Housing is Not for the Weak

Written by Solana Espino | July 3, 2024

As I move into my years as an upperclassman, solidifying a place to live off-campus was a very important goal for me. Doing my research ahead of time gave me more opportunities than most, the biggest of which was being able to shop by preference. My two main priorities were staying nearest to campus and finding a place where other USC students lived. Still, it would have been nearly impossible for me to know where to even begin looking without my friend’s help, so I want to be that friend for you. 

The secret is to start early… like October-early. For most off-campus student housing, pre-leasing starts the first week of November. For those who don’t know what pre-leasing is, it’s the process where people can reserve a leased property before it is available. That means it is not ready for move-in as there may be tenants or construction at the property, but you would be next in line. 

That means by the time Thanksgiving break rolls around, all your first, second, or third choices are snatched up. So, the biggest thing I can advise is to start your research early. If you happen to be living on or near campus, taking a drive or walk around the neighboring streets you’re interested in is a great way to seek out places that are available for rent. Making a list of options that you would want to consider may be helpful. For example: 

  • Proximity to campus 
  • Preference to the directional side of campus 
  • Type of bedroom (single, double, triple, etc.) 
  • Price 
  • Amenities
  • Security 

I extend that same sentiment for actually applying and leasing your housing. Before getting into any housing arrangement, familiarize yourself with the leasing agreement itself! Not all companies or property managers are looking out for your best interest and will try to scam you without close attention.

The application for most leases needs various items to be considered:

  • A government ID (a driver’s licence or non-expired passport)
  • A list of former residences, proof of renter’s insurance
  • Proof of employment (some forms that qualify include: past two months of pay stubs, offer of employment letter, income tax returns)
  • Some form of payment
  • If applicable, vehicle registration will also be needed when applying for a parking space with the property.

Some of these steps can be aided with the help of a co-signer. Typically, the co-signer is fulfilled by a parent or guardian who has the financial history that many leases require to be signed (proof of income, credit score, etc.) Make sure you, your co-signer (if necessary) and your potential roommates are all on board and on the same page before getting into the leasing process. 

Now getting into the actual “finding housing” part, here are a few places I recommend checking out. 

Apartment Complexes

These options are very popular among students, considering that the amenities are typically better suited for college needs. The access to the communal gym, pool, and other common areas is not only a great space for residents and their friends but also a great opportunity to meet your neighbors. The smaller space of an apartment is easier to maintain and you are allowed fewer roommates than a larger property might allow. 


Tuscany has 1-4 bedroom apartments available a block from the Marshall Fertitta Hall side of campus. Besides being built on top of a couple of places to snack (Cold Stone, Chick-fil-A, etc.), it is across from the Coliseum for easy access on game days. They have a lobby with security personnel and keys for residents to access stairways and elevators. Other amenities include study lounges, laundry facilities, a pool, sun deck, gym, and yoga studio. There is assigned resident parking available. Each apartment comes fully furnished with appliances, free cable, and WIFI. 

For Tuscany, the lowest starting price is $1,203. 


Lorenzo offers 1-3 bedroom apartments that are located pretty far North of campus. Still, all the units come fully furnished, with in-unit laundry, free WIFI, and balcony access. The complex itself houses four pools, a sand volleyball court, two indoor basketball courts, an arcade, two gyms, study rooms, and an in-house restaurant. The complex hosts a variety of community events including yoga, painting, and other crafts at their central lawn. There is security on sight, combined with gated parking for you and your guests. With its distance from campus, Lorenzo offers a complimentary shuttle service that takes residents to and from campus every 30 minutes. The complex also has a roommate matching system for its residents. 

With all that it offers, Lorenzo’s lowest prices start at $899. 

The Hub Collection

The Hub Coliseum and The Hub Figuerora are of the same family company but at very different locations. 

The Hub Coliseum has 1-4 bedroom spaces that come fully furnished and include in-unit laundry. In its namesake, it’s across the street from the Coliseum and a block further from campus than Tuscany. The building includes access to a rooftop pool, gym/sauna, study rooms, parking/bike storage, and fire pits. 

The Hub Figueroa has 1-5 bedroom spaces that have very similar amenities to its sister property. These apartments, having an extremely slow start to moving students in this past semester, are brand new as of November 2023. Despite its controversy, this location is less of a commute to campus than the Coliseum apartments. 

Both Hub properties offer students an “upgrade option” to “VIP” which includes some of the following: 

  • Top floor preference
  • Smart home technology 
  • In-unit sound system 
  • Light dimmers 
  • Upgraded closet, tile flooring, and fridge 

With its crazy amenities, the Hub is more on the expensive side, no matter which side of campus you are on. The lowest prices at the Coliseum location start at $1,250 and $1,475 at the Figurora location.  

West 27th

West 27th has studio, one, two, and four-bedroom apartments for students. The complex offers a community pool, gym, common areas, and study rooms. They also offer some apartments with private balconies and come fully furnished including TV and WIFI. West can be found a decent distance away from campus, but still within shryft zone and above popular chain restaurant Five Guys. They offer a roommate matching system as well. West has on-call staff 24/7 and overnight/weekend security on-site. 

For West, the lowest starting price is $1,027. 

Landlords (Apartment/House)

For these options, there is typically a range of properties that they offer across various sides of campus. This means you have more options to choose from on where and how much you would want to spend on housing. The amenities offered at these properties are less than what you could find at apartments, but the prices reflect that. 


Victory is a direct USC affiliate for housing and offers various properties that can be mostly on the north side of campus. They offer apartments with 1-5 bedrooms depending on the property you choose, all of which have singles or doubles available. Some properties have a pool, study lounges, rooftop common area, in-unit laundry, and appliances. Other options include bedrooms for rent in the three large Victory houses. In either a single or double, you will have shared common spaces (kitchen and bathrooms included [though private ones are available]) that are open to all house residents. 

For Victory, the lowest starting price is $750. 


Mosaic offers a variety of properties for you to choose from from houses, to duplexes to apartments. They are also in a variety of locations to suit individual preferences. As one of the few student housing options that offer houses, you are completely independent. This could mean customizing your space, in-home washing units, and less noise coming from above and/or below you. In exchange, the resources that are readily available to you in an apartment complex (Wifi/Internet, furnishings, etc.) will need to be set up by you. 


StuHo is a very similar system to Mosaic in which a variety of property listings are available to you, most of which are houses and townhouses. The properties typically feature a large range of spaces from 1-3 bedrooms to 8-10 bedrooms. Notably for the bigger homes, you would need a larger party that each accounts for a room to sign the lease. 

Even with my recommendation, the best way to find out if any housing is good for you is to see it with your own eyes. If you can, take a tour of the place, you can determine for yourself if the amenities are worth it. 

Best of luck on your housing hunt!