The Unofficial Guide to Off-Campus Housing
By: Alanna Dovidio
Student housing on Utica St. Photo By Alanna Dovidio
In a town filled with “room for rent” signs, most SUNY Brockport students find it difficult to navigate off-campus housing. Living off-campus comes with a whole new set of responsibilities such as bills, landlords and rent. But students find it stressful to begin the process of moving from their dorm rooms into a house or apartment.
SUNY Brockport junior Mackenzie Crandall lives in an off-campus house with four roommates, she was one of many students who struggled to find housing.
“We had to call three different landlords trying to find a house and it was difficult because there weren’t many houses for five people”, Crandall said. “Most houses had four or six rooms which wouldn’t work for us. My roommates and I ended up looking at two houses we didn’t really like and then found the perfect one. We had to sign our lease right away so that no one else would get the house,” Crandall said.
Landlords say leases are typically signed a year in advance. Since it can be hard to find the perfect home, they say it’s best to start early. So, if a student is looking to move in for fall 2022, they should sign their lease in the fall 2021 semester.
Most landlords advertise their rental properties on private Facebook groups. Like the “Brockport Off Campus Student Housing and Roommate Finder” group. With over 600 members this group is a commonly used place for landlords and students to connect. A local landlord Nikki DiTullio uses this group to advertise her available rentals.
“I post an ad on Facebook with general information such as pricing and then encourage students to message me privately so I can know who’s really interested. From there I set up a tour and they sign the lease. The process usually moves very quick.” DiTullio explained that two to three groups of people usually tour each apartment that she has available. So, it can be competitive as to who gets the apartment.
Students who live off campus shared their advice to those looking. They said, Since the process moves quickly, it is important to be prepared. Students should know their budgets and draw up a list of questions they have. It is smart to ask how much utilities average throughout the year and see what bills the landlord covers. You can even call utility companies to see the average price of bills within the past year. In addition, seeing what features the apartment has is important. Is there on-site laundry? Privacy locks on the doors? What parking is available?
Most student housing is priced per student and per semester. Another option is to look into apartment complexes such as the Brockport Crossings and Viking Apartments and Townhomes. Some of these options can be more cost effective than living in a house since rent prices are per unit rather than per student. Viking apartments offer one to three-bedroom floor plans with monthly rent anywhere from $515 to $995. With these options students can split the cost of monthly rent instead of each paying their own.
No matter where you choose to live, landlords say it is important to be prepared and informed.