Living Off-Campus, the real rentals.
Here are our best tips for rentals at UCF. With each of my kids, I have three, not one stayed in the dorms beyond their freshman year. My youngest considered staying in the Towers next year, because she loves the location so much. However, with the new lottery system for dorms, she didn’t want to risk not getting the dorm she wanted next year and recently signed a lease to live off-campus. The rentals are plentiful, but the later in the school year they look, the higher the rent will be. Most apartment complexes increase their rates after New Year’s because they know students and parents start looking then. Generally, they will send out renewals in the fall and if you are staying, sign right away, before the prices go up more.
Below are some of the more popular rentals, and apartment complexes students live near UCF. Some provide buses to campus (which can be important since parking on campus can be a nightmare), some rentals have facilities that rival a fancy hotel (pools, hot tubs, volleyball courts, lounges), some provide reserved parking spots for a fee, some are gated and provide constant security and all have various options from studios to 4 bedrooms. Prices vary and generally go up slightly each year. Many will also help find a student to fill a vacant room if need be. Wi-Fi is generally included in rent, but utilities are not. Be sure to check all these things before making a decision on rentals.
We tried to stick with the important things like security and furniture, rather than tanning beds and lit volleyball courts if you know what we mean, but some of the amenities are pretty impressive. Below is our list of favorite rentals.
Boardwalk – hasn’t been updated lately, which could be why it is less expensive than some of the others. Students say that their management and maintenance hasn’t been the best since they lived there. The apartment rentals are rather spacious though. It is located less than a mile from campus and has a shuttle. 4×4- $699/month.
High Pointe Club – One of our intern’s best friends has lived here for 3 years and will continue to live here for another year. And now our intern moved there and loves it too. She agrees that this apartment complex has a homey feel. Unlike the other rentals and apartments; it is a bit out of the way from UCF though; about 10 minutes away from campus. There is no UCF shuttle so students must have a car in order to live here. They only have 1 bedroom or 2 bedroom apartments available which can cost up to $1,800 for the whole apartment; meaning each person would pay $900 per month. We love this place anyway.
The Hub on Campus – UCF’s newest apartment complex is located on E. Colonial Drive down the street from campus. This is one of those luxury style apartment rentals with a sundeck, volleyball courts, fitness room, sauna, on-demand fitness trainer and classes, a tanning salon, and a yoga room. They have private study rooms & a conference center, a coffee bar and a game room too. Even the bathrooms in each apartment feature Bluetooth showerhead speakers. While the rent includes cable, internet, water, trash & electricity, keep in mind the electricity is capped so if you go over that amount, you will be charged the difference. There are fun pool parties and free snacks/lunches often available by the front desk. Like The Station, if students are not worried about the price, then this is a good place to live. Aside from the pricing, the only complaint that we have heard is that the shuttle is inconsistent. Prices start at $785 and go up from there.
Knights Circle – are right across from campus and have good security. The maintenance was questionable last year, but perhaps it has improved. This apartment complex is right in front of one of UCF’s entrances and has multiple shuttles! If you miss one, it is easy to walk to another shuttle stop and hop on. The apartment itself is a clean-living space and many of our intern’s friends live here. They’ve noticed that people who sign leases here tend to stay here until graduation, which is a great sign. The biggest complaint is that it is easy to go over electric charges if you are not careful enough. Nevertheless, it is one of the more affordable places, particularly if you sign up as soon as leases are released, to live near campus which makes a lot of people happy!
- 4×4- starts at $745/month
- 3×3- starts at $800/month
- 2×2- starts at $845/month
Lofts – homey and affordable with shared bathrooms.
Northgate Lakes – is super close to UCF. Pet-friendly. We do not know anyone who lives here, but it could be because it does not have a great reputation amongst the students we asked.
- 4 bedroom/ 2 bath- $695/month
- 4 bedroom/ 4 bath- $794/month
- 3 bedroom/ 2 bath- $715/month
- 3 bedroom/ 3 bath- $660/month
Orion on Orpington – Good reviews. Fall and Spring semesters rental prices:
- $760 for premium large
- $770 premium extra large
- $785 platinum
- $795 platinum extra large
The difference between premium and platinum is that the premium is a bit of an older model while the platinum has been redone to look more modern. The biggest difference is its bathrooms. ALL of these layouts are 4×4.
Plaza – is one of the most expensive and newer complexes. The location can’t be beaten; located on top of the Plaza shopping center which has many restaurants, shops and is very near campus. For a fee, students can get their own parking spot, which is highly recommended because parking can be abominable. The gym and pool are amazing. This is one of our intern’s personal favorites. Not only is it right above one of the most popular plazas around campus, but it is extremely close to campus. Students love being able to walk downstairs and grab a bite to eat at Menchies or Blaze. It is especially cool because Bar Louie is downstairs as well, so students feel comfortable enjoying the bar and not worrying about driving. A great option for UCF students.
