Another school year has come and gone, and miraculously, somehow, you survived your first year of college! Shocking! Right? After what seemed like an impossibly long year, you finally get to move out your dinky dorm room and find a place to call home. After an entire school year of guessing on your exams, let Rent College Pads take the guesswork out of where you’re going to live. We did tons of digging to find the best of the best for Berkeley off-campus housing. After reading countless reviews, we have left you with our tops picks for UC-Berkeley landlords.
Want to see more properties near UC-Berkeley? Check out the complete list of apartments near UCB.
In the middle of Downtown Berkeley sits the Berkeley Central Apartments. These artist-style lofts give residents the choice between studio, one, and two-bedroom units featuring stainless steel appliances and in-unit washer and dryers. With wall-to-wall windows, you’ll be taking in the best views of the city!
Take you homework up to the rooftop terrace which has a lounge area that also offers free Wi-Fi. No need to leave your furbaby behind because they are pet-friendly and have spacious balconies and outdoor decks. Berkeley Central has underground parking for your cars, but if you don’t bring a car along they do have an on-site City CarShare service. This allows anyone to quickly rent a car and you pay per the hour. The UC-Berkeley campus is just a few minutes drive, but the BART (elevated subway system) is just steps away from the apartment complex. Hop on for an adventure and explore the whole Bay Area!
Varsity Berkeley (4.5)
Location! Location! Location! Just steps away from Downtown Berkeley and only blocks away from UC-Berkeley are the Varsity Berkeley Apartments. With being so centrally located, you’ll have easy access to some of the best stores, restaurants, movie theaters, and bars that Berkeley has to offer. Equally as close, residents can jump on the BART or the AC Transit systems (they provide you with a pass) making everything in the Bay Area easily accessible.
The complex also has an electric car charging station, City CarShare, and bike parking. Tenants can choose between studio, two, or three-bedroom units while also having the option to have their rooms fully furnished or not. Take a break from homework and head up to the rooftop terrace to catch views of the Berkeley Hills and the Bay. The entire building has Wi-Fi throughout and residents can take advantage of the lounge that includes computer docking stations. Making it convenient for students to do some school work in the comfort of their home versus going to the campus.
SG Real Estate (4.2)
Even though SG Real Estate is a fairly new company, these guys are quickly rising to the top and have become one of the best property management companies in the Bay Area. The majority of the staff grew up in the area, so they are very knowledgeable and one resident stated that SG has the, “Best staff and overall is the best management company I have ever worked with. Their customer service is unparalleled, e-mails are returned sometimes within a matter of minutes and they are sure to address all of my questions and concerns.”
With over 1,000 different units to offer, that are comprised of both apartments and houses, students can certainly find something to fit their style. Resident Emily says, “I’ve been a tenant in a residential unit managed by SG Real Estate for over 3 years. They are the most responsive and professional management company I’ve ever dealt with.” SG is also willing to work with students who may have poor credit or need a guarantor, but act quickly! They do not do a wait list so all properties are first come first serve. You snooze you lose! Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
Lapham Company (4.2)
Based in the neighboring city Oakland, Lapham Company has been servicing the property management needs of the Bay Area for over 100 years. Jimmie raves, “Lapham Company has a wonderful staff and they are very nice and personable people, their customer service is unbelievable.” Their company has grown to serve over ten surrounding cities so these folks must be doing something right! Sometimes with larger companies, tenants get lost in the shuffle but Susan assures prospective tenants that, “Lapham has been surprisingly great considering their size. I’ve been in a Lapham-managed building for four years and everything has been fine. I’ve had 4 apartments in the Bay Area and found Lapham to be the best by far.”
In Berkeley alone, they offer dozens of different apartment complexes to rent and have a handful of houses located just minutes away from the UC-Berkeley campus. Like a lot of the companies in the area, they do not pre-lease their properties or create wait lists so make sure to stay on top of looking into properties coming available! Just like Joseph, we “highly recommend,” a rental from Lapham.
The story goes that in the early 1960s, two guys started managing student housing apartment buildings and more the five decades later you have the nationwide Equity Rental company who owns and manages the Berkeley Apartments. The Berkeley Apartments are made up of eight different communities that are all located within a few blocks of the UC-Berkeley campus.
Each community has it’s own unique flair, so with eight different complexes to choose from you’ll certainly be able to find something that fits your style. Ranging from studio apartments to three-bedroom units all of the buildings offer laundry facilities on each floor, appliances, and rooftop terraces and gardens. We recommend checking out each place because they all have different amenities to offer! Stay car-free because conveniently, you can walk to the bus stops, BART, stores, restaurants, and nightlife that are all close by.
