Living Off-Campus

Although we believe that on-campus housing offers the best experience at the greatest value, we know that there are reasons you may choose to live off-campus. When considering off-campus housing, the steps below can help you make the right decisions.

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Planning to Live Off Campus

Step 1. Consider All of Your Costs

Rent is just one cost when you live off-campus. Don’t forget about your utilities — especially heat. Ask your landlord if utilities are included in your rent, and if so, how much control you have over their use. If utilities are not included, ask to see past bills, or contact the utility companies directly.

Talk with your roommates about how you will be splitting utilities and other costs. Not everybody may want the same internet service, for example.

Potential Added Expenses

  • Utilities (gas, electric, oil, water)
  • Laundry
  • Telephone
  • Cable or satellite TV
  • Internet
  • Furniture (don’t just take mattresses and furniture you find on the curb, as they may be infested with bugs)
  • Appliances
  • Household goods (pots and pans, light bulbs, etc.)
  • Sewer service
  • Garbage pick-up
  • Renters insurance

Your Up-Front Costs

Before you move in, many landlords require the first month’s rent, a security deposit (often equal to one month’s rent), plus the last month’s rent. You may also have installation fees for cable or satellite service, internet, telephone service, heat and electricity.

Protect Your Security Deposit

Before you move in, your landlord will probably ask for a security deposit. Landlords may use this money to pay for any damage to the apartment, cover unpaid rent and take care of clean-up costs after you move out.


If you want to get your security deposit back when you move out, it’s important to document any damage when you move in.

  • Take pictures or video of everything (including the inside of appliances, ceilings, walls, floors, and hallways), so you can prove what condition it was in when you moved in. Complete a detailed list of any damage. Be specific — even the cost of relatively small things such as nail holes in the walls, burns in the carpet and cracks in the windows could be deducted from your security deposit if you can’t prove they were there before you moved in.
  • Once you have a list of all the damage, write the date on this list, and then either review it in person with your landlord, or send it to them (you can mail it “return receipt” to prove it was received). Make sure you keep a copy.
  • After you move out, designate a member of your house or apartment to keep this information, and follow up with the landlord if they do not return your security deposit (or offer an explanation) within a reasonable time period. Sometimes tenants aren’t even aware that a landlord is withholding the security deposit until everyone has left town.

Do Not Pay with Cash

Use a check or money order to pay your share of the rent or utilities, even if your roommates are close friends of yours. If there is ever a question or dispute, it may be difficult to prove that you paid someone in cash.

Step 2. Choose Your Roommates

Having a mutual agreement about the “rules” for your room or apartment can help you handle many common issues. Even if your roommate is your best friend, you will want to discuss how life as roommates will work.

How to Write a Roommate Agreement

For each of the areas, talk with your roommate, agree upon a procedure and write it down.

  • What kind of communication you will have
  • Quiet time
  • Guests
  • Guest hours
  • Room or apartment cleanliness
  • Borrowing (food, clothing, etc.)
  • Stereo, radio and TV use
  • Personal habits (including drinking and smoking)
  • Other specific topics
  • For those in apartments: doing dishes, purchasing household items such as toilet paper and cleaning supplies, and shared food items (is everything in the refrigerator fair game, or should all food items be marked?)

Agree on Subletting During the Summer

Most leases are 12-month contracts, but many students tend to leave for the summer. Make sure all roommates know who will be responsible for paying the rent. If someone wants to sublet the apartment for the summer, make sure everyone (including the landlord) is comfortable with this arrangement. If a roommate or anyone else on the lease does not follow through on their financial or legal obligations, you may still be held responsible.

Sign a Roommate Contract

We strongly urge you to sign a roommate contract with all roommates, even if you are friends prior to living together. A Roommate Contract lets you be very clear on expectations from the very beginning, which often helps you avoid conflicts later.

Choosing Your Apartment

Step 3. Find an Off-Campus Apartment

Below is a list of local properties that you may want to consider for their proximity to our campuses. These are not University at Buffalo owned or managed properties. The list is for informational purposes only and the university does not endorse or assume any associated responsibilities.



Highland Park
189-199 Holden St, Buffalo, NY 14214
(844) 236-5400

Lofts at University Heights
91 Lisbon Ave, Buffalo, NY 14214
(716) 322-6599


Creekview Court
2402 N Forest Rd, Getzville, NY 14068
(844) 556-0670

Deer Lakes Apartments
3416 Deer Lakes Dr, Amherst, NY 14228
(917) 900-3106

Liberty Square Apartments
4363 Chestnut Ridge Rd, Amherst, NY 14228
(716) 342-3810

London Towne Apartments
4453 Chestnut Ridge Rd, Amherst, NY 14228
(716) 342-3639

Muir Lake Apartments
2395 N Forest Rd, Getzville, NY 14068
(716) 245-6145

Strathmore Apartments
4501 Chestnut Ridge Rd, Amherst, NY 14228
(716) 346-8689

We encourage you to use care when considering rental properties.  It is recommend to only rent properties that have passed a safety inspection by a New York State certified inspector within the last three years, or a property in which the owner lives on site. Many off-campus apartments — especially around South Campus — do not meet these minimum standards. Please use caution if you are searching on your own.

Step 4. Inspect an Off-Campus Apartment

Call the landlord and set up a time to see the property. Ask as many questions as necessary. If the landlord refuses to answer your questions or is evasive, you may want to look for a different apartment.

