Living Off-Campus

The Off-Campus Living Guide supports students as they navigate living off-campus, evolving wellness needs and their unique student experience. For additional information or if you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact the Apartment and Off-Campus Student Living team.

Woven into the Barnes Center at The Arch Wellness Philosophy and similar to a personalized guiding compass, the Barnes Center Wellness Wheel is a visual representation of holistic wellness.

Barnes Center Dimensions of Wellness

The Barnes Center Wellness Philosophy webpage shares more about the Barnes Center Wellness Wheel, descriptions, examples, available Syracuse University resources and experiences for each Dimension of Wellness.

Students are encouraged to grow their budgeting knowledge prior to and during their time living off-campus. Highlighted Syracuse University resources to help build personalized budgets are available below.

Consider the following when creating an off-campus living budget. It is important to understand the unique terms and financial expectations of each lease signed.

  • Upfront Costs: Specific expenses due upon signing a lease and may include some or all of the following: first month’s rent, last month’s rent and security deposit.
  • Lease Duration: Most leases are based on a calendar year, not a nine or 10-month academic term.
  • Rent: May include some or all utilities (e.g. heat, hot water, electricity). If not included in rent, tenants are responsible for paying utilities separately. Cost of rent may also be impacted by distance to campus, size, furnishings, amenities, age and more.
  • Monthly Expenses: In addition to rent, other monthly expenses often include utilities, food, recreation and more.

Housemate/Roommate Discussion Guide

This guide is designed to assist in engaging housemates/roommates in important conversations about living together. Early and as needed discussions surrounding these topics and living experiences are encouraged. For guidance on how to start these conversations or for questions, please contact the Apartment and Off-Campus Student Living team.

  1. Who will take trash and recyclables to the appropriate dumpsters? (e.g., all roommates, certain roommates [if so, identify by name])
  2. How often will trash and recyclables be taken to the appropriate dumpsters? (e.g., daily, every couple days, weekly)
  3. Who will clean the floors (i.e., vacuum, sweep, mop) in the apartment (e.g., all roommates, certain roommates [if so, identify by name])?
  4. How often will we clean the floors? (e.g., daily, weekly, monthly)
  5. Who will clean the refrigerator and stove/oven (e.g., all roommates, certain roommates [if so, identify by name])?
  6. How often will we clean the refrigerator and stove/oven? (e.g., weekly, monthly)

  1. When will we lock our apartment front door? (e.g., at all times; when leaving the apartment; when going to sleep) Note: it is recommended that you keep your door locked at all times.
  2. When will we lock our apartment front door? (e.g., at all times; when leaving the apartment; when going to sleep; when there are guests/visitors in the apartment) Note: it is recommended that you keep your door locked at all times.

    1. What items are we willing to share? (e.g., clothing, computer/laptop, food, gaming system [Xbox, Playstation, etc.], other)
    2. Are we comfortable allowing each other to go into each other's individual bedrooms?
    3. How do we feel about having guests/visitors in the apartment? Do we prefer to have guests/visitors only at certain times of the day?

    1. How will we primarily communicate with each other? (e.g., talk, leave notes, text, Snapchat, Instagram, other)
    2. Which social media platforms are we comfortable with information being shared/posted about each other? (e.g., Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, TikTok, other)
    3. If we have a concern or a problem with each other, how will we work to resolve it?
    4. How will we work to benefit as we learn about our differences? When we experience different values, beliefs, customs, cultures, religion, behaviors, and/or practices amongst each other, how can use it to learn and grow from each other?

    1. How will we pay for our monthly bills? (e.g., individually, separately)
    2. How will we pay each other? (e.g., cash, app [Venmo], other)


    It is important that all community members are aware of and follow all federal, state, and local laws and ordinances. The below information provides a highlighted overview. The following are some resources for complete and updated information: City of Syracuse Special Inspections webpage, the City of Syracuse Rental Registry webpage, the City of Syracuse Code of Ordinances webpage and the City of Syracuse Parking FAQ’s webpage. For additional information or questions, please do not hesitate to contact the Off-Campus Student Living team.

    City of Syracuse Codes, Ordinances and Requirements

    Rental properties need to be rented in a manner that is consistent with the legal number of dwelling units in the property.

    Dwelling Unit

    A "dwelling unit" refers to a residential unit that is intended for use by a single family. When rented as individuals and not together as a family the following requirements apply.

    • No more than five unrelated persons over the age of 18 are allowed to share a dwelling unit.
    • They must occupy the dwelling unit as a single housekeeping unit.
    • If a dwelling unit is not rented appropriately, as a single housekeeping unit, it may be functioning as a rooming or boarding house. These types of properties are generally prohibited in City of Syracuse residential zones.

    Single Housekeeping Unit

    Tenants must share the entire dwelling as a "single housekeeping unit" for living, cooking, eating and sleeping. This means all residents must have access to the entire dwelling in the way that members of a family would, in addition to:

    • cooking equipment is not allowed in bedrooms;
    • exterior locks are not allowed on bedroom doors;
    • bedrooms cannot be leased individually;
    • spaces intended for the enjoyment of all occupants, such as living rooms, dining rooms and porches, cannot be converted into bedrooms.