Casa Cedar (4.0)
Located in between the UC-Berkeley and the Gourmet Ghetto neighborhood, is Casa Cedar. Painted gold and blue to rep the UC-Berkeley colors, this large house has been transformed into eco-friendly student housing. Students have the option of having their own room or having up to four people within a bedroom. Past resident Monish said that living at Casa Cedar was, “Probably the first enjoyable living experience I had with roommates in college.”
Everyone within the house shares the common areas with one another. The kitchen comes fully equipped with all appliances, utensils, and dishes. The bedrooms come fully furnished and they’ll even provide you with bedding. The spacious living room offer tons of seating and residents get to use the house Netflix account. Score! The huge deck in the backyard is a perfect place to get together with friends and use the gas grill provided for BBQs.
Students also get free internet and use of the laundry facility. There is only street parking but that will only run you a measly $45 for the whole year. In the backyard, Casa Cedar has a bike storage shed and campus is only a few minute bike ride away.
Hillside Village (4.0)
Sitting in the heart of the Gourmet Ghetto neighborhood of Berkeley are the Hillside Village Apartments. Residents have the option of studio, one, two, and three-bedroom units. The apartment offers tenants great amenities like garage and bike parking, an on-site laundry center, outdoor terrace, resident lounge, and they are pet-friendly. Students can also use the study center when they need to work on classwork.
One resident wrote,”It is a great experience so far and I have been living here for more than 2 years. I don’t have any complaints and I would recommend it to anyone. Both the amenities and the staff make life in the community very enjoyable. And the location is perfect.” Being that Hillside Village is located in the Gourmet Ghetto, residents will be just minutes from the UC-Berkeley campus. Perfect for any foodie, the Gourmet Ghetto is a highly popular area where there are world famous restaurants, shops, and bakeries. This is a perfect area for strolling with friends or date night!
New Californian (3.9)
The only thing standing in between the New Californian Apartments and the UC-Berkeley campus is a short walk. The New Californian is made up of two different building that surrounds the central courtyard and residents can choose between one and two-bedroom apartments. Claiming to be the best value in Berkeley, the New Californian also ropes cable and internet into the rent. Within one block of the apartments are four AC Transit bus lines and just a few more blocks over is the Downtown Berkeley BART. Giving residents quick access to shops, restaurants, and parks all without needing a car!
However, they do have a parking garage as well as bike parking too. The green, energy efficient community has a rooftop deck, several public balconies, and a Trader Joe’s grocery store on the ground floor. Amine said, “Living above a Trader Joe’s is glorious. Awesome food and beer so close to home definitely made life a lot easier. There are also a ton of great restaurants and coffee shops nearby,” while another resident exclaimed, “This is by far the best place I have ever lived!”
El Granada Apartment (3.7)
A UC-Berkeley student’s living situation couldn’t be more convenient than living at the El Granada Apartments. This historic building has studio, one, and two-bedroom apartment units to choose from and is literally located directly across the street from campus. On top of that, El Granada is the closest building to the Berkeley Student Union and Sproul Plaza. Being so close, you can hit that snooze button a few more times in the morning!
After pulling that all-nighter students can literally roll right out of bed and walk across the street. One resident said, “The place is right across the street from campus. It takes me 5 mins to walk to the RSF, 10 minutes to walk to BART, and 15 minutes to walk to the north side of campus. There are tons of places to eat and shop as soon as you walk out the door. The location is definitely the best thing about the El Granada Building.” There are also six bus lines nearby and most people do not own cars since everything is so centrally located.
One resident said, “The place is right across the street from campus. It takes me 5 mins to walk to the RSF, 10 minutes to walk to BART, and 15 minutes to walk to the north side of campus. There are tons of places to eat and shop as soon as you walk out the door. The location is definitely the best thing about the El Granada Building.” There are also six bus lines nearby and most people do not own cars since everything is so centrally located.
Centrally located in downtown Berkeley are the Warring Street Apartments. One resident stated, “This building is simply filled with lovely people. Majority are students attending UC Berkeley or the community college but some are recent graduates. It includes a laundromat below and a parking garage. It has four stories, all apartments include a balcony or outside area. It is a cozy building and everyone is friendly. It includes the basic necessities one needs for living in the city. It’s close to a couple cafes and the University.”
The Warring Street Apartments have one and two-bedroom floorplans that include granite countertops, appliances, wall to wall carpeting, Students can also choose fully furnished packages for their units, making it less of a hassle when moving or having to go out and buy things. Most nearly everything is walkable but if you aren’t up to walking the BART station is just minutes away.