Office of Residence Life

Apartment Hunting

  • How do I search for off-campus housing around Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute?

    There are a number of rental units available in the University area. One of the best sources for advice and information about off-campus housing are your friends and classmates. If you know people who live off campus, ask them about where they live and about the pros and cons of living off campus. By asking around, you can find out if any of your friends or classmates are moving out of a great apartment that you can move into. Another good place to start your search may be the Rensselaer Union Off Campus Housing website. There are absolutely no guarantees about the quality and reliability of the information posted on the website, so it is very important to visit an apartment and meet the landlord before you agree to rent it! Apartment listings can be found in local newspapers as well as Craigslist and on Renters.com. The Apartment Hunting Checklist will also help you guide your search.

  • Can RPI tell me what apartments and landlords are good?

    RPI does not maintain any information about the quality (good or bad) of a certain apartment or landlord, and RPI cannot provide you with this type of information. But, there are other ways you can discover this information. When you find a place you like, don’t be shy about asking the current tenants if they have had a good experience living there. Current tenants are in the best position to give you information about potential problems you may encounter with an apartment or a landlord if you decide to move in. Students have also been known to post reviews of landlords on sites such as Reddit.

  • Can first-year and second-year students live off campus at RPI?

    No. All first- and second-year undergraduate students must live on campus. Only upper-class and graduate students may rent apartments off campus. Off-campus apartments are not managed by the University but by private property owners.

  • Is it cheaper to live off campus or on campus?

    The answer to this question depends on many variables. In addition to just dollar amounts, you need to think about the other differences between on- and off-campus housing that could make one a better option for you. For example, if you live off campus you may need to sign a 12-month lease. A handy budget planner is available to aid you in determining the cost of living off campus. In comparison, if you live on campus, your housing contract only applies to the academic year. Depending on your personal situation, one of these two options may be preferable. The cost to live on campus varies by which residence hall you choose to live in. Remember, these housing costs include ALL utilities, as well as local phone service, cable, and a high-speed Internet connection.

    The cost to live off campus also varies a great deal. Some factors that will affect the amount of rent you pay are:

    • How close you want to live to campus.
    • How many bedrooms are in the house or apartment.
    • How many people are sharing the cost.
    • Whether the unit is furnished or not.
    • Which utilities are included in your rent.
    • Whether or not parking is included.

    In addition to your rent, it is very important to consider the other costs that you will be responsible for as an off-campus renter: utilities such as heat, electricity, hot water (if not included), cable, internet connection, and phone service. Preparing a budgeting worksheet may help you decide what is best for you. We have a handy .pdf of a good starting worksheet for you available here.

  • Is there a limit to the number of roommates or housemates I can have?

    Yes. The City of Syracuse Property Code limits the number of unrelated individuals who can live in a house. In the area surrounding campus, generally no more than five unrelated individuals can live in a house. There are exceptions to this rule, so it may be useful to contact the City of Troy Code Enforcement Division to check on how many individuals can live in an apartment that you are considering renting. You can contact them at 518-270-4584 or Code Enforcement. Before you sign a lease, you can have it reviewed for free by Student Legal Services. Attorneys at Student Legal Services offer free advice and consultation on all legal problems and representation for certain legal problems. Consultation hours in the Student Union, Room 3511 are Mondays and Wednesdays: 3:30 – 4:30pm for walk ins, and 4:30 – 5:30 by appointment. Call 518-272-6565 for an appointment.

  • If I decide to live off-campus will it affect my financial aid?

    According to the Office of Financial Aid, your financial aid would not change just because you are living off-campus (unless you are living with your parents).Students living in off-campus are provided the same room and board allowances as a student living on-campus. A student who is living at home with his/her parent(s) has a lower allowance for room and board because it does not cost as much to live with parent(s) for housing and food. Because the overall cost of attendance is less, it may impact eligibility for need-based financial aid programs because expenses are less. Whether you live in off-campus housing or with your parent(s), any financial aid in excess of your bursar bill can be refunded to you to meet off campus expenses such as rent, food, etc.

Last modified: May 5, 2012