- 4 by 4- $789/month
- 4 by 4 with a pool view- $804/month
- 3 by 3- $819/month
- 3 by 3 pool view- $834/month
- 2 by 2- $879/month
- 2 by 2 pool view- $894/month
The Retreat – has fabulous amenities (yes, that includes a tanning bed) and can be somewhat costly, but we hear, you get what you pay for. They have apartments as large as 6 bedrooms, which may help to keep the cost down. The location is ok (some consider it walking distance), but the traffic in that area can be heavy at times. Pet-friendly. Here are the most recent prices:
- 6 bedroom/6.5 bath starts at $685
- 5 bedroom starts at $705
- 4 bedroom- starts at $765
- 3 bedroom- starts at $810
- 2 bedroom- starts at $865
The Station Alafaya – This is one of the newest apartment complexes at UCF. Located 5 minutes from the main campus, it is highly rated by most students. If students are not concerned about the pricing, then it is a wonderful place to sign at!
UCF Downtown Campus (Union West at Creative Village) – *Note: this is generally for students that attend the downtown campus. For both UCF and Valencia students. Will have their own restaurant complex and RWC located in the building as well as a collaborative area including a lounge, coffee shop, and media center. 5-floor plans-
3 different 4 bedroom floor plans. There are shared bedrooms in 2 of the unit types. Private bedrooms and bathrooms are available as well. These floor plans come fully furnished and include a mini-fridge per resident. Utilities are included in the price (water, power, WI-FI, cable, and trash).
4/2 Suite shared bedrooms
- Fall ($3,420)
- Spring ($3,420)
- Summer C ($2,280)
4/2 Suite private bedrooms
- Fall ($4,320)
- Spring ($4,320)
- Summer C ($2,880)
Apartments include living spaces and kitchenettes
4/2 Apartment with shared bedroom
- Fall ($3,870)
- Spring ($3,870)
- Summer C ($2,580)
4/2 Apartment private bedrooms
- Fall ($4,770)
- Spring ($4,770)
- Summer C ($3,180)
4/4 Apartment- private bedrooms
- Fall ($5,445)
- Spring ($5,445)
- Summer C ($3,630)
Residents have the ability to reserve their own private parking in the UnionWest garage (attached to the apartment building). The rate is $110 per month and will be on a “first come” basis. You can email UnionWest@platinumparking.us to reserve a spot. Currently, Downtown Orlando parking ranges from $125-$175 per space/month for 24 hours reserved parking. More information on private parking for residents transits.
Union West – *summer C is different
- 4/2 suite private- $4,320 per semester
- 4/2 apartment shared- $3,870 per semester
- 4/2 apartment private- $4,770 per semester
- 4/4 apartment private- $5,445 per semester
Villages at Science Drive – One of our interns currently lives here loves it so much she resigned for senior year! The apartments are extremely spacious, and she loves the furniture that came with it. If there is ever an issue, she simply calls the office and hears back from them the same day. It is also one of the more affordable options. While most apartments are increasing their rates to $800+, she pays $699 a month. Her only complaint is that because living on the first floor, she deals with bugs from time to time (one time she actually called the office to help kill a bug and they did it with no complaints!). It is right next to UCF with a road leading to the back way of the main campus and is extremely fun and safe to live at. Highly recommended.
In the end, we found that the top recommendations are:
As the weeks go by, apartment prices increase little by little, so the sooner you sign a lease, the more cost-efficient it can be.
Remember too that each apartment will come with its own utility bill. Most use Duke Energy, but some use Conservice. Every apartment complex on our list (except for Northview) splits the apartment utility overages amongst all residents.
Most of these apartment rentals come furnished and are gated communities. These are, however, just some of the more popular off-campus complexes UCF students seem to flock to. There are many more.
There are quite a few websites to help find an apartment. For instance, check out forrentuniversity.com. By typing in your university it will guide you to available apartments. You may want to check out apartmentguide.com, ucf.offcampuspartners.com, or 407apartments.com as well.
Renting houses vs apartment rentals is becoming extremely popular. They don’t come with a shuttle or furniture usually, but it can be hundreds of dollars a month cheaper. It is far less expensive than most of the popular apartment complexes. However, there is a fairly nerve-wracking process to finding one. Most houses have 3 to 4 bedrooms and do not become available until June or July. This means taking the chance that you will find a suitable one in the timeframe needed. Then, when you think you have found one worth looking at; it disappears as students will often take them without actually seeing them. Parents must be prepared to sign as a guarantor and do so quickly. I, personally, found the process very difficult as we found that many houses we looked into wouldn’t allow students or were available in August which meant finding a place to store her things (check out our blog on storage and managing the gap here) and essentially doing a double move. There are, however, some neighborhoods that are close to campus and really lovely; if you can find the house you want that works for your student and their roommates.
Opening in the fall of 2019 is UnionWest, UCF’s new student resident community at UCF Downtown and Valencia College Downtown at Creative Village. UnionWest is a 15-story building with student residences, restaurants, student services, classrooms, and amenities. UCF recommends this for students in the following programs:
- Digital Media
- Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy
- Legal Studies
- Health Management and Informatics
- Non-Profit Management
- Public Administration
- Research Administration
- Urban & Regional Planning
- Emergency and Crisis Management
- Public Affairs
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