Frequently Asked Questions

Where do students live around campus?

1 mile from UWM Kenwood campus

6,000-10,000 students live within 1 miles of campus at 3,080 addresses
1 mile radius: 3,080 addresses (40%)
Less than 40 minute walk
Less than 15 minute bus ride
Less than 10 minute drive
Includes areas: Upper East Side, Riverwest, Riverside Park, North Avenue, Shorewood, Bradford Beach, Columbia St. Mary’s Hospital, Lake Park, UWM Kenwood Campus

3 miles from UWM Kenwood campus

7,000 – 14,000 students live within 3 miles of campus at 4,558 addresses
3-1 mile radius: 1,478 addresses (19%)
5-10 minute drive
10-30 minute bus ride
20-60 minute walk
Includes areas: UWM Panther Arena, Fiserv Forum, Downtown, MATC, Zilber School of Public Health, MSOE, East Town, Yankee Hill, Water Street, Lower East Side, Veteran’s Park, Art Museum, Harambee, Arlington Heights, Williamsburg Heights, Riverwest, Whitefish Bay, Shorewood, Capitol/Humboldt UWM UPark Lot, Estabrook Park

5 miles from UWM Kenwood campus

8,000-15,000 students live within 5 miles of campus at 4,798 addresses
5-3 mile radius: 240 addresses (3%)
10-20 minute drive
20-40 minute bus ride
Includes areas: Bayshore, Walker’s Point, Washington Park, Historic Third Ward, Glendale, Roosevelt Grove, Rufus King, Lincoln Park, Walnut Hill, Sherman Park, Milwaukee River Parkway, Whitefish Bay, Milwaukee Public Museum, Downtown, Milwaukee, Public Market, Marquette, Menomonee Valley

10 miles from UWM Kenwood campus

17,000-23,000 students live within 10 miles of campus at 7,700 addresses
10-5 mile radius: 2,902 addresses (37%)
20 minute drive
1 hour bus ride
Includes areas: UWM School of Freshwater Sciences, American Family Field (Story Hill), Wauwatosa, UWM Innovation Campus, West Allis, St. Francis, Cudahy, Bayview, Brown Deer, Bayside, Fox Point, Glendale, Old North Milwaukee, Butler

See more about Milwaukee here:

When is a good time to start looking for a rental?

It is always a good time to start thinking about what you might need out of a rental property. You are in control as a tenant, do not let any landlord pressure you into renting or signing a lease before you are ready. Typically, prices are best and the most variety of property is available between May and August.  We typically recommend looking for a rental 2-3 months before you want to move in.

As you are looking, we recommend that you take the Preferred Tenant Program online to qualify for $250 off your security deposit or 2% off your monthly rent with participating landlords.

Review College Pads listing service for available options in the area.

Finally, make an education choice. We recommend that you learn more about the rental process, by visiting the Off Campus Resource Center, connecting with the Legal Clinic and attending one of our programs such as the Housing Fair.

For more information, please see our Rental Guide Process.

How many roommates can I have?

If you plan to live in Milwaukee, no more than 3 unrelated roommates! We cannot stress enough how important it is to follow this City of Milwaukee ordinance. Do not sign a lease or agree to live somewhere without being on the lease if the landlord is okay with breaking this law. This is a red flag and a preview of how reliable of a landlord they will be and can put students at significant risk for many dangers including unexpected and legal eviction!

Learn more information about the City of Milwaukee’s Occupancy Ordinance in Step 3: Roommates of our Rental Process Guide.

If you plan to live in a town outside of Milwaukee such as Shorewood, Oak Creek, etc. make sure you are checking their local ordinances regarding roommates. You may be able to have additional roommates in other towns.

