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Note: Occupancy Law

City Ordinance

In the City of Syracuse, no more that 5 unrelated people can occupy a rental unit.

Transfer Students


Welcome Transfer Students

On behalf of the Office of Off Campus and Commuter Services (OCCS), we would like to welcome you to Syracuse University.   You are starting on an exciting new journey and we are here to help you every step of the way. Along with welcoming you to the University, we would also like to welcome you to the Syracuse Community.  There are over 9000 undergraduate and graduate students living off campus in the Syracuse and greater Syracuse Community.   Our job here at OCCS is to educate students about how to find housing off campus, learn to live responsibly in their neighborhood and teach students how to become active and responsible members of their community.   We are here to help in any way we can so please feel free to call or if you are in the area stop by our office.   Good luck and Go Orange!

Determine Your Needs

Before you begin your housing search, it is important to determine your needs and what you can afford; if you plan to live iwth others, you should have this conversation prior to beginning your search.

  • How close to campus, the nearest bus stop, and other conveniences do you want to be?
  • What size unit are you looking for?
  • How much can you afford for rent, utilities, and food? Upfront costs (first month rent, last month rent, security deposit)
  • Do you need parking?  How much extra a month for off street parking?
  • Are you ready and able to sign a 12 month lease?
  • How many roommates are you willing to live with?
  • Do you have a cat or dog?
  • Whose responsibility is it to take care of lawn care and snow removal?  
  • Do you need a furnished apartment?
  • What type of house are you looking for: apartment, house, studio, or shared rental?

Apartment: Independent rental unit with a building, separated from other units, with private cooking and living facilities.

House: Single or two family building where the WHOLE building is for rent.

Studio: A small single room apartment with kitchenette, bathroom, and a living room/bedroom area.

Shared Rentals: Individual room listings in houses and apartments where others already live.   You will move into a situation with others you probably do not know.  In most of these rentals you and the others in thoe house share the kitchen, living room, and other common areas.

Search for Available Rentals

There are a number of rental units available in the university area (University Area Map) and several ways to search for them:

  • Visit  Orange Housing is a local company that is not affiliated with Syracuse University or SUNY ESF, but maintains a website of apartment offerings in the neighborhood adjacent to campus.
  • Visit for listings of local apartment complexes.
  • Check out The Daily Orange and other local newspapers.
  • Ask friends and current students who rent in the area or have rented there.

Call about Potential Rentals

When you find rentals that fit your needs, you should call or email the contact person, state what you are looking for and when you would be able to view the rental.  If you are able to come to campus it is a good idea to have a couple of appointments already set up.   However, it's also important to leave some time in your day to schedule any last minute listing appointments.  

View Rentals

When looking at each rental, you should take notes and ask several questions.   Also if your prospective roommates are not able to come view the apartment with you make sure you take in depth notes and pictures of each unit you see. 

  • Use the Apartment Hunting Checklist to document the condition of each rental.  
  • Examine each apartment thoroughly, interior and exterior.   Don't be afraid to test things ( Does the toilet flush?  Is there adequate water pressure?
  • Be satisfied with the safety features of the rental.  ( Are there working locks on the doors and windows?  Adequate lighting in the rental and common hallways?  Exterior of the house and yard are in good condition?)
  • Note any utilities that are included with the rent.
  • Note if pets of any kind are allowed.
  • Note repairs that are needed.
  • How far is the nearest bus stop?
  • How far a walk is it from campus?
  • Ask who is responsible for yard work and/or snow removal.


Living with roommates can be a fun and often times one of the best experiences you will have in college.   An ideal situation is living with people who will become life long friends.   If  this isn't the case, it's importat to remember, when living off campus you do not have resident assistants to mediate conflicts.  Moving out of your apartment because you don't get along with your roommate(s) is not always an option, since you may or may not be able to sublet your space.   If you are going to be living with other roommates, you should consider the following questions prior to living together to avoid conflict:

  • What are you looking for in a roommate?
  • Do you or does your potential roommate smoke?
  • Do you and your potential roommate have similiar sleeping habits? 
  • How late do you stay up on weekends  Weekdays?
  • Can you and your potential roommate handle each other's lifestyle differences (i.e. use of alcohol , sexual orientation, etc.)?
  • Do you or your potential roommate have a signficant other?  How often will they visit and stay over night?
  • Do either of you have or plan to have pets?

For a sample roommate agreement see the Off-Campus Roommate Guide.

If you are looking for a roommate, Orange Housing ( maintains a listing of students who have apartments and are looking for roommates to fill a vacancy.   You can also create a listing if you don't have a place to live yet, but are looking for roommates.  

If at any time during the process you have questions or need assistance, please do not hesitate to reach out to us.   We are happy to help in your transisition to the Syracuse University Community.