If a landlord agrees to make improvements, make sure you get it in writing, along with a specific timeline for completion. Visit the apartment at different times of the day and evening, to make sure it is well-lit and safe. If you are renting from out of town, schedule an appointment to see it when you arrive in Buffalo.

Signing a lease without seeing the property yourself is not recommended. You are encouraged to visit any property you are considering renting. If you need a place to stay in Buffalo while you visit properties, you can find accommodations at

Remember, you may be friendly with your landlord, but that doesn’t mean your landlord is your friend. Research their reputation before you sign your lease.

Questions to Ask Your Potential Landlord

Appliances and Furnishings

  • Are appliances included and in good repair (stove, refrigerator, microwave, dishwasher)?
  • Is the unit furnished?
  • Is there laundry on-site? Is it coin-operated?
  • Where are the circuit breakers or fuse box?
  • Are heating and cooling systems and hot water heater in good condition?


  • Are utilities covered in rent? Which utility companies do you use?
  • What are average monthly costs for utilities? (Ask for copies of the bills from the previous tenants or contact the utility companies yourself.)


  • If there is not off-street parking, is there on-street parking and does it alternate?
  • Is there a street parking ban during winter months?


  • Will you supply garbage containers and recycling bins? Where are they stored?
  • When is garbage collected?
  • Who is going to cut the grass, shovel the snow and take out the trash? Will your landlord take care of this or will it be your responsibility?
  • Do you live nearby? Can you quickly respond to emergencies?


  • Are pets allowed? Is there an additional security deposit required?


  • Can I have a copy of the certificate of occupancy? Look for one that is less than three years old. (A certificate of occupancy demonstrates that the apartment has been inspected by a certified inspector in the last three years.)

Move-In Date

  • If you sign a lease in April for an apartment August 1st, how will you be certain the apartment will be ready to move into on time? How will the landlord be held accountable for any repairs needed prior to your moving in?
Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors

New York State law requires a smoke detector in each bedroom, and a carbon monoxide detector on every floor where there are sleeping areas.

Illegal basement and attic bedrooms

It is against the law for a landlord to rent a bedroom in a basement or an attic, unless it is equipped with a fire escape. If you are sleeping in one of these places, ask your landlord to have a fire escape installed. Ladders, including the type dropped from a window, are not acceptable fire escapes from a third floor attic. 

Step 5. Read Your Lease Carefully Before You Sign

A lease is a binding legal document, and not all leases are the same. Make sure you read every word of your lease — don’t just skim it.

  • If you have questions about your lease, make sure they’re answered
  • Never let anyone pressure you into signing a lease
  • Never sign a lease without physically inspecting the apartment
List Damage and Repairs Needed as Part of Your Lease

Walk through the property with the landlord and inspect it carefully before you sign the lease. You should document, videotape or photograph any damage throughout the apartment. Make a list that outlines all of the repairs needed, no matter how small, and have these written into the contract along with a specific timeline for completion.

In Your New Home

Step 6. Get Renters Insurance

If your belongings are stolen or destroyed in a fire, your landlord isn’t responsible for replacing them. If a guest falls in your apartment, or your dog bites someone, you could be responsible for someone else’s medical bills. In these cases — and many others — renters insurance could save you thousands of dollars.

Renters insurance is for anyone who rents a home, house or apartment. Even though you may not own the place where you live, you still need insurance to protect your belongings, and to protect yourself from legal problems. While your landlord or condo association might have insurance, it only protects the building, not your belongings.

To get renters insurance, talk to insurance agents, who can provide quotes and sell you a policy. Make sure you ask about:

  • Coverage for personal property against theft, fire and wind damage
  • Personal liability for accidents
  • Damage to other people's property that is in your care
  • Living expenses, if you're forced to leave your home during disasters or repairs

Step 7. Be a Good Neighbor

It's important to be a responsible member of the community. Remember — not all of your neighbors may be college students. Be considerate, especially with:

  • Not playing loud music
  • Keeping noise at a reasonable level
  • Not smoking outside, especially near someone else's windows
  • Cleaning up your yard

Know Where You Can Park

If you own a car, make sure you know the parking rules in your neighborhood, including restrictions on parking in the street during the winter. Check with your local municipality for details.

Step 8. Be Safe and Enjoy Life Off Campus

Once you're in your new home, remember that you're still part of the UB community – be safe, eat well, get around and have fun.

Step 9: Connect With Your Local Community

Make Buffalo your home.  Help keep your neighborhood safe, connect with your community and show your UB pride. These are just a few of the benefits of joining your local block club and getting involved in your new neighborhood.

Life or Death Safety Information About Fires and Carbon Monoxide

Especially if you’re living in an off-campus apartment, being aware of fire safety — and knowing how to protect yourself from carbon monoxide poisoning — may save your life.

View life-saving tips

Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors

New York State law requires a smoke detector in each bedroom, and a carbon monoxide detector on every floor where there are sleeping areas.

What can you do to be safer in your home?

  • Check the batteries in your smoke detectors at the start of each semester; most student fire fatalities occur in off-campus student housing
  • Know where your fire extinguishers are
  • Be careful with cigarettes and candles
  • Don’t overload electrical outlets
  • Know that space heaters are not an appropriate replacement for a furnace or boiler
Illegal basement and attic bedrooms

It is against the law for a landlord to rent a bedroom in a basement or an attic, unless it is equipped with a fire escape. If you are sleeping in one of these places, ask your landlord to have a fire escape installed. Ladders, including the type dropped from a window, are not acceptable fire escapes from a third floor attic.