What do I say to a potential landlord?
Be prepared – What to have ready before your call:
  1. The name of the landlord you are contacting
  2. The address of the residence you are interested in
  3. The date you would like to move in
  4. Your schedule to set up a showing
  5. Any basic but necessary questions you may have about the residence that can be answered before a walk-through. This is more individualized. For example, if you have a pet, you should ask if the building allows for your type of animal. If you have a vehicle, you might want to inquire about parking and parking costs. Write down any other accommodations that are necessary for you.
  • Making the call: Making phone calls to people you don’t know can be nerve wracking. We are providing a basic conversation outline to help cover all bases and help keep the conversation stress free.

Change the bolded areas to your information.

Student: Hello (Name of landlord), my name is (Your name). I am calling because I saw a listing for your property at (Address of house/apartment) on (Where you found the listing). I am hoping to move on (Date you want to move in) and am interested in more information about this property.

The landlord will likely tell you more about the unit –whether it is still available, pricing, length of lease, etc. Or, they may just ask you what more you would like to know about the unit. Some landlords will go into great detail while others may rely more on you to lead the conversation.

If the landlord doesn’t give you much more information about the building, ask your prepared need-based questions. Or anything else that may be important to you upfront.

You may just be interested in viewing the house and want to save your questions for then. If this is the case, lead the conversation towards scheduling a showing.

Student: I am interested in seeing the unit. Are there specific days or times that work best for you?

Have your schedule ready, so you can work with the landlord and find a time that fits within both of your schedules. This may be the next day or two weeks later –whatever works best for each party.

Once you decide on a date and time, make record of it so you don’t forget. Once a showing is scheduled and your basic questions have been answered, you’ve successfully taken the first steps towards signing a lease!

Student: Thank you for your time (Landlord name), and I look forward to meeting you on (Date and time of showing).

If the landlord does not answer their phone, leave a message similar to the opening of the guide if they had answered. Be sure to include a call back number as well. If there is a best time to reach you, communicate that on the voicemail as well.

What questions do I ask a landlord?

Before signing a lease, it is important to ask questions.  We have outlined sample questions related to safety, amenities, location and services, structure, and noise. To review a list of possible questions: Questions to Ask a Landlord PDF

How do I know if I am talking to a reputable landlord??

Students have found themselves evicted, homeless or in rentals with terrible issues. We want to help you make the best choice possible. Beware of any landlord exhibiting these behaviors:

  • refusal to provide a sample lease or allow time to review the lease before signing
  • pressuring you into signing a lease on the spot or quickly
  • allowing more than 3 unrelated people to live together
  • leaving a tenant’s name off the lease
  • delayed/slow communication
  • voicemail that is full or not set-up
  • refusal to get agreements in writing
  • refusal to provide a check-in sheet and perform a walk-through
  • requiring more than 60-days notice to end the lease
  • requiring earnest money
  • cash-only transactions

The City of Milwaukee Department of Neighborhood Services website allows you to look up some information about properties: Property Information (

WI Criminal Background Check

Wisconsin Circuit Court Access 

Search your landlord by their last and first name, or any other applicable information you have to see any court records they may have. If nothing shows up, they have no old or active court records. You can click on the Case Number listed on the left to view more about that particular incident. Look out for housing related court records – such as multiple evictions. If you see anything that worries or confuses you, feel free to check with the OCRC or University Legal Clinic for further assistance.

Property Information Check

Milwaukee Department of Neighborhood Services Address Look-up

View past or current violations that a building or household has with the City of Milwaukee. Type in the details to the property you are interested in, and then select “See Details” next to the line reading “Property Registration, Code Violations, Service Requests and Permits:”. This will take you to a full list of the building’s records with the City. Don’t worry about records that are closed or older than a year. If there is anything active that says “violation”, then it may be a concern. If you are unclear or want further clarification, feel free with talk to our office or University Legal Clinic.

What is a showing and what should I bring to it?

Showings are a great opportunity to inspect the property, take your own pictures and videos, and ask any questions that were not covered by the listing. Here is a document on How to Call a Landlord and Set Up a Showing.

For more information regarding showings check out Step 6 of the Rental Process Guide.

What type of information is asked for on a rental application?

