When living on campus, some of the questions above are handled for you. The Office for Residential Life and Housing supplies rooms that are already equipped with furniture and utilities. The food you eat is prepared for you. If there is a problem with your room or another student neighbor, you simply contact your Resident Assistant. During your free time, you just go back to your room. If you are going to live off campus, in some cases these responsibilities will be your own, but we are here to help guide you through the process and you will be better prepared for your post-college future having gone through this process already.
Here are some useful documents:
Consider the following topics when evaluating if off-campus living is right for you.
If you are going to live on your own, then the type of rental unit is up to you and other influencers in your life; however, when considering roommates, this becomes a more involved group discussion. There are many options to consider: apartment complexes, apartments in private homes given that they are legal, rooms in private homes, full houses and more. While most students may think that living in a full house with fellow students is an appealing option, you should understand that this option comes with more responsibility.
Do you want a private bedroom or do you prefer to share a room to cut costs, build relationships, etc.? If you are going to share a property, how many people do you want to share with? What personto-bathroom ratio are you comfortable with? Evaluate all schedules and figure out what could work. Bathrooms and kitchens are the rooms in a household that are most susceptible to becoming a mess but also most important to keep clean. In most cases, more people means more mess.
If you will not be living on your own, then choose your roommates carefully. Eventually you may need to sign a legal document with these people, so make sure they can cover their portion of the rent. Discuss how the group will handle dividing the rent and utilities. There are several ways to divide the rent, such as to divide it evenly per person or cost per bedroom according to size (square footage). Other matters to discuss include: cleaning responsibilities, household trash removal, bathroom use, kitchen use, common household supplies, food, guest policy, pet policy, shared appliances and furniture, noise levels and when quiet hours should be. In general, it is most important to clean up after yourself and respect the shared/common areas. Use a Roommate Agreement to outline each tenant’s responsibilities to one another under the lease agreement and general household conduct. The Office of Residential Life and Housing can assist with roommate mediation if all students involved are willing to work together in reaching a solution.
Whether you are paying the bills yourself or getting assistance from family, friends, or others, evaluate what you can and cannot afford in order to set a budget for your search. One-bedroom apartments tend to be most expensive. Know that some areas may be more expensive than others in general. Don’t forget about utilities—understand that rentals usually do not include all utilities. You can ask property owners or managers what the estimated monthly cost would be or check with utility companies. You may also want to factor in the security deposit, transportation and grocery costs, and renters insurance.
Evaluate your needs and discover what areas might best meet your needs. Then research those areas and check out the neighborhoods of interest. Make sure the property is close to shops, grocery stores, restaurants, pharmacies and other retail services. If you are unfamiliar with your options, use your favorite mapping app to consider distance and commute times to addresses you frequently visit. If you do not rely on a car for transportation, then map out and see if public transportation is available or if walking or biking might be an option. To view the schedule for the Adelphi shuttle from major public transit locations, visit the Department of Public Safety and Transportation website. If you are going to have your private vehicle at your residence, be sure to understand where you can and cannot park in order to respect your community and to avoid tickets or getting towed.
Searching for home or apartment options can be difficult, so be sure to give yourself ample time. Resources for searching include online listing services, local newspapers, word of mouth, etc. Some landlords might only post property with a physical “For Rent” sign on the unit, so, if you are very interested in a particular area, it might be advisable to patrol that area for signs. When you see a property of interest for rent, prepare to contact the landlord or manager immediately. In your email or voice mail, include the necessary details such as your name, unit description, contact information, etc. Speak clearly if leaving a voicemail. You will never be the only person inquiring about a given property and availability can change daily so do not be discouraged when hearing a property is no longer available.
Adelphi University has partnered with Off Campus Partners, LLC, to provide you with its Off-Campus Housing Listing Service,* an independent online listing resource through which property owners or managers with units in close proximity to the University can advertise listings. Students can search, save and compare favorites, view their search history, find roommates, get tips for living off campus and more. You can find this listing service at offcampushousing.adelphi.edu.
*The listing of rental units on this site is a service to local rental property owners and Adelphi University students, faculty, and staff. Rental property owners are responsible for reporting information fairly and accurately, and Adelphi University and Off Campus Partners cannot guarantee the completeness or accuracy of such information. Inclusion of any property or rental unit on this website does not constitute, and shall not be construed or reported as (1) an endorsement or approval by Adelphi University or Off Campus Partners of the landlord, its properties, or its business practices, or (2) a warranty or representation by Adelphi University or Off Campus Partners as to the quality, safety or other features of such property and/or its owners or management agent(s). Adelphi University and Off Campus Partners expressly disclaim any and all responsibility for any problems that may arise with regard to such property or rental units or with regard to disputes between landlords and tenants concerning such property or rental units. All prospective tenants are encouraged to exercise their own good judgment when evaluating a prospective rental unit or landlord.
