average
  • East Anchorage and Muldoon

    Includes family housing, with some local businesses ranging from restaurants to small shops. Closest to Glenn Highway, which takes you North. Includes large parks and useful tails.

    • Housing Offered: Houses, apartments, townhouses, duplexes, mobile homes
    • Pricing: Below Average
  • West Anchorage and Dimond

    West Anchorage consists of family housing and is near the Airport as well as Kincaid Park. It is a peaceful and safe area of town. Dimond is a popular commercial business area.

    • Housing Offered: Houses, apartments, townhouses, duplexes
    • Pricing: Above Average: Above Average
  • Southside and Hillside

    Southside and Hillside consists of many larger family homes and a lower amount of businesses. Also considered a safe and peaceful area of town. Includes Hilltop Ski Area and Glen Alps Trail-head.

    • Housing Offered: Houses
    • Pricing: Above Average
  • Eagle River

    Population of 23,000 is included in the Municipality of Anchorage. This has a small town feel with local and commercial businesses. Easy access to outdoor activities.

    • Housing Offered: Houses, apartments, townhouses, duplexes
    • Pricing: Generally cheaper than Anchorage
  • The Valley

    The towns of Palmer (Pop. 5,000) and Wasilla (Pop. 10,000) make up “The Valley”. This area has a loaded backyard with all the amenities of a city.

    • Housing Offered: Cabins, houses, apartments, duplexes
    • Pricing: Generally cheaper than Anchorage

Commuter Student Cheat Cards

Campus and Community Events

The best way to plug into our community is to check out the following campus and community traditions. 

Campus Services for Commuter Students

For all of your basic needs, the following services are available on campus. 

  1. Health and Wellness
  2. Recreation and Fun
  3. Foods
  4. Transportation

Emergency Resources for Students

For students in crisis, check out the following campus and community resources. Whatever your situation, there are resources to help you stay focused on your educational goals. 

  1. UAA Administration Scholarship Request (Emergency Grant) - see Scholarships Available at UAA.
  2. Emergency Food Cache
  3. Alaska Legal Services: Fair Housing Project
  4. Human Services and Community Resource List for Homelessness Prevention and Essential Services

More Information

For more information about Student Activities and Commuter Programs, please contact 907-786-1213.

University Disclaimer:  The University of Alaska Anchorage does not inspect, recommend, or guarantee housing listed on these websites.  All properties and roommates found on these websites are not endorsed by the University of Alaska Anchorage.