    Legally Habitable Rented Space

    All rented space must be legally habitable. Landlords and property managers may not rent spaces such as attics, porches or basements without required permits, certifications, inspections or other required approvals to convert the rented space into a legally habitable space. The City of Syracuse generally requires two separate stairways between an attic rental space and the first floor or a fire escape. Renting of such spaces without approval is dangerous and may subject the property owner to potential litigation from tenants in addition to enforcement actions from the City of Syracuse.

    Fire Protection

    One and two-family dwelling units are required to have working smoke detectors in sleeping and common areas. These detectors are to be tested annually by the owner/landlord.


    For one and two-family dwellings, a parking space is generally required for each dwelling unit. Parking on the grass is prohibited.

    • Certificates of Suitability: Generally, a Certificate of Suitability is required before any certificate or building permit will be issued by the City of Syracuse Division of Code Enforcement for non-owner-occupied residential properties. This is to ensure construction and use is appropriate for the area within the city the property is to be located.
    • Rental Registry Certificate: It is illegal to rent non-owner-occupied one and two-family dwellings without a valid Rental Registry Certificate on file with the City of Syracuse. Tenants should ask to see a valid Rental Registry Certification from potential property managers/landlords prior to signing a lease.
    • Certificates of Compliance: Properties that contain three or more family dwelling units, and buildings that combine residential and commercial tenants, must have a valid Certificate of Compliance on file with the City of Syracuse. Tenants should ask to see a valid Certificate of Compliance from potential property managers/landlords prior to signing a lease.

    • Accumulating Garbage, Littering, Dumping: It is prohibited for owners or tenants to deposit, accumulate, collect or allow the following to be deposited, accumulated or collected on their property: garbage, rubbish, waste mater, filth or any similar substance. Littering or dumping on any public property, public right of way or private property is prohibited.
    • Grills, Barbecues: Per New York State, open flame cooking sources (including charcoal and gas grills) may not be used on combustible balconies or within 10 feet of combustible construction, with exceptions for one and two-family dwellings. Additional fire safety precautions include moving grills 20 feet from your home and other combustible construction.
    • Noise: The City of Syracuse’s Noise Ordinance covers a variety of issues resulting in unnecessary noise. This includes loudspeakers, public address systems and sound reproduction (e.g., instruments, speakers, television, amplifiers, squealing tires, etc.). A general rule to follow is that noise that crosses property lines is prohibited. Learn more here.
    • Nuisance Party: A nuisance party is a social gathering on either public or private property where one or more of the following behaviors occur: disorderly conduct; unlawful possession of an open container; outdoor urination or defecation in a public space; unlawful sale, furnishing, dispensing or consumption of an alcoholic beverage; sale or furnishing an alcohol beverage to an underage person; possession or consumption of an alcoholic beverage by an underage person; unlawful possession, sale or use of a controlled substance; unlawful deposit of litter or refuse; damage to or destruction of property without the consent of the property owner; unlawful pedestrian or vehicular traffic; standing or parking of vehicles that obstructs the free flow of traffic on public streets and sidewalks or that impedes the ability to render emergency services; or unlawful loud noise.
    • Open Containers: Open containers of alcoholic beverages on city streets and sidewalks is prohibited. Any alcohol on city streets and sidewalks must be in the manufacturer's sealed container and only be in possession of someone 21 years of age or older.
    • Parking: Parking on city streets has its own unique challenges and requirements for tenants. Please see City of Syracuse Parking FAQ’s webpage for more detailed information.
    • Pets: The City of Syracuse requires your pet to be on a leash unless fenced in on your property, and that you clean up after your pet. Learn more on the City of Syracuse Pets/Animals webpage and visit the City Clerk Licenses webpage to register a dog.


    Available for free in the Apple App StoreGoogle Play Store and as a web portal, SYRCityline allows users to complete service requests and report concerns including but not limited to street lights, traffic signals, excessive yard waste and more.

    City of Syracuse Contact Information

    City ResourceContact Information
    Syracuse Police Department315.442.5200 (non-emergency) / 911 (emergency)
    City of Syracuse City Clerk Office315.448.8216
    City of Syracuse Dog License RegistrationLearn more here!
    City of Syracuse Code Enforcement Division315.448.8695
    City of Syracuse Parking Violations Bureau315.479.5300
    Pay Parking TicketsMake an online payment here!
    City of Syracuse Department of Parks, Recreation, and Youth Programs315.428.8513
    City of Syracuse Codes and OrdinancesLearn more here!

    Helpful Resources and Reminders

    • On designated days, take trash/recyclables out and back from the curb.
    • Shovel snow on sidewalks, porches and driveways.
    • Park vehicles only in designated spaces.
    • Families and children also live off-campus. Please be considerate and respectful.
    • Introduce yourself to neighbors.
    • Set alarms early enough to account for a shuttle ride to class.
    • Be responsible know and follow the Student Conduct Code.
    • Explore the Stay Safe website, Syracuse University’s official source of public health information.