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.
Consider the following topics when evaluating if off-campus living is right for you.
If you are going to live on your own, then this question is for you and other influencers in your life but if you are considering roommates this becomes a more involved group discussion. There are many options to consider: apartment complexes, apartments in private homes (given they are legal), rooms in private homes and full houses. Most students may think that living in a full house with fellow students is an appealing option but you need to 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 relationship, etc.? If you are going to share a property, how many do you want to share with? What person to 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 become a mess and 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 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 to have quiet hours. 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 each other under the lease agreement and general household conduct. The Office of Off-Campus Living 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, etc., evaluate what you can and cannot afford in order to set your budget so you can search accordingly. One bedroom apartments tend to be most expensive. Know that some areas may be more expensive than others. 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 the security deposit, transportation costs, grocery costs and renters insurance.
Evaluate your needs and discover what areas might accommodate your needs best, 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 time 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 may be an option. To view the schedule for the Adelphi shuttle from major public transit locations visit the Public Safety and Transportation website. If you are going to have your private vehicle at your residence then you’ll need to understand where you can and cannot park to avoid tickets, getting towed and to respect your community.
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 a property with a physical “For Rent” sign so, if you are very interested in a particular area, it may be good to patrol that area for signs. When you see a property of interest for rent, prepare to contact the landlord or manager immediately. Include the necessary details in your email or voicemail such as your name, unit description, contact information. Speak clearly if leaving a voicemail. You will never be the only person inquiring about a given property and availability can change every day so do not be discouraged when hearing a property is no longer available.
Adelphi University has partnered with Off Campus Partners LLC to give you the Off-Campus Housing Service*. It is an independent online listing resource in which property owners or managers, with units in close proximity to the university, can advertise listings. Students can search, save and compare favorites, view search history, find roommates, get tips for living off campus and much more.
*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. For safety, tell a friend where you are going, bring your cell phone, 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 then go 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 the 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 determine the security of a prospective unit.
Most students might be unfamiliar with the terms of a lease. Both tenants and landlords have rights and responsibilities to 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 before signing. Below are some helpful links from 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 (e.g., credit cards, mortgages, loans), they do not yet have a credit history to report so 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 out for any signs of water damage and mold. Make sure everything works properly such as 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 cash.
Things to file moving forward are your original copy of lease, receipts for rent payments, security deposit, receipts and contracts from utility companies (some companies enable you to view 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 in 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 check out consumer ratings. Shop around.
The Office of Off-Campus living strongly recommends purchasing renters insurance.
Usually landlords are responsible to supply tenants with heat and hot water but the other utilities are usually the responsible of the tenant to source. 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 that offer what you need without breaking the bank such as Ikea, Walmart, Target, Bob’s Discount Furniture, Costco, Best Buy, and more. Shop around and look for deals. Purchasing secondhand furniture and appliances from private owners is popular today but important to look out for scams, your safety, bed bugs, etc.
If driving to campus, you must go through Vehicle Registration at the Department of Public Safety and Transportation.
Commuter Meal Plans are available for the time you spend on campus.
You are now living off campus and now all your neighbors are not college students. Make contact with your new neighbors and provide info so they can contact you with concerns. Watch your noise levels! This is biggest complaint and 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, 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. Please be mindful that, although you are living off-campus, you still must adhere to Adelphi University’s Code of Conduct.
You are now a commuter student and the university offers resources specifically to you. Please visit Commuter Student Services 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: