Students at VCU usually decide to find off-campus housing after freshman year not only because it is hard to get on campus housing but because they can also decide who they want to live with. Students often decide to find a place to live with the friends they made freshman year. This can turn out good or bad. It can seem more expensive to live off campus with multiple bills to be paid, but usually it works out to be about the same as on-campus housing.
The apartment complexes around campus look dumpy from the outside and aren't much better on the inside. Most places for rent are houses surrounding campus that people have bought and split up into three or four apartments each. Bugs, mice, and noisy neighbors are the biggest complaints of students living off campus. The owners of off-campus apartments, usually called slumlords, tend to stay away from their properties and do as little work as possible knowing that they will rent out to a needy student anyway. The farther out from campus you go, the better the places you will find, but this may cause you to drive or bike into campus, which isn't always possible. Students need to really research their off-campus housing options before they move in. There are a lot of students looking for places, so the competition is high.