Long Island Off-Campus Housing Guide
Living off campus provides you with opportunities to learn how to live on your own and prepares you for your future post-college life. If you are going to live in off-campus housing, here are some resources to help you select, find, and secure housing that best meets your needs:
- Finding Housing
- Finding a Roommate
- Looking at Housing Options
- Once You’ve Found It: Next Steps
- Moving In
- You’re In, What’s Next?
New York Tech is providing this information as a resource to aid in your search for off-campus housing. New York Tech is not responsible for any outcomes as a result of using the information provided in this resource guide.
The first decision you need to make is the type of rental unit you want to live in. There are many options: apartment complexes, apartments in private homes (make sure they are legal), rooms in private homes, full houses, and more. While living in a house with fellow students is an exciting new experience, you’ll also have more responsibility.
You should have your unit preference, roommate situation, budget, and location sorted out before your search. Following graduation, many students will move and the number of vacancies will likely spike. This could be a great opportunity to secure a place for the year to come, especially if you plan to live and work near the university during the summer.
Resources include local newspapers, word of mouth, and online listings, such as:
- Apartments.com: Listings of local apartment and house rentals near the Long Island campus.
- Kangaroom: Helps you find roommates and rooms to rent near the Long Island campus.
- Rent Hop: Compares the price of one rental with the median price of others in the area. It uses a "HopScore'' to rate each rental based on certain criteria. If a rental has a high “HopScore,” it has current and accurate information, and the contact is responsive.
- The Mansion at Glen Cove: Located approximately seven miles from campus, offering rooms and amenities for New York Tech students. For information, please click here, email email@example.com or call 516.671.6400.
Some landlords might only post property with a physical “For Rent” sign on the unit, so if you are interested in an area, it might be advisable to check around for signs. When you see a property of interest, contact the landlord or manager immediately via email or voicemail, and include your name, unit description, and contact information. Speak clearly if leaving a voicemail. You will never be the only person inquiring, and availability can change daily, so do not be discouraged when hearing a property is no longer available.
Finding a Roommate
If you choose not to live on your own, select the people you will be living with carefully. Eventually, you may need to sign a lease with your selected roommates, so make sure they can cover their share of the rent. Have a discussion about how the group will handle dividing rent and utilities, either splitting it evenly or paying per the size of the bedroom (square footage). Other matters include housekeeping responsibilities. Trulia.com wrote an article about How to Fairly Divide up Housework With a Roommate that provides some good ideas on coming up with a schedule that works for everyone. In general, it is important to clean up after yourself and respect the shared/common areas. Always refer back to your Roommate Agreement.
If you would like to reduce your budget, a shared rental may work for you. This is a living situation where you rent an individual bedroom and then share common areas with others you may have never met before which may be very similar to a suite in a dorm.
- Check out your class page on Facebook to see if people are looking for roommates. (See Class of 2020 as an example.)
- Roomiapp.com: This service pairs roommates for free. You have the option to search for a room, a roommate to look at apartments with, or a roommate to take an open bedroom in your apartment. You'll complete a questionnaire and the Roomiapp lets you know of mutual matches.
- Spareroom.com: You can view rooms in all five boroughs, Long Island, and New Jersey for free. All ads are monitored by staff who check for scams. If you want to meet prospective roommates offline, Spare Room hosts weekly Speed Roommating events in locations in New York City. Attendees get a sticker that says "I have a room" or "I need a room." You mingle until you find someone you think you can live with.
- Roomster.com: Roomster is one of the largest social networks for roommates. You create a profile and filter through other profiles to find a potential match. Roomster features a Social Connect feature that allows verified users to contact each other via phone, email, or social media. You can view ads for free, but you can’t respond to messages in your inbox or access contact information unless you upgrade.
Looking at Housing Options
Pick Your Preferences: Private bedroom or share a room? If you are going to share a room or apartment, do you have a limit of people you are willing to share with? What person-to-bathroom ratio are you comfortable with? Look at your class/work/home schedules and figure out what could work. Bathrooms and kitchens are the rooms in a household that are most susceptible to becoming a mess but also most important to keep clean. In most cases, more people means more mess.
