Creating the Extraordinary Student Experience

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Off-Campus and Commuter Student Services (OCCSS) 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 e-mail us at, or call us at 614-292-0100.

How do I use the housing search?

On the Home page of, there is a housing search that can be utilized by anyone wanting to live in the Columbus district. This service is provided by Off-Campus and Commuter Student Services for property managers to advertise their properties to students and anyone wanting to rent a property located within as well as outside of the university district.

To use this search listings, simply click on search if you are unsure of what criteria you are looking for. If you do know the details of your search, such as the price range, this could be selected on the main page. If you require a more detailed search, continue entering the details, click search listings, and  a “Refine Search” section on the left side should appear.

Our housing search allows student to search houses/apartments located at Ohio State’s regional campuses. If you are searching for a specific area, such as within the Columbus area, use the “Campus” drop down menu, select your campus, and choose a specific location off-campus.

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 “Landlord 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.

Another option that may be confusing to others is the “Excellence Program Participant”. This is short for a property manager being a part of the Off-Campus Housing Excellence Program offered by OCCSS. A representative from the OCCSS office and the Columbus Fire Department will conduct free home visits with students who are concerned about the safety of their home and want to learn more. The selection is an indication that a property manager will also be a participant of this program by signing their own properties up for a home visit.

When should I start looking for housing off-campus?

OCCSS recommends starting a housing search in the beginning of the school year. It is still possible to conduct a housing search when the spring semester begins, but the “best” properties could be taken earlier in the school year, so start your search as soon as possible.  

How safe is Columbus?

Please remember The Ohio State University 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 Off-Campus and Commuter Student Services' 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?

OCCSS offers a 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 Off-Campus News section on the main page.

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

Off-Campus and Commuter Students 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 in our office in the Ohio Union for a limited time at the beginning of Fall Semester each year.

Parking permits last one year from the start of your purchase date and can be purchased at 2700 Impound Lot Rd.