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Stony Brook University Stony Brook University Off Campus Living

FAQ Section

Who should I call for legal advice?

Touro Law, The Law Office of The Public Advocacy Center (PAC) - Now focused on assisting residents of Suffolk County, the law office has narrowed its scope of representation to Landlord/Tenant for undocumented and certain low-income clients, including poor landlords. In addition to providing direct legal services in Landlord/Tenant proceedings, the Law Office of the PAC has added a policy advocacy component, and is assisting select advocacy groups promote new proposed legislation, and assist develop implementation programs for recently passed legislation. Contact 631-761-7033 for more information.

The Graduate Student Organization (GSO) also holds a legal clinic every other week. Graduate students can schedule an appointment by emailing sbgrad.legalclinic@gmail.com or contacting the GSO office at 632-6492 during business hours.

How early should I start looking for a residence each semester?

We recommend beginning your search 3-4 months in advance, however, the Off Campus Housing website adds new listings daily. If you have specific questions about housing listings on the Off Campus Housing site, call (631) 632-6770 or visit the office in Union room 250.

Can my financial aid cover my off-campus housing? How?

Yes, your financial aid may be able to cover your off-campus housing costs. The amount of your tuition is automatically deducted from your aid/loans and the remainder is disbursed to you in the form of a refund check. This money is used at your discretion and it is your responsibility to allocate monies as you see fit.

Can first-year and second-year students live off campus at Stony Brook University?

Absolutely. On the New Student Preference Form a student is asked to identify whether or not they intend to live on campus. If a student decides to move off campus they will be considered a commuter student upon not submitting their housing deposit.    

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

The specifics of this depend on the township in which you are renting. Town codes address how many unrelated individuals can live together legally. It is important that you review this information prior to committing to a rental. To identify what township the residence is in and/or to access your town's webpage, click here

How can I find a roommate?

The Stony Brook Off Campus Housing website offers a free listing service to students looking for a roommate. You can search for fellow students seeking roommates and/or list your own information for other students to search. Off Campus Housing does not arrange the match for you, however, and it is advised that you use discretion in this process. First meetings with a prospective roommate should take place in a public location.

I work or study on campus late at night. Is there any transportation available to get me home after the bus service has ended?

If you are seeking transportation between two locations on campus, for example from the library to the parking that in which you are parked, you can call (631) 632-RIDE. This is a service provided by the University Police Department from dusk until dawn. For more information about off-campus transportation schedules, click here

Is there a service that will assist injured students with getting to and from campus?

Any services of this nature would require further discussion and documentation with the Office of Disability Support Services.  

Is it the responsibility of the landlord or the tenant to make repairs in the house or apartment?

"Landlords are required to maintain electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating and ventilating systems and appliances landlords install (such as refrigerators and stoves) in good and safe working order. All repairs must be made within a reasonable time period." (Attorney General: Tenants' Rights Guide, p.19) Information about how repairs will be handles should be addressed in your lease. To review the entire Attorney General: Tenants' Rights Guide, click here.   

Is there anything I can do to make sure I get my full security deposit back when I move out?

Landlords are not supposed to deduct for “normal wear and tear.”  Beyond that, any aspect of your rental property that is not the way it was when you moved in can cost you, unless you take care of it to the landlord’s satisfaction before you leave. It is very important that your lease addresses your landlord's expectations, to make sure you have a common understanding when the lease is over.

Should I get renters’ insurance?

While the University does not recommend any one insurance company to deal with, we HIGHLY RECOMMEND that students living off campus obtain renters insurance.  Renters insurance will cover a loss of property in case of fire, flood, theft, etc.  Contact any insurance company to obtain this valuable resource. 

How can I get involved in the community?

Community service is a great way to give back. To learn more about campus resources that can help you get involved in service projects, as well as ways to connect with your neighbors, click here

Quick Tips

Once you've decided to move off-campus, protect your interests and be a good neighbor. Here are some hot tips:

Location Matters

  • Visit potential neighborhoods a few times, at different times of day, before settling down.

  • Learn more about town codes and regulations by clicking here.

The Landlord/Tenant Relationship

  • Your relationship is about business, not friendship. Make sure that you fully communicate your expectations of your landlord, and maintain a professional relationship.
  • Get everything in writing, including assurance of when a problem will be fixed and keep copies of all correspondence.

READ (don't skim) The Lease

  • A lease is a binding legal document, and they are NOT all the same. Get good answers to any questions you have about the lease. If repairs are needed, have that written into the contract.

  • Never let anyone pressure you into signing with just a once-over.

You're In Charge Of Your Own Safety

  • Know the location of smoke alarms and fire extinguishers, and how to maintain them. Do not rent any apartment that is not equipped with smoke detectors. For more information on fire safety, click here.
  • Know who to call in an emergency. Click here for more information.
  • Lock doors and windows and leave an outside light on.
  • Do not travel alone, especially at night.
  • Never use a basement or an attic as a bedroom. They become traps in the event of fire.

Roommates Aren't Perfect

Before you sign a lease together, compare expectations. How will you split chores and bills? How will you furnish your space and how with those costs be divided? How much privacy do you want? A little communication up front will help you get along later. Remember that when you sign a lease together, you could be responsible for the whole bill if roommates flake out on their share.

Insurance Is Cheap

If your belongings are stolen or destroyed in a fire, your landlord isn't responsible for replacing them. Renters insurance could save you thousands.

Utilities

  • The cost of utilities is often overlooked.

  • Before you sign a lease, contact utility companies for past utility costs and setup fees and deposits.

  • If utilities are included in your rent, find out how much control you'll have over their use.

  • For a list of other items to consider in your budget, click here.

Look Before You Act

  • Visit the property and examine utility closets and appliances.

  • Make sure all fire safety equipment is provided (see Staying Safe)

  • Click here to see a full inventory checklist. Bring a printed copy of this item with you when visiting prospective properties.

You Have Rights

  • Landlords and/or their representatives cannot enter your apartment at will. In general, remember that while you're paying rent, the apartment is your private home first and the landlord's property second.
  • It is illegal for a landlord to rent a bedroom in a basement or an attic that is not equipped with a fire escape.
  • Click here for more information on tenant rights.

Be A Good Neighbor

  • Get to know your neighbors. They can be your most valuable resource.

  • Be responsible. Keep noise down and keep your property clean.

  • Click here to learn more about good neighborly behavior

  • Get involved with your local Chamber of Commerce. For more information, click here.

See www.stonybrook.edu/titleix for more information and/or to report an incident.