Guide to Moving Off Campus

Off-Campus Housing Priorities Check-list

Questions to ask when finding a place to live.

Speak with Prospective Landlords

  • How much is the monthly rent? When and where will it be paid?
  • What type of deposit does the landlord ask for and how much is it? Is there one deposit or more than one?
  • Are utilities (heat, water, gas, electric, etc.) included within the rent?
  • Who is responsible for the maintenance and repairs of the property?
  • If you have any questions concerning pets, children, subletting, adding extra people to the lease, ask those questions.
  • Make sure that all responsibilities and expectations of both you and your landlord are discussed.


  • Make sure that your new home/apartment is not in violation of the municipality’s housing code. You can do this by contacting the municipality’s Code Inspector.
  • Look and ask to see a Certificate of Occupancy.
  • Check the parking availability at the location and make sure you understand the municipality’s parking regulations as well.
  • Go and visit with the current occupants of the house. Discuss any questions you have regarding the landlord and house in general. (This is the time to ask about possible pests in the dwelling, noise levels, water pressure, recycling, garbage, utility costs, etc.)

Finding a Place to Live

  • After you and your roommates have determined needs and have a price range, check with local realtors. Some local realtors are: Blauers & Associates, Lang Agency Gallery of Homes, Ludden Realty, Painter Realty, Southern Tier Realty, Robert Sweeney Agency, Inc.
  • Check housing listings
  • Check with friends.
  • Look at the bulletin boards throughout campus and within the municipality you hope to live in.

Moving In and Out

  • Before you move in, take a look around for damages while the landlord is present. Fill out an inspection sheet and, if possible, take pictures of any damage that you may see.
  • When you leave at the end of the lease period, inspect the apartment again with the landlord. Check any problems against the documentation to make sure you are treated fairly.
  • Throughout your residency, make sure to document when anything breaks; when you notified the landlord; and, when it was fixed.

Planning Your Move Off-Campus Financially

General Questions

  • Do you want to live within the Village of Alfred, or is commuting from nearby towns a possibility?
  • What size apartment do you need?
  • What appliances and features do you need?
  • Does the apartment need to be furnished?
  • What is the maximum rent that you can afford per month, or per semester?
  • Does this include utilities?
  • Will you share the place or plan to live alone?

Expense Worksheet

Expense Worksheet to calculate estimated costs vs your income
Rental Costs Utility Costs Supplementary Expenses Monetary Commitments
1st Month's Rent Phone Decorating Credit Card Payments
Rent Electricity Furniture Loan Payments
Security Deposit Gas (Oil) Heat Food Cary Payments
Pet Deposit Cable Laundry
Parking Trash Clothing
Total $_______ Total $_______ Total $_______ Total $_______
Total Income $_________
Total Estimate Expenses $_________


The lease is a contract between tenant and landlord, granting use or occupation of property during a specified period in exchange for a specific rent. The lease also acts as a binding agreement in the case that either party does not fulfill their duty laid out within the document.

Written Lease vs. Verbal Agreement

A written lease is one of the last steps in the process of getting your own apartment. This document tells you your rights and responsibilities, as well as the do’s and do not’s involved with renting that property. Read it over extensively, have family, friends, and advisors, just make sure that you understand and accept every piece of information that is contained within the agreement. Once you have signed the lease, you are legally bound to that residence and can be taken to court if you renege on your commitment.

On the other hand, there are verbal agreements which should be avoided at all cost. This agreement is very open and allows landlords to take advantage of you. Unless there is some sort of signed document, this verbal agreement allows the landlord leeway to rent to other tenants, change rent, etc. The university strongly recommends that all potential off-campus housing students stay away from these agreements.

Components of a Lease

Parties - This describes you as being the lessee and your landlord as the lessor.

Premises - Simply referring to the place which you wish to inhabit. Make sure that you are correctly listed in both the address and apartment number.

Term - This refers to the amount of time that you will be renting the apartment/house. Most of the rentals are on a two-semester plan, but some are 12 month rentals. If you do not plan on being in Alfred throughout the 12 months, it is probably better to look for a two-semester or 9-month rental or find a place that allows you to sublet.

Rent - This section of your lease should detail many things, including where, when and how to pay your rent. Also it should tell you whether you will be paying monthly or by semester. Stay away from leases that include escalator clauses. These allow the landlord to increase rent as he or she sees fit.

Security Deposit - This is an amount of money that you pay prior to moving in that goes against possible damages. If there is no damage done, then you are returned this money at the end of the year. Most deposits are comparable to a month’s rent. Make sure that you document or even take pictures of your property before renting, so you have proof if there is a dispute about returning the security deposit.

Use - Simply stating that you are renting the apartment as a residential premises, and not for commercial use.

Non-Assignment - This is about you personally renting out sections of your rental. It means that, without the landlord’s written consent or prior approval, you are not allowed to sublet.

Furnishings - This is about you personally renting out sections of your rental. It means that, without the landlord’s written consent or prior approval, you are not allowed to sublet.

Utilities - Included in your monthly rent should be water, sewage and maybe even garbage disposal. Some utilities including heat, cable, and phone service may be expenses you will have to bear. The key is to make sure you understand the amount of money that goes into utilities. Take time to do an expense worksheet and see how much money you can allot to this area each month. This is an area that you need to read very closely and understand what is included and what you personally have to handle.

Entry - The landlord is allowed to enter your building with prior notification in order to make repairs, look at the property, or show it to other potential tenants. If there is a situation that the landlord deems an emergency, he or she may also enter the establishment at that time.

Performance, Confession of Judgment - The important key to remember is that you always have control, unless you really mess up. If a landlord wants to evict you, he or she has to follow a set pattern in order to do so. It is your responsibility to file suit if you feel that something unfair is taking place.

Liability - It is always good to think about getting renters’ insurance, which basically removes any responsibility from the landlord if your property is stolen or damaged.

Rules and Regulations - This section is very important and can differ from lease to lease. It is most important to read over this section and have others do so as well.

Take your time and don't rush into a binding agreement that can come back to haunt you. Always read through leases and. if possible, have another trusted person do the same.

Utility Information

Take your time and don't rush into binding a binding agreement that can come back to haunt you. Always read through leases and, if possible, have another trusted person do the same.

Cable: Spectrum 800-955-0750
Electric & Gas: NYSEG Customer Service 800-572-1111
Telephone: Frontier Customer Service 800-921-8101
Garbage Service: Lippincott’s Rubbish Service 607-324-5409
LaForge Disposal Service 585-593-7122