Campus Housing – FAQ

The Neighborhood & Neighbors
Q. Is the area safe?
Q. Can I walk to the campus easily?
Q. Where are the local stores and markets?
Q. Are the apartments located around other students?
Q. Is there public transportation available?

Lease Agreement Questions
Q. How long is the lease term?
Q. Can I break a lease?

Home Security and Personal Safety
Q. Should I get renter’s insurance?
Q. What should I do to prepare the apartment for long school breaks?

Getting connected by local service providers
Q. How do I set up utilities?
Q. How do I set up internet and cable?
Q. Mail issues – How do I establish my address or change my address?
Q. How do I manage my mail on school breaks?
Q. How does the garbage “disapear”?

Security Deposit Questions
Q. Where does my security deposit go during my lease term?
Q. What if the cost of damages and cleaning is more than the security deposit?
Q. Can the security deposit be used to pay the last months rent?
Q. What does the term “Joint and Several” mean?
Q. How does a sublease work?
Q. What if I want to study abroad or only have one semester left…can I sublet the apartment?
Q. Are kitchen appliances included?
Q. Are the apartments furnished?
Q. Is there parking available?
Q. Who is responsible for water/sewage? What is the average cost?
Q. Do my rent payments help me build credit?


Q. Is the area safe?
A. This is a very common question and one of the most important concerns when choosing a place to live. The neighborhoods surrounding the main campus of Syracuse University are some of the most stable neighborhoods in the City. Great efforts from many different organizations and individuals have made notable improvements over the past couple years alone. The chancellor has implemented a task force to strengthen law enforcement and lines of communication for reporting incidences in the neighborhoods. There has also been an increased presence of police and public safety.

There are “blue light” phones located around campus, and there are free escort services provided by SU Department of Public Safety and the Syracuse Police Department.

On campus: use DPS’s free escort service

Off campus: use SU Home (it’s free), the bus, or a taxi.

REPORTING CRIME: You can anonymously leave NON-Emergency information for SU DPS by clicking on Report a Crime (Silent Witness) at publicsafety.syr.edu

Police 315-442-5222 or x911

SU Public Safety 315-443-2224 or x711

Even with the additional security in place, crime will continue to happen. Here is a useful website posted by SUNY-ESF Public Safety covering issues from personal safety, home and auto security, and internet crime: ESF Safety Tips

You can find more information about safety on The Syracuse University Website, or The Daily Orange Website.

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Q. Can I walk to the campus easily?
A. You can find the approximate time it takes to walk to campus in each property description page on the website.

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Q. Where are the local stores and markets?
A. There are small convenient stores, laundry facilities, shops, eateries, and bars along Westcott St.

At the end of the 900 Block of Lancaster Avenue there is a convenient store and laundry facility.

Marshall Street is the largest business district near campus with a mix of small local businesses, bars, and corporate franchises. There is a student copy center and post office located in the Marshall Square Mall.

The nearest grocery store is P&C up the road East from South Campus on Colvin Ave.. There you can find the best values for groceries, beer, liquors, and toiletries.

By Car:

Erie Blvd is lined with shops and restaurants of all types and sizes.

Wegmans is the largest and nicest grocery store about 10 minutes from SU heading East on E. Genesee St in Dewitt.

Go to mapquest.com to get driving directions.

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Q. Are the apartments located around other students?
A. The majority of students who live off-campus reside in the North and East neighborhoods bordering the main campus. Euclid Ave. is the spine of the east neighborhood that starts at Comstock Ave and ends at Fellows Ave with the 700, 800, 900, 1000 blocks of the cross streets being popular student areas. Euclid Ave continues on into very nice middleclass residential neighborhoods. As the block numbers increase, the neighborhood becomes more owner-occupied. The core of the North campus student neighborhood extends from campus to East Genesee St. The Western border is around Crouse Ave. and Eastern border is around Ostrom Ave. Along the park. Students live outside of those areas as well.