Set a Budget, Stick to It: Whether you are personally paying the bills or getting assistance from others, determine what you can and cannot afford. One-bedroom apartments in most cases are the most expensive. Don’t forget about utilities, most rentals usually do not include all utilities. You can ask property owners or managers what the estimated monthly cost is or check with utility companies. Don't forget to budget for things such as the security deposit, transportation, grocery costs, and renters insurance.
Location, Transportation to Campus: Determine what areas best meet your needs, then research and check out neighborhoods that interest you. Make sure you will be close to grocery stores, restaurants, pharmacies, and other retail services. You can use your favorite mapping app to consider distance and commute times to campus. If you do not rely on a car for transportation, see if public transportation is available, or if walking or biking might be an option.
- Long Island Campus Transportation
- Parking on Campus
- Public Bus Schedule (NICE N20h Bus to the Long Island campus)
- Long Island Railroad Schedule (to Greenvale, Manhasset, Hicksville, Westbury stations, which are close to the Long Island campus but not within walking distance)
Be Sure It’s Secure: Use the following list to determine the security of a prospective unit. Apartmentsearch.com offers tips on determining both the safety of a particular area and of your selected housing unit.
Take a Tour: Photos online can be more appealing than what the rental actually looks like, so always visit your favorite listings and see if it is a good fit. Your first visit should be during the day; be sure to be punctual, professional, and dress appropriately. As a safety precaution always let someone know where you are going, bring your cell phone, activate find my friend on your phone if you have the feature, trust your instincts, and have someone accompany you if possible. When you walk through the property, make sure to check:
- Safety features: doors visible from the road, deadbolts, locks work, well lit at night, grounds maintained, smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors and fire extinguishers.
- Appliances are in good working condition.
- Plumbing in kitchens, bathrooms, laundry areas, etc. (check water pressure or any pipe leakage).
- Make sure your belongings will fit through doorways, stairways, and in the rooms. Check storage space.
Apartments.com offers a list of 20 questions every renter should ask.
Visit More Than Once: If a visit goes well, follow up by going to the area at different times to see what the neighborhood is like at night and over the weekend. Contact the local police department and ask about the crime statistics. Talk to friends or classmates who have rented from this landlord. Does the landlord maintain a good relationship with their tenants? Are their properties in good condition? Are they responsive to repairs? Since you will need to deal with the landlord a lot, it is important to find out basic information about them, including whether they're a private owner or a private management company. This takes time, but is well worth it.
Beware of Rental Scams: Beware of rental scams, especially if you are a first time renter. Be wary of rental properties that ask you to fill out an application and pay a deposit before you see the actual unit. Criminals may try to steal funds through fraudulently collected security deposits and rent, or they may try to steal your identity with information gathered from fake applications. The Federal Trade Commission provides consumers with information about rental listing scams, and Apartments.com offers examples of common scams.
Once You’ve Found It: Next Steps
Application Process: Some landlords require tenants to apply for the space they are looking to rent. This may include:
- Credit report: For information and how to get your first credit report free, visit the Federal Trade Commission. If you do not have any credit accounts (credit cards, mortgages, loans, etc.), you will not have a credit history to report and additional proof of income will be needed.
- Proof of income/support: A landlord or manager may ask you to provide information where your funds are coming from or ask for another party to co-sign your lease on your behalf (guarantor). If you do not have any friends or family that can act as your guarantor, then you can pay a company such as Insurent or The Guarantors to do so.
- Reference letter: from your previous landlord(s) or property manager(s). If you lived in the residence halls prior to seeking off-campus housing, you could request a reference letter from the Office of Residence Life.
Lease: A lease is a legally binding contract between a landlord and a tenant, and it contains all terms and conditions of the rental. The lease cannot be changed while it is in effect unless both parties agree in writing. Both parties need to sign or initial those terms prior to move-in. We do not recommend entering into any housing agreement without a lease. All issues with the property should be addressed before the lease is signed. If possible, have a lawyer or another set of experienced eyes review your lease before you sign.
