Student Housing in Portland, Oregon: A Survival Guide for 2018

student housing portland

Your studies take a lot out of you. The last thing you need is to be worrying about where to stay. Making accommodation arrangements ahead of time gives you peace of mind and the ability to focus on getting good grades. Students in Portland, Oregon study at different institutions. For those who live out of town or study abroad, good accommodation is key.

The first decision to make is whether you want to live on-campus or off-campus.


Student Housing Portland, Oregon: What Are the Options?

Off-Campus Options

1. Renting a Room (Alone)

Often, the cheapest housing solution is renting a single room. Platforms such as Roomdock can help you to find such affordable rooms without any hassle. (You can even use a stress-free concierge service to find the right accommodation.) Also, homeowners near college campuses might advertise a room for rent on the college bulletin boards.

In most cases, it is done to supplement the homeowner’s income. Students could be offered a room with a private or communal bathroom. Sometimes, the basement or attic might be converted into a living space and rented out to students.

Don’t lose any time. These are popular rooms in Portland, Oregon you can rent NOW:

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Room in Portland Northwest ($1,175/month) – Hosted by Bob

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Room in Portland Downtown ($1,900/month) – Hosted by Judy

Learn why renting a room might be your best option when looking for student housing in Portland:

2. Renting an Apartment or House (Alone)

Students can rent apartments or houses to use as their accommodation. In general, a lease will be signed committing the landlord and the student to a fixed term of rental. A security deposit will be required.

renting a house

3. Renting an Apartment or House (Together With Roommates)

Deciding to rent an apartment or house should not be undertaken lightly. Having roommates can be tedious. It’s essential to share accommodation with people you can get along with. If you’ve already found your dream flat but can’t put up the monthly rent, consider renting a room with Roomdock to find suitable flatmates and earn extra money.

renting with friends

Make sure that all the roommates’ names are on the lease if possible. This is an essential way to keep everyone accountable and not leave you in the lurch if someone decides to leave before the lease is up.


On-Campus Options

The on-campus options will vary from one institution to another.

1. Residence Halls

Also known as dorms, residence halls house many students. Students have their own rooms or might be expected to share with a roommate. There are bathroom and kitchen facilities that are shared.

Usually, there is a dining hall where students can access pre-cooked meals. There are lots of activities going on in residence halls, so those who’ve experienced it will tell you there’s never a dull moment.

The University of Portland offers 10 different residence halls for students who want to live on the campus.

If you’re studying at the Portland State University, you might want to join their housing tours that take place Monday through Friday at 1:30 pm.

2. Private Student Halls

These are similar to residence halls. The services and facilities are much like those of a residence hall. The big difference is that they are not owned or operated by the college. Most are off-site but close to the institution.

Colleges have partnerships with the third-party organizations that run private student halls. Colleges recommend them if they do not have sufficient accommodation spaces. Often, private student halls can be home to students from different institutions in close proximity to one another.

private student halls


Living On-Campus vs. Living Off-Campus

As individuals, student preferences when it comes to accommodation will vary. Looking at the pros and cons, a student should decide whether they’ll be seeking on-campus or off-campus accommodation. Both might have some disadvantages which require the student to weigh them up and choose the lesser of two evils.

living on-campus vs living off-campus

Living On-Campus

 Pros of Living On-Campus

  • Payment of bills is not done on a month-to-month basis. Accommodation payments are made at different intervals during the year depending on the institution’s policies.
  • The price of accommodation includes utilities such as electricity, heating, and internet. This presents the advantage of not having to worry about paying for such services fortnightly or monthly.
  • Socializing is an essential component of living on-campus. Roommates and housemates from diverse backgrounds live together. Lifelong friendships are forged in such circumstances. Students can also participate more freely in student organizations as it’s easy for them to attend meetings and get-togethers.
  • All the neighbors on-campus are students. They get what you’re going through as a student. Having that kind of support system is something a lot of students benefit from.
  • The proximity of lecture venues to on-campus accommodation is convenient. Having a couple of hours off between lectures, students who live on-campus can return to their rooms to study.
  • Campus security means that the area is patrolled, and access is limited. This makes a lot of students, but mostly their parents, feel safe.
  • Students who live on-campus have more time on their hands as they don’t commute. This time can be put to use studying or socializing.