The best way to get a feel for the neighborhood is to take a walk or drive around the area.

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Q. Is there public transportation available?
A. There are bus stops throughout the neighborhoods that shuttle students to south and main campus. You can also take buses to Shoppingtown Mall and Carousel Mall.

For a cab, call 4SU-TAXI

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Q. How long is the lease term?
A. The lease term is specified by a start and end date of approximately 1 year. Installment plans can be paid monthly, quarterly, by semester, or paid in full.

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Q. Can I break a lease?
A. No. Once a lease agreement is signed and delivered to both parties, the lease is binding as stated in the lease agreement. Subletting your apartment is the only way to reduce or eliminate your obligation to pay rent.

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Q. Should I get renter’s insurance?
A. It is highly recommended. The Landlord’s insurance policy only covers loss of structures, not personal artifacts of the tenants. Call SU Department of Off-campus Student Services (315) 443 – 5489 for information.

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Q. What should I do to prepare the apartment for long school breaks?
A. Notify us of the date you plan to leave the apartment for break by email at contact@thejmgroupllc.com
Make sure the Temperature is set to at least 55 degrees F in the winter.
Failing to keep the apartment at that temperature may cause extensive damage if a pipe freezes and breaks causing flooding for days without notice. Reminders will be sent out. Apartments will be checked by management to make sure the temperature is at the right setting. Residents shall be held liable for damage due to their negligence and shall pay bills upon receipt. It is much cheaper to pay for the heat bill.
Contact the Post Office about mail management.
Leave a light on in the apartment.
Make sure all the doors and windows are locked and close blinds over windows.
Make arrangements for a neighbor to keep an eye on the apartment.
Do not leave valuables in plain sight.

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Q. How do I set up utilities?
A. Niagara Mohawk provides gas and electric services. Call 1-800-NIAGARA

They will provide you with a case number, you need to fax or mail them a copy of the first page and signature page of your lease agreement with your telephone number and case number. Fax number: 315-460-9270. They will contact you within 4 hours to verify that they have received your information and will schedule a utility hookup. They legally have up to 5 days to provide service, however they can usually get you connected within 2 days.

Note: Call a couple weeks before your move in date to allow time for them to schedule an appointment to turn on power. If you wait until you arrive at school, you’ll end up studying by candle light for the first few days.

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Q. How do I set up internet and cable?
A. Time Warner Cable offers an all-in-one package of phone, cable, and internet.

You can get any combination of service. Call 315-634-6000

Note: Make sure to call for an installation at the beginning of August if you want to have the services by the 1st day of school. They can get backed up as much as 3 weeks when the students come back.

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Q. Mail issues – How do I establish my address or change my address?
A. Contact your local post office and give them your school apartment as a forwarding address.

When you arrive at your apartment, label your mailbox with the names of the current residents. This will prevent a lot of mail from previous residents ending up in your box.

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Q. How do I manage my mail on school breaks?
A. You can ask the Post office to hold your mail for the short breaks and ask them to forward your mail from your school apartment to another permanent address over the summer months if you aren’t here.

This is very important for home security. Two weeks worth of mail on your front porch makes it easy for a thief to know if your house is occupied or not.

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Q. How does the garbage “disappear”?
A. The city takes garbage from the curb once a week early in the morning. You are responsible to take your garbage to the curb the night before your street’s weekly garbage pick up day. Securely tie your bags and store your garbage in a secure place during the week so animals do not tear it up.

Recycling goes out the same day in the Blue Bins. You can order new free bins by calling OCRRA at 315-453-2870.
Garbage pick days by street:
Westcott – Tuesday
Redfield – Wednesday

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Q. Where does my security deposit go during my lease term?
A. Security deposits are held in an escrow account with Bank of America. This money is not considered the landlord’s money. The escrow account retains control of the funds until the landlord withdraws the money to cover the cost of repairs and cleaning and other expenses explained in the lease agreement.

