(WESLEY ROBINSON / THE STATESMAN)
The new off-campus housing website looks to combat the problems that come with illegal rentals. (WESLEY ROBINSON / THE STATESMAN)

Gone are the days students have to inquire with the Faculty Student Association for information concerning off-campus housing.

A new service launched by the university earlier this semester provides students with information such as house listings, safety facts, community service opportunities and public transportation options. It serves as a self-service option for those students looking for assistance with off-campus housing.

Emily Resnick, the assistant director of Commuter Student Services and Off-Campus Living, oversees the site, called Off Campus Living.

“Its primary focus and mission is on making sure that students that are considering living off-campus or renting off-campus or who are already doing so, have proper education about what they should be looking for or what to keep a look-out for as far as their own safety off-campus,” she said.

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Resnick collaborates with other university groups on this site: Campus Residences, Community Standards, Communications, External Relations and Student Affairs.

Perhaps the most important information on this site pertains to student legal rights and responsibilities as members of the community. For instance, a section of the site includes copies of sample leases so students know what sort of paperwork to expect during the process of securing an off-campus rental. A monthly budget checklist is also included to help students stay on track.

“This can kind of help the students make sure that they’re looking for certain things as they’re going through the experience,” Resnick said. “That they’re knowledgeable about the type of paperwork that a landlord should have, if their property is legal.”

Students can also find a renter’s checklist and inventory checklist to assist them in determining whether a potential home has all the necessities, such as a working kitchen and a bathroom.

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Jessica Kanjamala used the Off-Campus Housing website last year when she graduated from undergraduate studies and was looking for a place to stay to continue her studies as a graduate student. Upon seeing the new Off Campus Living website, Kanjamala was impressed.

“Looking at this site, it’s a lot better than the previous one,” Kanjamala said. If given the opportunity, she added that she would have used the site to look at copies of the important documents and checklists.

“Students should definitely be aware of it though so I’m really glad they put it on there,” she said.

The site can help the university avoid last year’s controversy regarding illegal off-campus housing.

According to an article published in The Statesman in October 2013, the Stony Brook Concerned Homeowners, Ltd., a group of residents fighting illegal housing, addressed the university’s role in educating students and their parents about requirements regarding living off-campus.

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Off-Campus Housing’s former website now directs students to the news website.

The site’s main goal is to educate students on the legalities for living off-campus and on community building. It also provides students with information on how to be a good neighbor and have a positive relationship with other residents in the community.

“We should be showing our Seawolves pride wherever we are. Students should make themselves and the university proud,” Resnick said.

She also expressed that a student’s off-campus behavior will still reflect on the university, adding “A lot if it can have repercussions here on campus.”

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