Be prepared to provide personal information when filling out a rental application, it is common for applications to ask for information like:

  • Social Security Numbers
  • Rental History
  • Employment History
  • Information about your finances
  • Banking information

When applying for multiple units you should not have to pay $20 for every application you put in. The $20 fee is usually paid to the first unit you apply for, each place you apply to after that, you should be able to provide them with a copy of your credit report. There is a 30 days time limit to provide copies of your credit report after it is used for the first application.

Many landlords check a prospective tenant’s credit history with at least one credit reporting agency to see how responsible the prospective tenant is with managing money. The average price for this is around $20. The landlord can only charge an application fee that is the amount required for the credit check and must refund any extra money. Additionally, the landlord may charge prospective tenants for background checks, eviction and court records, employment history, and rental history.

Learn more about rental applications in Step 11 of our Rental Process Guide.

What should I look for in a lease?

Leases all look a little different, below are some items to look for in a lease before you sign it.

  • The name and address of the landlord and tenant(s)
  • The address of the rental property
  • Where to send the rent
  • The agreed upon monthly rent amount, with or without utilities (be specific – Heat? Water? Parking? Cable/Internet?)
  • When the rent is due (e.g. on the first day of the month)
  • The amount and terms of the security deposit
  • Which repairs are your responsibility and which are at the request of the landlord
  • Who is responsible for shoveling snow, cutting the lawn and who will supply the tools to do so
  • Specific restrictions, such as no additional tenants, smoking, pets
  • The notice period that the tenant is required to give when terminating tenancy, such as 60 days prior to end of lease
  • Subletting rules
  • When and how a landlord can enter the rental premises
  • Conditions for termination of a lease (by either party)
  • Terms for dispute resolutions (late rent, damage, repairs)
  • Emergency contact information for tenant(s) and landlord (phone, e-mail)

It is important to avoid predatory lease agreements. We always recommend requesting a lease review from the University Legal Clinic before signing. This is a free service provided to students who pay their student segregated fees.

To get an idea of what to expect from a rental application, follow the link to WI Legal Blank, this website has the most updated versions of legal documents, such as a Wisconsin rental application.

Learn more about rental applications in Step 11 of our Rental Process Guide.

What is a check in sheet?

Once you move into a rental unit, you have seven (7) days to report any pre-existing damages to the landlord. Always walk through the apartment with the landlord and note any damages that are already present. It can be useful to take pictures or a video and fill out a check-in sheet. Landlords are legally required to give you a check-in sheet upon move-in. If you already moved in before filling out the check-in sheet, still fill it out and submit it to your landlord on time!

How do I pay my rent? What do I do if there is a rent increase? What do I do if I cannot afford my rent?

Form of payment is at the discretion of your landlord. The safest options are check, money order, or online through direct withdrawal from your bank account. Landlords can refuse to accept cash. We recommend avoiding paying in cash in any circumstance so that the tenant has proof of payment protection in case a landlord claims they did not receive rent payment.

If a landlord is raising the rent, they have to let the tenant know. On a month-to-month lease, the landlord has to tell the tenant 28 days in advance.

If you cannot pay your rent on time, communication is key! Call your landlord and discuss your current situation with them to see if they can be flexible. Check your lease to see what your grace period is, and if/when late fee charges will be assessed. If you are paying your rent late, make sure to note on the check or in the description within the web-portal what month the rent is for, so you don’t continue to be assessed late fee charges.

What do if I want to file a complaint about a landlord?

There are a couple of options that you can do to file a complaint.  You can do one, both or none of these options. Before you decide how you would like to proceed, OCRC would be happy to meet with you to talk about the issues or concerns that you are experiencing and review available options with you. If you would like to meet with a staff member from OCRC please fill out this form.

You can file a Complaint with the Off Campus Resource Center through this form.  If the landlord is a partner of the OCRC, the OCRC staff will review continued partnership based on the complaint.

You can file a Complaint with the Department of Neighborhood Services through their reporting form.

What are some neighborhood safety tips?

