This is the ONLY official University website dedicated to information related to living off campus.
Spanish: Esta es la ÚNICA página web oficial de la Universidad dedicado a la información relacionada a vivir fuera del campus.
Russian: Это ТОЛЬКО официальный сайт университета , посвященный информации , относящейся к жизни за пределами университетского городка.
Hindi: यह केवल सरकारी विश्वविद्यालय परिसर से दूर रहने वाले से संबंधित जानकारी के लिए समर्पित वेबसाइट है।
Deciding where to live when you are beginning at a new University is a BIG decision, and can have a strong impact on your college experience.
We strongly recommend that international students live on-campus, if possible because acclimating to a new environment can be challenging when you are also getting comfortable at a new school.
Staying on campus gives you the opportunity to spend time focusing on your classes and on meeting other new students, rather than worrying about how you'll get to class each day, and whether or not your rental property is safe and legal.
However, if you decide you would prefer to experience community living in an off-campus neighborhood, we have several tips to help you begin your search.
PLEASE BE ADVISED: THIS IS THE ONLY OFFICIAL OFF-CAMPUS LIVING WEBSITE
*ANY other off-campus living/housing listing site offering services to Stony Brook students has no affiliation with the University. You may even find websites that offer assistance in your native language that misrepresent rental properties and falsify pictures and records.
*You should not assume that just because a landlord, website, or agent speaks your native language, or are originally from your home country, that they have your best interests in mind. This, alone, should not be your basis of trust; rather you should build a rapport with a prospective landlord, review the property, advocate for your needs and concerns, and arrive at lease terms that are legal, reasonable and comfortable for both you and the landlord.
RED FLAGS: THINGS YOU SHOULD NOT SEE IN A RENTAL PROPERTY
*Risks of Looking From Afar: What you see is not always what you get. We strongly suggest viewing the rental before signing the lease. If you are out of the country please request updated pictures and a live video tour. You should not be sending money or signing a lease long distance without someone you trust viewing the property and a lawyer approving the lease.
*Overcapacity: More than 3 non-related people living in a rental home is not legal in the local area. Furthermore, accommodating more people than individual, permitted, bedrooms is unsafe.
*Being Asked to Pay Several Months in Advance: It is fairly standard to be asked to provide one (or two, at most) month's rent plus the security deposit (typically equaling one month's rent). If you are asked to provide additional months in advance you should consider if that arrangement is in your best interests.
*Security Cameras: Cameras inside the house are NEVER acceptable. If you see one you should not rent this property. It is illegal to monitor tenants this way!
*Non-permitted Spaces used as Bedrooms: Turning a living room, garage or basement into another bedroom is illegal unless properly permitted by the town.
*False Advertisement: Flyers or ads for housing in your home country or native language may seem safe but the homes can be illegal, unsafe, and occupied by too many students.
*Electrical Wiring: Make sure to look at the electrical system in the home to check for faulty or unsafe wiring. If something does not look right, it probably isn't!
*Fire Hazards: Blocked exits, lack of smoke detectors. Check our website for Fire Safety Tips.
LEGAL VS. ILLEGAL RENTALS
*Legal rentals are properties that have been inspected and deemed up to town safety code. You can request to see the permit provided to the landlord from the town.
*No more than 3 unrelated people are legally permitted to be living in a home, per town code.
*There should be a shared lease for the house (ie. you should know your housemates before moving in). Renting individual rooms is NOT legal. When you are renting a home with other people you should have access to the entire home. There shouldn't be keys for the outside of each bedroom knob, as this is a clear sign that the landlord is renting out individual bedrooms.