When should I sign a lease?

When to sign a lease is largely a personal decision. A lot depends on your own timeline and how much you have planned for the logistics that are entailed in signing a lease. A few of this logistics include: having a cosigner, knowing if you want a roommate, and having a specific area or housing type in mind.  


Pop-up sign that reads "Now Leasing"


  • If you are on the hunt for a place to live, the great news is that Austin is a huge city, and there is always something available to rent.

    • If you're looking for housing last minute, you may have to expand your search further away from campus, as properties closer to campus tend to fill up more quickly.

    • Fortunately, CapMetro stations and routes are located all over Austin, so getting to campus is still doable from much of the city.

  • If you have a specific neighborhood or complex in mind, you should start looking earlier.

    • It's a good idea to start looking for housing and sign a lease at least a few months in advance, if possible.

    • Some apartment complexes will encourage residents to re-sign leases for the following year early in the fall semester. It is up to you if you wish to sign and get a spot reserved or if you would like to wait and take some more time. 

    • Keep in mind that if you wait to sign a lease on a unit you like, deals offered by the complex may not be valid anymore. You'll often get better deals the earlier you sign.

    • Check out these tips if you're doing a virtual housing search.

  • If you are signing a lease with a roommate, make sure you are both on the same page about what you want and can afford. 

    • Sit down and have a conversation about what you want in an apartment or house.  

    • It is generally a good idea that both your and your roommate/s' names are listed on the lease so that everyone remains accountable.

  • Try to line up someone to be your cosigner before you are ready to sign a lease so that it does not slow down your process. Not every property manager will require a cosigner, but many will since most college students do not have the income or credit history to take on the full risk of a lease.

  • You can always look for short term leases or rentals if you aren't ready to sign a lease and you need more time. 

  • If you're looking for housing during the Spring semester, you might consider subletting to get a better deal.

    • Many students will offer sublets at a discounted rate in the Spring, and your official UT Austin class Facebook group is a great place to find those listings.