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Q. What if the cost of damages and cleaning is more than the security deposit?
A. First of all, you need to really try hard to avoid this situation. On the settlement form, the landlord will note the expenses, and will bill you for the rest of the balance that your security deposit does not cover. If you choose not to pay that balance, or if there are disputes, the issue will go to small claims court if the parties cannot resolve the issue on their own. Again, this is a rare event that would take extreme negligence by the tenant to create enough damage for this to happen.

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Q. Can the security deposit be used to pay the last months rent?
A. NO. The purpose of the security deposit is to cover potential damages. If you do not pay the rent on time, late fees will apply.

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Q. What does the term “Joint and Several” mean?
A. The lease agreement is a joint and several contract between all the tenants and the landlord. The term “Joint and Several” means that each and every tenant is liable for each other to meet the obligations of the contract. In other words, if a roommate stops paying rent and causes damage, the other roommates are ultimately liable for unpaid rent and damage. Typically, in this case, the landlord will try to resolve any issues with the individual tenant who is not performing their obligations of the lease. If that person still is not cooperative, the other tenants will have to correct the default or the landlord will have to take legal action. You will want to choose your roommates wisely.

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Q. How does a sublease work?
A. The sublease does not release the tenant from the original lease agreement. The sublease is an agreement between the tenant and another person who agrees to the same terms and conditions of the original contract. Rent can be negotiated to be higher, lower, or the same as the original lease agreement. The sublease cannot begin before the start date of the original lease agreement or end after the end date of the original lease agreement.

It can be arranged that the subtenant pay the landlord directly or pay the tenant and the tenant continue to pay the landlord. Once the Landlord, Tenant, and Subtenant sign and deliver the sublease then it is binding and the tenant has legal retributions should the subtenant default on the lease.

IMPORTANT: The tenant of the original lease agreement is still liable for the unpaid rent balance and potential damages caused by subtenant. It may be a good idea for the tenant to hold a security deposit from the subtenant to cover damages caused by the subtenant.

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Q. What if I want to study abroad or only have one semester left…can I sublet the apartment?
A. Yes, with written permission from the landlord approving the subtenant.

Refer to the question “how does a sublease work?” for details.

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Q. Are kitchen appliances included?
A. Refrigerators, stoves, and ovens are included in all the properties. Additional appliances are specified in the property description pages for each property.

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Q. Are the apartments furnished?
A. No, however, we leave good furniture left behind by previous tenants for the next tenants.

You can make contact with the current tenants of the apartment you are renting in the future to see if they are interested in giving or selling you any of their furniture.

A good time to get good free or cheap furniture is in the beginning and end of the school year by driving around the neighborhood. The Salvation Army and many other furniture stores on Erie Blvd is another option.

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Q. Is there parking available?
A. Most properties have off-street parking. It is specified in the property description page of each property. Parking is also available on the street where permitted. There are street signs to indicate where you can park. Street parking alternates from one side to the other everyday at 6pm.

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Q. Who is responsible for water/sewage? What is the average cost?
A. The city provides the services. For multi-family properties, a common utility fee is paid at the beginning of the year by each tenant to mitigate the shared utility expenses. The landlord pays these bills throughout the year. The cost varies depending on use. The utility fee is a flat fee and does not cover the entire expense, only mitigates it. This avoids the confusion and extra work involved in sending copies of the bills and collecting portions from each tenant.

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Q. Do my rent payments help me build credit?
A. Rent payment history can be a good way to establish credit history while in school. Your rent payment history can be submitted to the credit bureaus by your landlord.

Evictions and judgments are filed in public record and the credit bureaus look at these to evaluate you as a credit risk. A judgment can hurt your credit score and will stay on your credit report for years until it is paid and settled. This will affect your ability to obtain financing for your future business, car, home, and even affect you when applying for a job.

The affect of defaulting on a lease to an apartment resulting in a judgment against you for damages has the same affect as not paying your credit card bills, car payments, or note and mortgage on your home. Life becomes very expensive and cumbersome when you act irresponsibly.

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