Take action by implementing these safety recommendations! Areas and homes that are poorly maintained and lighted, hidden by fencing or landscaping, or out of sight of neighbors can be risky. Do your part to help minimize crime by considering and implementing the following information. Please note that this is not an inclusive list of safety tips, we do recommend that all students download the RAVE Guardian App through the UWM Police Department.

Trust Your Instincts: If You See Something, Say Something

  • If you return home and notice something questionable (e.g., slit screen, broken window) do not go inside.
  • Call UWMPD or MPD right away.
  • If you think there is something wrong, trust your feelings. Keeping our community safe requires everyone to be alert and proactive.
  • Remember that sexual consent is a knowing, voluntary, and mutual decision among all participants to engage in sexual activity. Silence does not equal consent.
  • Consider giving someone a safe ride home or speaking up when you see someone engaging in threatening behavior.
  • Reducing rates of violence in our community can seem overwhelming, but it becomes easier when we all work together. To report concerns, you may choose to call the UWM Police (414-229-4627) or file an online report with the UWM Dean of Students Office.
  • Always contact 911 in case of an emergency. Make safety a priority.

Keep Strangers Out of Your Home

  • Lock your doors both while you are home and away.
  • Never prop doors open and leave the doorway unattended.
  • It’s your right to know who is in your home. Do not be afraid to ask utility employees or law enforcement for identification. You can call the company to see if they have sent someone out.
  • Check with roommates before answering the door to see if you are expecting someone. Don’t answer the door if you are uncomfortable!
  • Put your valuable items out of sight both in your home and in your vehicle (phone chargers, wallets, keys, etc.).
  • Close your blinds while you are not home.

Protect Your Property and Keep It Well-Lit

  • Leaving for a few days or just for the evening? Leave a light on inside.
  • Leave your porch/outdoor light on at night to help you see better as you enter your home and while neighbors are walking by.
  • If a light fixture is out discuss with your landlord whom is responsible for replacing/fixing lighting.
  • Check with a parent/guardian and their insurance to see if you are covered under their homeowner’s insurance. If you’re not, get renter’s insurance!
  • Record serial numbers, take pictures and register your valuable items with the police department.
  • Report and freeze cards and accounts immediately if you lose information or suspect fraudulent charges.


The safety and security of UWM students and community members is a top priority at UWM. Because of that we strive to provide you with the most updated information and alerts possible. Below are multiple resources available if you have additional questions.

UWM Emergency Alert Emergency Notification Program

UWM’s Emergency Alert Program, also known as RAVE Alert, allows students, faculty and staff to register to be notified via text message or email in the event of a campus emergency. RAVE Alert is completely voluntary, and will be used for emergency contact purposes only. Emergency purposes include credible, life-threatening incidents that present imminent danger. At no time will it be used to distribute advertising or other unsolicited content.

Campus Health and Safety

At UWM, we all share a deep sense of community about keeping safe and healthy. From peace-of-mind to personal well-being, we’ll be here for you. At this new Campus Health and Safety page you can find a wide variety of information from health issues that are currently taking place on campus, tips on staying health, lifestyle and welll-being issues for students to current safety issues facing the campus community.

B.O.S.S. (Be On the Safe Side) Van Taxi Service

This van escort service is designed to ensure that students have a safe ride home from campus or campus-area locations during night hours. It runs from 6pm-2am during the semester. You can request a B.O.S.S. van by calling 414-229-6503, stopping at the B.O.S.S. office located on the ground floor of the Union, or downloading the app Tapride and signing in with your UWM ID.


The University Police Department is staffed 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and has an authorized strength of 35+ full-time sworn police officers. Support personnel include dispatchers, clericals and U-park security officers.

RAVE Guardian

RAVE Mobile Technology is the emergency communications platform that UWM uses to send emergency alerts by email, text, social media and website connection. The RAVE Guardian app, which can be downloaded for free from Apple or Android stores allows users to interact with the police department through texting, confidential tips, location sharing, a call directory and a safety/resource content portal.


The Milwaukee Police Department homepage has information relating to crime statistics, non-emergency numbers and overnight parking, as well as tips to protect yourself in the city.

