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Living Off-campus

  • NOTE to freshmen: ESF Freshmen are required to live in on-campus housing, unless they live within 30 miles from campus and commute from home.
  • NOTE to graduate students: On-campus housing is not available to ESF graduate students. Grad students may purchase a meal plan.

Services based at Syracuse University

The Syracuse University Office of Off-Campus and Commuter Services provides information, resources referrals, services and support for SUNY-ESF and SU students living off-campus.

Meal Plans for Off-campus residents

Students living off-campus may purchase a meal plan from either or both ESF's Trailhead Cafe or Syracuse University. The Trailhead Cafe is located within the Gateway Center and is open Monday- Friday from 7:30am-4:30pm and Sunday 11:30am-3pm during the academic year. All students with meal plans dine in any of the SU campus dining centers and each meal plan includes a declining balance account for a la carte dinning at the snack bars and food courts.

Short Stay Options

Visiting campus? Someone visiting you? Need somewhere to stay for a day or two?

Off-campus Housing Agencies and Resources

Here are some information sources you might find helpful in locating a place to live in the University Hill area. "The Hill" is the neighborhood surrounding the ESF and SU campuses where most students live.

Generally, off-campus apartments in the ESF/SU neighborhood require a 12-month lease. Splitting the rent 2, 3 or 4 ways in a multi-bedroom unit makes off-campus living very affordable.

Signing a Lease

Do not rely on a verbal agreement. Most housing is rented on a contract or lease basis, which means you agree to live in there for a specific period of time which may be as short as one semester, but usually 12 months. When you sign this contract, you become a tenant and are legally responsible for all rent payments for that apartment—whether you live there or not—unless you make explicit arrangements in writing with the person who owns the building (landlord). Some landlords allow tenants to sublet, which means that the person who signed the contract may rent the space to another person.

Most contracts or apartment leases require the tenant to provide a deposit which is usually equal to one or two month's rent. This amount will be required in addition to the first month's rent before you will be allowed to move into the apartment. The deposit is kept by the landlord until you move out of the apartment and after the landlord has inspected the apartment for any damages. The deposit is returned to the tenant after the end of the lease. Make sure you inspect the apartment with the landlord before you sign the lease. You and the landlord should agree upon the condition of the apartment before you sign the contract to prevent any disagreements. Take pictures and make note of any problems before you move in.

Before you sign a lease or any legal contract, read it carefully and understand all of its obligations. If you have questions, ask the person who is in charge of the building before you sign. Keep a signed copy of the contract or lease for your own records. Make sure you have a copy of everything in writing with the date of the agreement. Once you have signed the contract, you are responsible for all its terms.

NOTE: This off-campus housing information is provided as a service to assist students in finding off-campus housing. ESF does not inspect, approve, recommend, or supervise the premises described, and does not become a party to private landlord/tenant matters.

  • Orange Housing
    The “Orange Housing” web site allows you to explore the wide variety of off-campus properties available in the “University Hill” area on-line at www.orangehousing.com. This site also offers a number of services helpful to apartment hunters.

Syracuse Area Newspapers

If you would like to explore rental opportunities in the entire greater Syracuse area, you should visit the Syracuse Newspapers Classified Advertising website:


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