As with job hunting, it never hurts to ask around. Get in touch with past J1ers, who can tell you where they lived in your area, what you can expect to pay for rent, and which neighbourhoods are closest to your summer job and night spots. Research where's closest to your job before committing.
Check out local newspapers, internet rental sites and university bulletin boards. American university students who are heading off on vacation are often interested in subletting apartments for the summer, so keep an eye out for flyers as you explore the city.
Be very careful if you accept housing without seeing it first. If possible always view accommodation before you pay for anything. Be aware that some housing is very cheap for a reason.
We would like to alert all students travelling on a J1 Summer Work & Travel USA Programme this summer that they need to be vigilant when choosing their J1 accommodation and to be respectful of US laws & regulations when sharing properties for the state they are travelling to.
Please be aware that USIT do not have any college reps organising accommodation for J1 participants in the USA this summer. The accommodation options that we have in the USA are organised through our USIT branches or online through www.j1online.ie.
Also we would like to alert all parents/guardians/students that we are not affiliated with any 3rd party individuals who are arranging accommodation in the USA directly with students. Please beware of individuals with Hotmail/Gmail addresses and be extremely cautious when organising summer accommodation and do NOT hand over cash or bank details, or make a payment via Paypal or Western Union to anyone who is offering to secure you a bed for the summer as it may not be a genuine transaction. CIEE, as your U.S. sponsor, has a very specific policy on this issue, which will be communicated by them directly.
Any questions or concerns can be made by calling us on 01 602 1709, 01 602 1613 or firstname.lastname@example.org. if you have come across anything of concern, please let us know so we can help inform your fellow students.
Questions to Ask
- Will I be able to get to work easily from this area?
- Are there any costs not included in the rent? (ie: bills)
- What facilities are available?
- Is the accommodation furnished?
- How much will I need to pay in advance? (ie: a deposit or 1st month of rent)
Finding Accommodation in America
Though it's good to know what you're looking for and where you want to go before you leave Ireland, trying to rent an apartment over the phone can be difficult. American landlords may want to meet you in person before they agree to rent to you - and you may also want to see the place you'll be living in all summer before paying.
If you decide to wait until you get to the States to find a place, here are some tips to help you out:
- Book more hostel time than you think you need. You may get lucky and find a place on your second day, or it may take you a week or more to find accommodation that suits your needs. Hostel bookings can usually be cancelled 24 hours in advance with no penalty, and knowing you have somewhere to stay for more than two days will take the stress out of your search.
- Take care of yourself. Nothing stops an apartment hunt faster than a bad hangover or a case of the flu. Though you shouldn't be afraid to have fun (that's what J1 is for, after all), you can easily waste two or three weeks sitting around your hostel, waiting for your headache to go away.
- Check out smaller cities. The Manhattan skyline is visible from the shores of Hoboken New Jersey, and the two are connected by a 24/7 light-rail service. Most J1 hotspots are surrounded by commuter towns and smaller cities, all accessible by bus, subway or light rail systems. You can always head into the city on weekends, just like the locals do.
Some of our favorite sites
(These are a resource only - be sure to do lots of investigating before choosing a place to live.)
Find apartments (and even roommates) on and around college campuses.
Locate sublets and temporary housing throughout the nation. The classic accommodation-hunting site.
Apartments and rooms available to sublet directly from the owners.
- NYU Summer Housing
Universities around the US offer summer sublets and places to live to students. Check out campus websites in the area you'll be staying for more housing options.
Other sites to check
Once you've settled on a location, it's time to start accommodation hunting. Your employer may be able to offer advice on where to live or, in some cases, may provide accommodation for you as part of your wages.
The above tips provided by USIT are intended as a guide. USIT accepts no responsibility for any housing accepted by students through these resources.
Important information about Housing – Rules and Standards
If your US Sponsor deems, or if it is advised by the State Department, that a participant’s housing and/or work placement is unsafe or unsuitable, we may request the participant to relocate to new housing and/or a work placement without delay. Failure to cooperate may result in termination of a participant’s program and requiring the participant to return home immediately
Housing Quality Standards
At a minimum, participant housing should have:
- Clean and livable conditions when moving into the housing
- Adequate space for belongings
- Sufficient space for all residents so they do not feel over-crowded
- Working locks and general sense of safety
- Working smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors and an available fire extinguisher
- Fully functional kitchen (if applicable) and bathrooms
- Two ways to exit the housing in case of emergency
If housing is furnished:
- The bed should be raised off of the floor
- There should be furnishings appropriate to each room, in good working order
Participants should have access to the following standards for beds:
- One bed per individual
- No more than four beds per room, subject to management discretion
- The bed should be raised off the floor
- Air mattresses may not qualify as suitable beds
- Bedding does not need to be provided, as long as appropriate expectations are set in advance