Photos online can be deceiving, so visit your favorite listings and see if property is a good fit. Your first visit should be during the day; be sure to be punctual, act professionally and dress appropriately. As a safety precaution, tell a friend where you are going, bring your cellphone, trust your instincts and have someone accompany you if possible. When you walk through the property, make sure to check the following;
Questions you should ask are;
If a visit goes well, follow up by going to the area at different times to see what the neighborhood is like at night and over the weekend. It is also wise to check crime statistics online. Don’t be afraid to ask to see the property again. Remember to know your budget and be prepared to move forward if you are confident about the property
Use the following list to determine the security of a prospective unit:
Most students will be unfamiliar with the terms of a lease. Both tenants and landlords have rights and responsibilities toward each other. A lease is a legally binding contract between a landlord and a tenant which contains the terms and conditions of the rental. It cannot be changed while it is in effect unless both parties agree in writing. Both parties need to agree (sign) to those terms prior to move-in. It is not wise to enter into any housing agreement without a lease. If possible, have a lawyer or another trustworthy qualified person review it before you sign. The following are some local agencies to further educate you on legal processes:
In most cases, apartment complexes require new tenants to apply for housing so they can judge a tenant’s financial reliability in making monthly payments on time. This includes the landlord or manager running a credit report. A credit report is a document that lists a person’s debts and history of borrowing and repayment. Because many students do not have any credit accounts (for example, credit cards, mortgages, loans), they do not yet have a credit history to report. For this reason, a landlord or manager may ask you to generate more information as to where your funds are coming from or ask for another party to cosign your lease on your behalf. For more information on credit reports and how to get your first credit report free, visit the Federal Trade Commission.
Be certain you want the place and that you can afford it.
Carefully check out the property again. Look for any signs of water damage or mold. Make sure everything works properly, including appliances, toilets, showers, sinks, doors, windows, smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, etc.
Be mindful of the security deposit. You are going to want to get this back after your lease has ended. A security deposit is a deposit of money to the landlord to ensure that rent will be paid and other responsibilities of the lease performed (e.g., paying for damage caused by the tenant). Take photos that include time stamps and mutually agree with the landlord as to the condition of the premises prior to move-in or you may consider doing a walk-through video with the landlord. You may utilize the Rental Condition Checklist, that both parties—landlord and tenant—are to sign. Everything needs to be documented so make sure the deposit is not made in cash.
Things to file moving forward are: your original copy of the lease, receipts for rent payments and security deposit, and receipts and contracts from utility companies (some companies enable you to view these online).
Also get in writing any repairs that will be completed on the dwelling before you move in. This should include you asking the landlord to change the locks.
Be careful when moving in your furniture and other items. Do not damage the walls, door jams, carpets, etc. This also applies when moving out.
Renters insurance covers your possessions against losses from vandalism, theft and other damages. It may cover temporary living expenses if your rental is damaged. Renters insurance also covers liability if someone is injured on your property. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners has information to help you choose an insurer in your state and learn more at Insurance Quotes for Renters Insurance. Also check consumer guides, insurance agents, insurance companies, online insurance quote services and consumer ratings. Shop around.
The Office of Residential Life and Housing strongly recommends that you purchase renters insurance.
Usually landlords are responsible to supply tenants with heat and hot water, while the tenant is responsible to source the other utilities. Be savvy and conserve—you do not want the bills to get out of control. Here are some links for common utility needs:
There are plenty of inexpensive retail stores nearby, such as Ikea, Walmart, Target, Bob’s Discount Furniture, Costco, Best Buy, and more, that offer what you need without breaking the bank. Shop around and look for deals. Purchasing secondhand furniture and appliances from private owners is popular today but it is important to look out for scams, your safety, bedbugs, etc.
Commuter Meal Plans are available for the time you spend on campus.
You are now living off campus and your neighbors will not all be college students. Make contact with your new neighbors and provide your information so they can contact you with concerns. Watch your noise levels! This is the biggest complaint and it is important to be mindful of this so neighbors do not contact the authorities. If you are going to have guests, keep in mind that you are responsible for them and their actions. Long-term guests will likely place you in violation of your lease; it is also not fair to any roommates you may have. They are paying to live with you, not you and your guest. Keep the property clean, including managing the trash removal and shoveling the snow. Be mindful that, although you are living off campus, you must still adhere to Adelphi University’s Code of Conduct.
You are now a commuter student and the University offers resources specifically for you. Visit Commuter Student Services or visit the Center for Student Involvement in the University Center, room 110 for more information.
Again, be sure the unit has functioning smoke detectors. Understand where fire alarm pull stations, fire extinguishers and exits are. Common fire hazards include improper use of extension cords, excessive items that may block paths, excessive combustibles, improper use of space heaters and going over capacity, so be sure to be mindful of those hazards. In case of a fire do the following: