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You bet you can! In Gainesville it is pretty typical for renters to sign a lease for a place well before the semester starts. As a matter of fact it is encouraged that you begin looking for a place in January- February and you make a decision before the spring semester has ended. Lots of specials and discounts are available to renters, such as free scooters and cruises or lower rental rates. Theses specials are usually offered to the first few people who sign leases as there are typically limited quantities. If you know you will need a Gainesville apartment for a few years, ask about lease lengths greater than a year for additional discounts.