These local agencies can provide information on legal processes:
- The New York State Attorney General - Tenants’ Rights Guide
- Metropolitan Council on Housing - Statutory Rights of Residential Tenants in New York
- New York Rental Lease Agreement Forms and Templates
- New York City Housing Preservation & Development
- New York City Rent Guidelines Board
- Town of Hempstead
- Town of North Hempstead
- Town of Oyster Bay
- City of Glen Cove
- City of Long Beach
- New York City Department of Buildings
Before You Sign Your Lease: Apartment Guide has The Ultimate Moving Checklist and Printable Reminders to aid in your move-in. You may want to use a Rental Condition Checklist. Everything needs to be documented, so make sure if the deposit is made in cash that you get a receipt that is dated and signed by your property owner/manager. Also, get in writing any repairs, including changing the locks, that will be completed before you move in.
Things to Keep on File: your original copy of the lease, receipts for rent payments and security deposit, and receipts and contracts from utility companies.
When you find the perfect apartment, your next task is to pack up your belongings and get them moved to your new address. You’ll also need to make sure your utilities are set up, consider renters insurance, and purchase new items for your home.
Hiring a Mover: Moving.com offers important Tips for Hiring a Mover
Renters Insurance: The Office of Residence Life strongly recommends that you purchase renters insurance. Renters insurance covers your possessions against losses from unforeseen damages which could include vandalism and theft. It comes in handy if your rental is damaged. Renters insurance also covers liability if someone is injured on the property. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners has information to help you choose an insurer in your state. You can learn more at Insurance Quotes for Renters Insurance. Remember to always shop around.
Utilities: Heat and hot water usually are covered by your landlord, while the tenant is responsible for the other utilities. Be sure to only budget what you can afford; you do not want the bills to get out of control. Here are some links for common utility needs:
Electric and Gas:
Internet, TV, and Phone Providers:
New Furniture and Appliances: There are plenty of inexpensive retail stores nearby such as Ikea, Walmart, Target, Bob’s Discount Furniture, Costco, Best Buy, and more, that offer what you need economically. Shop around and look for deals. Purchasing gently used furniture and appliances can be a good option, but buyer beware!
You’re In, What's Next?
Meal Plans: Commuter Meal Plans are available for the time you spend on campus.
Respect Your Neighbors: Living off-campus will be a different experience from living in a dorm and your neighbors will not all be college students. Make an effort to get to know your new neighbors and provide your information so they can contact you with concerns. Be mindful of your noise levels! Unlike in a residence hall, when you have a noise complaint the Resident Assistant will come to remind you of quiet hours, your neighbors may contact the authorities. If you are going to have guests, remember you are responsible for them and their actions. Check your lease as it pertains to long-term guests as it will likely place you in violation of your lease; it is also not fair to any roommates you may have. Keep the property clean, including managing the trash removal and shoveling the snow. Be mindful that, although you are living off-campus, you must still adhere to New York Tech’s Student Code of Conduct.
There are some organizations that can assist you off-campus with any conflicts. The Long Island Dispute Resolution Centers (LIDRC) provides conflict resolution interventions that help individuals, families, businesses, and the community at large to resolve a wide range of disputes including neighbor disputes. Your local police precinct can also be a good resource.
- Call 911 for emergencies, when appropriate.
- Know which police precinct you are in and call it to report unusual behavior.
- Remember to always lock your house doors and windows, cars, etc.
- Be aware of your surroundings at all times.
- Always identify visitors through the use of a peephole and never open the door for strangers.
- Do not leave valuables in your vehicles (e.g., money or a GPS system).
- Insist on ample lighting surrounding your home or building.
- Ensure that there are proper padlocks and deadbolts on your doors.
- Make sure smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, and fire extinguishers are installed throughout your home or apartment building.
- Understand where fire alarm pull stations, fire extinguishers, and exits are located.
- 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.
- Take all fire alarms seriously. If there is a fire, follow these steps provided by the Amercan Red Cross.
Secure the Premises During Recess: As always, we want to help ensure that your home and belongings will be safe in your absence. Below is a list of safety precautions to ensure your home will remain safe within your community while no one will be living there for an extended period of time, such as scheduled school recess breaks.
- Lock all the windows and doors.
- Remove hidden keys you may have outside.
- Place a wood or metal rod in the track of sliding doors to prevent forced opening.
- Remove any valuable items that may be visible from the outside.
- Activate your home alarm system, if you have one.
- DO NOT announce your travel plans in public or on social media.
- Avoid packing your car the night before you leave. You don’t want any of your belongings to be stolen or to alert others that you will be gone.
- Remove all valuables, including GPS and E-Z Pass if you will be leaving your car behind.