Overview of off-campus housing near UB

The pros and cons of students' most popular housing options


Finding the perfect off-campus spot to settle can be tricky, especially since UB’s surrounding area offers so many options. All of these housing options present their own issues and conveniences, depending on location, price and amenities.

Daniel Ryan, Director of Off-Campus Student Services believes living off-campus is a good way for students to build independence and establish a credit history.

“Make sure you are educated in real estate matters and have your lease reviewed by an attorney,” he said. “Or you can restrict your search to the off-campus student services listings, which only allow properties to be listed if they have passed a municipal inspection in the last 36 months.”

The editors at The Spectrum compiled information about the top 5 off-campus hotspots to help this decision-making a little easier.

1. University Village at Sweethome

The numbers:

Rent: $639 per person for 4 beds and 4 baths, $769 for 2 beds and 2 baths, $1,049 for 1 bed 1 bath

Distance from North campus: 0.7 miles

Distance from South campus: 4.2 miles

Pros: These apartments are fully furnished and parking is included in rent. The community center offers a 24-hour gym, a lounge area, a pool, computers, printers and mailboxes. There are shuttles to North Campus that run on a daily schedule. Staff and maintenance are available to help with issues. All buildings require a special magnetic key.

Cons: WiFi and electric are not included so it is up to students to put the National Grid bill under their name and to purchase a router. The shuttles do not run on the weekend. The apartments are similar to dorms in the sense tenants have surrounding neighbors, whom they do not choose. Though these apartments are close to North campus, they are far from downtown Buffalo and the nightlife near South campus.

2. Villas at Chestnut Ridge

The numbers:

Rent: $699 per person for 4 person 4.5 bath, $839 for 2 bedroom 2.5 bath, $1,059 for 1 bedroom 1 bath.

Distance from North Campus: 1.4 miles

Distance from South Campus: 4.2 miles

Pros: Like Sweethome, these apartments are fully furnished and offer slightly nicer kitchen appliances and differing floor plans. They also have a community center with similar amenities, including a gym, recreation center, a hot tub and computers. Also like Sweethome, access to these apartments is controlled with key cards. Gas, water, trash, Internet and cable are included.

Cons: These villas have many of the same issues as the Sweethome villas. These villas are also set back, so walking around the area or walking to school can be difficult.

3. Villas on Rensch

The numbers

Rent: $789 per person for a 4 bed 4 bath townhouse.

Distance from North campus: 1.2 miles

Distance from South campus: 3.6 miles

Pros: Rensch is often known to be the “nicest” of the set of villas. This is because their kitchen appliances are stainless steel, the wood flooring is nice and the townhouse style is a little fancier than a simple apartment. Their shuttles run the most frequently and efficiently and their community center has the same amenities as the other two.

Cons: These villas are very expensive – more so than many on-campus options. Like the other sets of villas, they are also far away from downtown Buffalo and the South campus nightlife scene.

4. University Heights

The numbers

Average Rent: $350/month per person

Distance from North Campus: 5 miles

Distance from South Campus: 0.7 miles

Pros: To live in the Heights usually means living in a home, whether it’s the entire house or simply the top half. This house setting allows for more customization and autonomy for students. Students can also live with as many or as few as they’d like, up to about 10 people on average. Rent is usually very cheap, which is convenient for students looking to save money. These houses provide easy access to the train downtown, the buses to North and the restaurants right on Main street.

Cons: The crime around South campus often affects students, from robberies to stabbings. Many of the landlords who lease these houses are unreliable, unavailable and rip off students with hidden fees or maintenance charges. The houses themselves are not typically nice, since students have been living in them for years, which means broken windows, doors, mold, or permanently dirty floors.

Elmwood Village

The numbers:

Average Rent: $675-1,995/month per person

Distance from South Campus: 6 miles

Distance from North Campus: 13 miles

Pros: The Elmwood Village has a very active bar and nightlife scene, variety of nearby restaurants, proximity to cultural sites such as the Albright-Knox art gallery popular village for young people. You’ll be in the heart of city life and it’s easy to walk anywhere. The houses and apartments are usually nicer too, compared to those in the Heights. These homes provide an independent space away from campus.

Cons: Elmwood Village is far from the campuses though, which means those who live there would be commuters. There is also limited availability for parking, which means you’re more subject to be fined for parking incorrectly on the street. Some of these apartments can be very expensive and vary whether or not they include the utilities.

Maddy Fowler is the assistant news editor and can be reached at maddy.fowler@ubsprectrum.com.