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.


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 find a list of possible questions please click here.

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
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.

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!

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.