Evaluating Off-Campus Housing

There are numerous concerns to keep in mind when evaluating housing. Is it close to a grocery store, pharmacy, or your place of worship? Look up the address on Google Maps to evaluate what necessities are nearby. If you don’t have a car you must consider the proximity of any potential apartment to the BC Transit or OCC Transport service routes.

Students are also encouraged to visit the Binghamton rate my landlord website to read reviews on landlords. The rate my landlord website can be accessed here.

You are well within your rights to inspect a property and ask the landlord questions before you sign a lease.

You can also call the City of Binghamton Code Enforcement office to inquire about a landlord or property you are considering. The Code Enforcement office ensures that landlords are meeting the codes that govern maintenance of property. The office can be reached at 607-777-7010 and more information can be found on their website here.

Below are some potential questions to ask a landlord when considering a property:

  • How many people can live in the apartment?
  • How much is the security deposit? Is it refundable?
  • Are utilities (electricity, water, heat) included?
  • What are the average monthly costs for utilities?
  • Is garbage included in the rent price? Will you supply the containers and recycling bins?
  • Is laundry included on site? Does it cost extra?
  • Are the appliances in good working condition?
  • Will the locks be changed when I move in?
  • Do you live in the area to help with maintenance issues or is there a separate maintenance person?
  • Do you maintain the upkeep of the house, mowing the lawn, raking leaves, and snow removal?
  • Does the apartment have a history of bed bugs?

When you are looking at an apartment, it is important to check for any deficiencies or issues with the property. If there is anything concerning or alarming, you are well within your rights to ask the potential landlord to make any repairs before signing the lease. Here is a non-exhaustive list of potential considerations:

  • Are there working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors on every floor?
  • Do all the windows and doors lock?
  • Is the apartment clean and seem well-maintained?
  • Are there signs of pests or rodents?
  • Is there adequate water pressure in the sink and showers?
  • Does it look like there are signs of leaking water?
  • Do all the lights, outlets, and appliances work properly?
  • Is the carpet or flooring in good condition?
  • Do you have control of your heat?

You can find more helpful tips in this video.

Last Updated: 6/15/16