What happens if I am confronted by the Milwaukee or University of Milwaukee Police?

UWMPD, MPD and the Dean of Students Office work closely together to address student concerns off-campus. Even if you are off-campus, you are a member and representative of the greater Panther community.  Any off- or on-campus misconduct with be reported to the Dean of Students Office and may result in a student conduct process. While this is not an inclusive list, below is a list of common citations issued by UWMPD and/or MPD- please note that fine amounts are reflective of a first offence, and are subject to change at anytime.

Violation/Fine Guide:

  • Wisconsin State Statue (WI)
  • University of Wisconsin System (UWS)
  • Milwaukee Ordinance (MKE)

Assaultive Behavior – UWS $361.50

No person may intentionally strike, shove, hit, punch, kick or otherwise subject another person to physical contact or cause bodily harm without the consent of the person.

Deposit of Human Waste – UWS $267

No person may deposit human waste products upon, nor urinate or defecate upon, any university lands or facilities other than into a toilet or other device designed and intended to be used to ultimately deposit such human waste products into a septic or sanitary sewer system.

Disorderly Conduct – UWS $298.50, MKE $195

No person may engage in violent, abusive, indecent, profane, boisterous, unreasonably loud or otherwise disorderly conduct under circumstances in which the conduct tends to cause or provoke a disturbance, in university buildings or on university lands.

Excessive Noise Prohibited – MKE $240

No person shall produce or cause to be produced noise which exceeds the limitations set forth (approx. 50feet) It shall be unlawful for any person occupying or having charge or control of any building or premises, or any part thereof, to cause, suffer or allow any loud, excessive or unusual noise in the operation of any radio, stereo or other mechanical nuisances or electrical device, instrument or machine, which loud, excessive or unusual noise tends to unreasonably disturb the comfort, quiet or repose of persons therein or in the vicinity.

  • This ordinance violation could be used for hosts of a house party

Failure to Obey Signage – UWS $204

No person may fail to comply with a sign that reasonably conveys prohibited behavior and that has been approved and posted on university buildings or lands in compliance with the university’s formal process for posting signs.

  • This UWS violation is being used for use of tobacco on campus (which includes smoking/vaping)

Fake ID’s – WI $519

Any underage person who does any of the following is guilty of a violation:

  • Intentionally carries an official identification card not legally issued to him or her, or an official identification card which has been altered or duplicated to convey false information.
  • Intentionally carries an official identification card or other documentation showing that the person has attained the legal drinking age, with knowledge that the official identification card or documentation is false.

Possession of Drug Paraphernalia – UWS $330

No person may use, or possess with the primary intent to use, drug paraphernalia to plant, propagate, cultivate, grow, harvest, manufacture, compound, convert, produce, process, prepare, test, analyze, pack, repack, store, contain, conceal, inject, ingest, inhale or otherwise introduce into the human body a controlled substance or controlled substance analog.

Possession of Marijuana/THC – UWS $393, MKE $50

No person may intentionally use or possess marijuana on university lands, except when such use or possession is authorized under Ch. 961, Stats., or is permitted under s. 961.34, Stats.

Public Drinking/Possession of Alcohol Beverages – MKE $144

It shall be unlawful for any person to consume any alcohol beverage or possess on his or her person, any bottle or receptacle containing alcohol beverages if the bottle has been opened, the seal broken or the contents of the bottle or receptacle have been partially removed upon any public alley, highway, pedestrian mall, sidewalk, or street within the limits of the city.

Resisting or Obstructing Police Officer – UWS $456

No person may knowingly resist or obstruct a university police officer while that officer is doing any act in an official capacity and with lawful authority.

Smoking in Buildings – UWS Fine $204

No person may smoke in any residence hall or other university-owned or university-leased student housing or in any location that is 25 feet or less from such residence hall or housing. No person may smoke in any nonresidential university building.