 Cons of Living On-Campus:

  • There are a lot of rules about visitors coming and going.
  • Permission must be obtained for social gatherings in most instances.
  • There might be a personality clash with someone the student has to co-exist with. This is draining and unpleasant, especially if differences cannot be resolved.
  • The space in on-campus accommodations tends to be quite small.
  • For germaphobes, sharing a kitchen or bathroom can be extremely off-putting.
  • On-campus living allows for little privacy.
  • There is usually quite a lot of noise which can prove to be a big distraction.
  • A lot of on-campus accommodation facilities close during vacations leaving the student at a loose end.

What to Look for When You Choose On-Campus Accommodation

Some dorms or single-sex while others are co-ed. This may be a deciding factor for a lot of students.

Find out if you’ll be expected to share a room with a roommate. Is this something you’d be comfortable with?

Ask how big the rooms are and the ratio of students to bathrooms and kitchen facilities.

Request a list of the accommodation rules. You need to know what they are before deciding.

Discuss the dining arrangements and how they work.

Be sure of the exact costs and how often they need to be paid. What exactly is included in the price? This is important knowledge to avoid unexpected costs.

Find out what safety and security regulations are in place.

If possible, it is strongly recommended that you go and look at the dorm before making your final decision. If you cannot physically get there, ask to see a video tour so you have an idea of what to expect.

Get your name in early as spaces fill up quickly. Indecisiveness could mean you lose a spot in the dorm.


Living Off-Campus

 Pros of Off-Campus

  • Most students who live off-campus do so to have more living space for themselves. This is attractive to those students who value their privacy. Sharing kitchen and bathroom facilities is not for everyone.
  • Living off-campus is also a valuable introduction to the realities of adulthood. This includes budgeting and meeting all monthly payments. Another skill is taking responsibility for tasks like cleaning, shopping, and cooking. Real-life scenarios like shopping around and getting a good deal are also presented by off-campus living.
  • A lot of off-campus accommodation is competitively priced in comparison with on-campus housing.
  • Living off-campus, the students can set their own rules. This is not carte blanche to do as they please. Consideration must be shown for the neighbors as well as any local by-laws.
  • Living with neighbors who aren’t all students gives the student a broader social experience which better prepares them for life in the real world.


 Cons of Off-Campus

  • Depending on where the accommodation is, there might be a substantial commute to campus. This is time-consuming and might eat into the student’s budget if it isn’t free. Using public transport can save money. However, not all accommodation is close to stations and bus stops. This is something a student looking for off-campus housing should investigate before committing to a lease.
  • There is a lot more responsibility for those who live off-campus. Cooking and cleaning should be done on a regular basis which might conflict with a hectic school and work schedule.
  • Strict budgeting is needed to make sure that rent and utility bills can be paid. Internet facilities at home cost extra.
  • Neighbors can be difficult when it comes to having friends over to visit. Complaints leveled against the student can result in a terminated lease.

What to Look for When You Choose Off-Campus Accommodation

Determine the proximity of the accommodation to the college. Spending too much time commuting takes time away from your studies.

Always insist on seeing the accommodation before you decide.

Look out for standard things like any damage to the structure, electrical, and plumbing issues.

Find out what the security deposit is and how much the rent is per month. Don’t decide based on price alone. Look at the area the accommodation is in. Is it a safe place?

Read and understand any documents before you sign them. You must understand the terms and conditions of the lease. Blindly signing a contract in good faith can be a fateful decision. Have a sound understanding of the rights, responsibilities, and obligations of the landlord and yourself as the tenant.

Make sure you’re ready for the responsibility of living on your own.

If you’re going to have roommates, make sure you choose reliable people who will meet their obligations. Choose people you’re sure you can live with.



The college experience is one of the best times of your life. Your accommodation is an important component of college life. That’s why it’s best to choose what suits you and will make you happy.

Whichever option you choose, go into it with open eyes. Start your search online well before the academic year begins. Approach the Portland institution you’re attending to get help and advice with accommodation. The city boasts a variety of student accommodation options for the student to choose from.


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