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Which Type of Off-Campus Housing is Right for Me? Student Housing vs. Traditional Apartments near UF

By Mackenzie

As a college student myself, I know that finding a student apartment can feel overwhelming. With so many options, it can be hard to know which apartment is the best fit for my needs.

Read Next: 8 Steps to Finding the Perfect Student Apartment Near UF

At Sweetwater, our leasing team has helped hundreds of students sign leases, and understand that finding the perfect student apartment near UF can be a tiring process.

To help you understand your options, we’ve compared purpose-built student housing apartments and traditional apartments near UF to help you decide which is a better fit for you.

Student Housing Apartments vs. Traditional Apartments near UF


yoga room in Sweetwater

Sweetwater’s yoga studio has floor to ceiling windows which flood the space with natural light to elevate your zen experience.

Student housing apartments offer amenities that are tailored to the specific wants and needs of college students. These may include fully furnished rooms, study areas, pools, hot tubs, saunas, spas, basketball courts, golf simulators and more.

Traditional apartments vary when it comes to amenity offerings. While you will see some complexes offer a pool or gym, most only include the basics, such as a washer/dryer, WiFi, cable and trash. You’ll want to ask the specific complex about their amenity offerings since they tend to vary.

Read Next: What Types of Housing are Available for UF Students?

Lease Type

bedroom in sweetwater's model unit

Representative image of bedrooms at Sweetwater, featuring a full-sized bed, pillow-top mattress and under-bed/stackable dresser drawers.

Student housing apartments typically offer leases by the bed, also known as individual leasing.

An individual lease allows roommates to only take responsibility for their room (or bed), plus the use of communal spaces, rather than leasing out the whole apartment. Each student signs their own lease and pays rent separately to their landlord.

For example, if you live in a 4×4 (four bedrooms, four bathrooms) with three other roommates, each roommate will sign an individual lease for their bedroom and bathroom. A total of four individual leases are signed, and each roommate is held responsible for their payment only.

Read Next: 5 Benefits of Signing an Individual Lease at a Gainesville Apartment

On the contrary, traditional apartments typically offer leases by the apartment, also known as a traditional or joint lease.

The landlord will lease out the entire apartment with one lease contract rather than separate individual leases. This means the rent will be quoted for the entire apartment, instead of split equally between roommates. You will sign one joint lease along with your roommates and divvy up the rent accordingly

Therefore, each roommate is equally liable for the entire apartment, including rent, utilities and any damages. For this housing style, you and your roommates will come to an agreement together to pay rent and utilities each month.

Lease Term

model unit kitchen and sweetwater

Sweetwater’s meticulously crafted kitchens feature tile backsplash, stainless steel appliances and quartz countertops.

Leases offered by most student housing apartments align with the academic calendar. This means that the lease will likely begin in early-mid August and end on July 31st.

On the other hand, traditional lease terms vary. Landlords tend to prefer 12 month leases over a shorter term, but these leases can start at any point throughout the year.

Additional Features

Student housing apartments often offer their residents additional features that complement their lifestyle. These can include roommate matching, community events and more.

Though traditional apartment complexes offer different amenities depending on the property, most only include the basics and often lack many additional features. Since traditional apartments vary in amenity offerings and additional features, it is best to ask them which specific features they offer.


Sweetwater Lobby, boutique-style student apartments in Gainesville, FL

Sweetwater’s open floor plan lobby offers an inviting gathering space.

Near UF, rental rates can range from around $700 to $1900 per month, depending on a variety of factors.

Student housing apartments are typically newer and offer their residents a variety of benefits that complement their lifestyle, which can come at a slightly higher price tag. Therefore, purpose-built student housing apartments tend to fall on the mid-high end of the price range.

Alternatively, since traditional apartments have fewer amenity offerings and tend to be older, they typically fall on the low-mid end of the price range.

However, at both property types, your rental rate is calculated from a multitude of factors, especially depending on which apartment or unit you choose to live in. For detailed information on the cost of living near UF, we have put together an article detailing pricing in Gainesville: How Much Does it Cost to Live in Gainesville Near UF?

We hope this article helped you better understand whether student housing or traditional housing better suits your needs.

If you have any questions about Gainesville living or want to learn more about Sweetwater, contact our leasing staff, who are more than happy to answer any questions you may have during your student housing search.


Mackenzie is a Community Assistant at Sweetwater. She is sophomore at UF majoring in Pre Law. Her favorite Daydreamer drink is an iced white mocha.

December 06, 2022

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