Are you thinking about living off-campus? Here are some helpful tips.
We encourage you to use care when considering rental properties. We recommend only renting 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. While there are many websites advertising apartments, not all sites list only apartments that passed inspection. Therefore, it is important to be careful and do your research before signing a lease.
Note: UBRents.com is a private business. It has no connection to the University at Buffalo.
Because choosing a place to live is one of the most important decisions you will make when you come to Buffalo, it's a good idea to visit and inspect the apartment.
It's a good idea to find out as much as you can about the landlord BEFORE YOU SIGN THE LEASE. You can do so by contacting members of your International Student Club. You can also interview the landlord. If a landlord refuses to answer your questions, it might be a good idea to consider other options.
You might want to ask:
Do not pay cash and don't pay too much in advance. It’s best to pay your rent by personal check, as you will then have a record of having paid. And, while it is typical for a landlord to ask for first and last months' rent plus a security deposit, never pay more than that amount in advance.
This means that, if your roommate moves out, you will be expected to pay the full rent.
Since your landlord's insurance will not cover your personal belongings, you should consider purchasing renter’s insurance in case of theft, fire, loss or damage to your personal effects.
You will probably have to pay a security deposit when you move in and will not get it back if there is any damage to your apartment, so it's wise to take photos of any existing damage in your apartment when you move in. Most reputable landlords will ask you to fill out an “Apartment Inventory and Condition Report”. This is for their protection - and yours!
If you have a complaint, call your landlord, but it's a good idea to follow up with an email. If you have to go to Court, written evidence is the best kind, and the Court will accept such letters as evidence that the landlord was informed of the problem.
Your neighbors can be your most valuable resource! Introduce yourself to neighbors and develop a good relationship with them by keeping the noise down and keeping your property clean.
If you have a serious problem with your landlord or housing, you should know who to contact.
No hot water, inadequate heating, dangerous wiring, mold, insects, rodents are some examples. Unlivable conditions can be legal grounds to break a lease. If you live in bad conditions for too long, it becomes more difficult for you to argue that the apartment is unlivable, however.
The New York State Attorney General has information on Tenants' Rights here.