Sale of Alcohol/License Required – MKE $3,234.06

It shall be unlawful for any person to sell, barter or offer for sale or barter in the city any intoxicating liquors or fermented malt beverages without having obtained a license as provided for in this chapter, or to be in violation of the terms of such license. This includes monetary donations.

  • This ordinance violation could be used for hosts of a house party

Underage Drinking – WI $267+, MKE $195+

WI – Any underage person not accompanied by his or her parent, guardian or spouse, who has attained the legal drinking age, who knowingly possesses or consumes alcohol beverages is guilty of a violation.
MKE – Possession of alcohol by Underage Person

Who is responsible for repairs?

First thing’s first, check your lease! Generally speaking, unless the damage is caused by the negligence of the tenant (tenant action or inaction), responsibility to make major repairs such as heat, air conditioning, electric, plumbing is that of the landlord. Minor inexpensive items are the responsibility of the tenant.  Wis. Stat. 704.07(1) and (2).  The landlord’s promise to repair must be in writing and have a completion date if it is made prior to the lease being signed. The landlord is also required to notify the tenant in writing of unavoidable delays which make the completion of the repairs impossible to complete prior to the initial promised date. A completion date has to be given in any case.

What are my responsibilities in the event of snow?

There are a number of regulations that begin in the winter months that pertain to Milwaukee residents and can sometimes go unnoticed.

From December 1st through March 1st, various parking regulations take effect throughout the city. Keep in mind that these parking changes can directly impact your neighborhood. Some residential streets are restricted to parking on a single side of the street. Be sure to check the signs on your street for postage indicating that parking is not allowed for the entire period between Dec. 1st and Mar. 1st or if you must alternate which side of the street you park on. In the case of a snow emergency, some streets don’t allow parking all together so be sure you’re not parked in an area labeled ‘Snow Route: Tow Away Zone.’ The last thing you need during a frigid Wisconsin winter is to have your car towed.

Another ordinance to keep in mind is that residents have 24 hours after the snowfall to clear snow from sidewalks. Failing to do so will not only result in an icy sidewalk, but residents will incur a fine starting at $50! Be sure to review your lease to see if your landlord has agreed to provide snow removal or if the responsibility lies with you and your roommates

Residential Property – Residential property owners and occupants are required to clear the sidewalks abutting their property of snow or ice within 24 hours after the snow and ice have stopped falling. This includes the corner crosswalk area for property owners with corner lots or those whose property abuts a mid-block crosswalk. Violators of this ordinance who are reported are issued a notice to clear the sidewalk. The city is responsible for only the approaches to alleys; alleys are not plowed.

Snow Emergencies – If a snow emergency has been declared, night parking regulations are in effect from 11:00 P.M. to 6:00 A.M. on all city streets regardless of winter parking regulations. During a snow emergency Milwaukee Public Schools make some of their playgrounds and parking lots available for night parking and clean-up times

How do I get rid of bulky items or furniture when I move out?

Please consider participating in our PantherCycle program to give away unwanted household furniture, decorations, clothes, etc. For more information, please click here: PantherCycle – Off Campus Resource Center (

Drop bulky items off at a Drop-Off Center* (Will also take electronics, appliances, and tires for recycling.) 

    • North Milwaukee: Milwaukee DPW Self-Help Center 
    • 6660 N Industrial Road Milwaukee, WI 53223 
    • South Milwaukee: Milwaukee Lincoln Ave Self-Help Center 
    • 3879 W Lincoln Ave Milwaukee, WI 53215 Regular Pick-Up

Regular Bulky Pick-Up through the City of Milwaukee

    • Only for one (1) cubic yard, about the size of a rocking chair or two garbage carts, may be put at your regular collection point for pickup on your regular day. No online request or call is needed.

Schedule a Special Pick-Up with the City of Milwaukee

    • For more than one (1) cubic yard, place the item(s) at your regular collection point and submit a request online or call the city at 414-286-2489.
    • Rates: 
      • $50 for 1-4 cubic yards
      • $150 for 4-6 cubic yards

*These centers require a Milwaukee I.D. or a recent utility bill under the same name as your I.D. in order to use their services.