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Wednesday, April 24, 2024
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University Heights

When the time comes for UB students to spread their wings and find off-campus living arrangements, many find themselves landing in the University Heights. Over 3,000 UB students live in the Heights, and although it has the reputation of having more partying and higher crime rates than other housing options, it is an area that suits a wide variety of students.


The Heights is conveniently located near South Campus, which offers options of public transportation, that includes a shuttle to the North Campus and easy access to the subway to downtown Buffalo. There is also easy access to both entertainment and basic needs, with shops such as Talking Leaves bookstore and Tops supermarket close by, as well as access to dozens of restaurants and bars.

Mary Clare Fahey, off-campus services and relations coordinator of Student Life, serves as an adviser and mediator for students who live in the area.

"I help them have a better experience," Fahey said. "Unfortunately a lot of students do not talk to me until after they move. Some move in with problems already."


When students move to the Heights they trade RA's for landlords, dining halls for private kitchens, community bathrooms for private bathrooms, and amenities for self-performed chores. It's up to the student to weigh the sacrifices against the benefits.

"I wanted my own bedroom, and a full bathroom and kitchen that I share with my roommates only," said Lauren Hotaling, a senior environmental design major.

Hotaling currently resides on Winspear Avenue, a decision she made because of its proximity to South Campus and because she was ready for independence from dorm life.

"Students really like the independence," Fahey said. "If you live off campus you make your own choices of what you want. You have more space and you chose who is living in proximity with you."


Fahey also said that students have a lot more expenditure choices when living in the Heights. The Heights has a reputation of very inexpensive rent, with price ranging between $200 and $500 a month per student, depending on where they live and the amount of utilities they use.

Fahey suggests to find out what utility costs may be per month before signing a lease, and to shop around before deciding on an apartment to insure that the quality matches the price.

Customer Service & Maintenance:

Dealing with Heights landlords may potentially be a positive or negative experience, depending on where a student lives. Through SBI Legal Assistance, located in 377 Student Union, students can have lawyers review leases before they are signed, and can use the service for legal advice when dealing with other landlord issues.

Alan Brown, a senior geography major said that his landlord does not even live in the area, and that the maintenance staff does not do a lot around the house.

"We have had pipes break and our basement has flooded many times," Brown said. "It honestly has been a nightmare at times with the house being in such bad shape."

Brown said that although the problems eventually get solved, it takes a few phone calls to get things done.

Hotaling does not like having to deal with the landlords, and said that hers habitually forgets to fix a needed repair.

"Over the summer we had mice get into our house," Hotaling said. "For whatever reason it felt like it took weeks for our landlord to repair our side door where they had dug a hole."


Safety is a well-known concern of students looking at moving to the Heights' homes, and according to Fahey, it can be a deterrent. Although the Buffalo Police patrol the area, it's important for students to put safety in their own hands.

"I do not feel safe alone at night walking from my car to my house," said Ciara Decker, a junior legal studies major. "One of the guys next door was robbed at gun point at the end of our street last year."

Samantha Louise, a junior occupational therapy major lives on Winspear Avenue, and said there have been shootings and constant break-ins on her street.

"We now have an alarm system and bars on all the downstairs windows and added extra outdoor lights," Louise said. "In October, a drunk driver drove into our house leaving a hole in the foundation of our house. There is still a hole in the foundation of our house leaving us to pay hefty gas bills."

Although there have been dangerous circumstances for Louise, she said that she has just renewed her lease.

"If you are looking to live around the Heights and checking out houses, find out who your neighbors could be, how close it is to campus, the crime statistics around that area in particular and check the condition of the house," Hotaling said. "It is important to take safety precautions seriously."

Hotaling said the convenience of living right off of campus is a personal decision.

"Living here has definitely been an adventure, but I don't have any regrets," Brown said. "It has been fun and I have learned a lot."



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