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Step into the ring: affordability vs. quality of life.
Finding a living situation that fits a college student's needs isn't always the easiest mission to accomplish. Sacrificing amenities and safety is the course of action far too many take for a lower bill each month.
Before jetting off to the luxurious University Heights, do some research. There are plenty of options near both campuses that may strike one's fancy if given the chance.
There are, of course, on-campus options, which have their own respective pros and cons. Prices range from $585 for a four bedroom/two bathroom for a 12-month lease on a Hadley apartment to $734 for a two-bedroom/one bathroom 12-month lease on a South Lake apartment.
As compared to other options, these monthly, per person rates are on the high-end. However, the proximity to campus is second-to-none and shuttles conveniently pass through each complex regularly to transport students. Internet is available and free, as it is everywhere on campus.
Most, with the exception of Flickinger Court, include utilities, which can typically run a student upwards of $150/month, depending on services requested and heat needed. Unlike other living situations, UB strives to have its residences filled to capacity so additional, unknown roommates may be placed together.
Considering transportation and utility fees, the cost for much on-campus housing is not entirely unreasonable. However, there are a plethora of other options nearby.
University Village Apartments at Sweet Home
The University Village Apartments on Sweet Home Road are a truly impressive option. Ranging from $689 per person for a four-bedroom, four-bathroom apartment to $939 per person for a one-bedroom, one-bathroom home, this community features fully furnished rooms, a fitness center, hot tub, free tanning, a computer center, free personal laundry facilities, a theatre, and a shuttle to campus.
Additionally, University Village Apartments covers most utilities, including cable TV and Internet. These apartments are likely one of the best choices for the college student looking to live off campus but still be just minutes away from class.
Chestnut Ridge Villas
The Chestnut Ridge Villas are quite similar to the University Village Apartments, ranging from $689 to $939 per person for four-person and one-person situations, respectively. This complex offers a private shuttle to campus, recreation center, computer center, fitness center, free tanning, and a hot tub.
Additionally, these units are fully furnished and offer private, free laundry services. Cable and Internet are included in utilities, along with gas, water, sewer, and trash, which really cut a percentage off the bill. These impressive homes, although pricey, are worth the cost.
London Towne Apartments and Liberty Square Apartments
Right down Chestnut Ridge are the London Towne Apartments and Liberty Square Apartments. These complexes are not university-affiliated and thus are less geared to accommodate the average college student, as neither offer a computer center, free Internet access, shuttles to campus, furnished apartments or private laundry facilities.
Both feature one-bedroom, one-bathroom apartments for approximately $750 or a two-bedroom, one-bathroom for approximately $900. Of the two, London Towne Apartments is probably a better option as it does have a swimming pool and tennis court.
In terms of utilities, London Towne Apartments covers most utilities with the exception of electric and Internet. At Liberty Square Apartments, only heat and water are included in the monthly lease.
Campus Manor Apartments
Campus Manor Apartments, located by the intersection of Main Street and Harlem Road, is a five-minute drive from either North or South campus. Prices for a two-bedroom/one bathroom unit range from $720 to $810 total, amounting to an average of $375 per person.
Although the rent per month may be less than on-campus housing options, cable, Internet access and electricity are not included in this bill. These costs may be around $75 per person, depending on provider, plan, and usage. Factoring in the cost of gas to get to and from campus, monthly rates may amount to nearly $525.
The Campus Manor Apartments allow pets in the apartments for an additional fee and are currently building a new fitness center and fixing their coin-operated laundry units. There are small storage areas in the basements, but these are subject to insects, water, and theft. Additionally, these apartments are unfurnished, lack dishwashers and are extremely small.
However, parking is never an issue and the apartments tend to be quiet, which may prove to be an appropriate venue for the serious student.
Collegiate Village on Eggert
These apartments are likely out of most college students' price range and aren't the closest option to campus, but the resources that Collegiate Village offers are truly impressive.
From $525 to $885 per month per person, the renter has access to a gated community, fitness center, shuttles to North and South Campus, free tanning, personal laundry, basketball courts, private bathrooms, and an extensive resident life program.
All utilities are included except electric, which can be added for an additional $25 per month per person on a balanced budget system. Additionally, this fully furnished complex has a number of pet-friendly buildings.
A large percentage of UB students flock to University Heights for the low rent and proximity to campus and Main Street bars, but there a number of problems with this area. Typically, utilities are not included in the monthly rent, so covering all these costs may run a student nearly $500 per month.
Theft and break-ins are more common here than in most other living complexes and the homes have no safety guarantee. Landlords are frequently absent from the scene and are neglectful of their properties. Violence is also moderately common, from shootings to stabbings.
Additionally, most of the UB fraternities and sororities have their houses on South Campus, which means that there are a high number of parties every weekend. If peace and serenity is a priority, University Heights is not the ideal location.
Off of Elmwood, Buffalo
Although the commute is nearly 20 minutes from campus, the quality of living in this area is, arguably, better than most. Students can lease a home from $250 to upwards of $650 per month per person, depending on location and number of roommates.
Many of the homes in this area were built decades ago, so the architecture and interior décor can be quite exquisite, which could be a nice change from the cookie-cutter apartments. Additionally, many of these homes are quite large, so the price per square foot is generally in the renter's favor.
Leases in this area are highly variable because terms of agreements are entirely dependent on the landlord. Some landlords will pay utilities while others leave that entirely to the renter.
The proximity to Chippewa, Allen, and Elmwood bars and the general atmosphere of creativity pervades the area. Many college students from Buffalo State and Canisius live in the general vicinity, but this area lacks the amenities that many other locations such as the Chestnut Ridge Villas or University Village at Sweet Home offer.
Levels of safety vary from area to area, so choose the area wisely. Also, it is a smart idea to ensure that the location has off-street parking, as parking on the street in the wintertime can become a hassle.