Frequently Asked Questions

Off-Campus and Commuter Student Engagement receives a lot of questions from students and parents on everything related to living off-campus, from how to find housing to safety and more. We have gathered the most common questions we get into one location! If you still have questions, please email us at, or call us at (614) 292-0100.

How do I use the housing search?

On our homepage, there is a housing search that can be utilized by anyone wanting to live in or near the University District in Columbus and Ohio State's other regional campuses. This service is provided by Willie J. Young, Sr. Off-Campus and Commuter Student Engagement (OCCSE) for in-network property managers to advertise their properties to students. Property owners are considered "in-network" by fulfilling commitments such as safety inspections with the City of Columbus, meeting regularly with our office, and being committed to student wellness through their business practices. 

To begin your search for rental opportunities, simply click on "Search in-network properties" from our homepage located at If you require a more detailed search, refine it by selecting your preferences for rental amount range, amount of bedrooms, amenities, etc. You can also sort your query by price and most recently updated properties. 

Following these selections, there is an additional search option. Select any specific option you are looking for in a house/apartment. There are two specific options that can often confuse students and/or parents: “Student Sublet Ads” and “Property Owner Allows Subleasing”. Some property managers will allow their tenants to sublease their unit. This means if a student cannot complete the lease term, the student will look for someone else to take over the lease. These search options are for students looking for a subleased property or looking to sublease a property in the future.

When should I start looking for housing off-campus?

OCCSE recommends taking time before you sign a lease. Although you may hear of students searching for housing as early as autumn semester, you will have plenty of time to secure housing. Do not feel pressured to sign a lease until you've received a lease review from Student Legal Services and discussed all aspects of the roommate contract with all roommates.

How safe is Columbus?

Please remember Ohio State and its surrounding areas are in a metropolitan area. We always recommend that regardless of where you choose to live, you practice safe behaviors. Resources available include the Community Crime Map and free Safety Devices from the OCCSE office! We are located on the 3rd floor of the Ohio Union in suite 3106.

If I am only going to be living in my house/apartment for less time than what my lease specifies, what should I do?

OCCSE offers resources for searching for someone to take over your lease. There are two options for students: submitting a “Sublet Your Apartment” request or submitting a “Find a Roommate” request. To sublet your apartment, it must be allowed by your property manager, the unit must be completely vacant if your apartment/house consists of multiple rooms, and you must find someone to take over your lease. To use this service, return to the main page, scroll toward the bottom, and click on the square link that says “Sublet Your Apartment” located on the bottom left. If your unit has one or more occupied rooms, the “Find a Roommate” submission may be used instead and can be located below the "Options for Students and Vendors" section on the main page.

What do I do if I am visiting Columbus or Ohio State for a short amount of time?

OCCSE has a list of resources visitors can utilize. First, we recommend using the Housing Search to look for students subleasing their unit. Next, we recommend searching for extended stay hotels in the area. If you would like a list of property managers that offer short term housing, please call the office at 614-292-0100.

Where can I buy City Parking Permits?

The City of Columbus sells off-street parking permits for the university district residential areas. Parking permits last one year from the start of your purchase date and can be purchased at 2700 Impound Lot Rd.