Off-Campus Living during the Coronavirus Pandemic 

  • Please Note: As of November 6, 2020, the State of Connecticut has scaled back in-home gatherings to no more than ten people, as well as outdoor gatherings. The state Department of Health also issued an advisory recommending that residents stay home between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. For the latest statewide COVID-19 restrictions, see the City of New Haven website.

When you elect to live off campus, you accept the responsibility of living as an accountable citizen in your community. Part of this responsibility involves conscious consideration of your neighbors and their families – especially those who may be at greater risk for Covid-19.

It’s important to remember that though you are a Yale student, you are also a resident of the city of New Haven. Like those who live and work in New Haven, there’s the expectation that you are not the source of noise complaints, public intoxication or an ambulance call to your apartment/house, or trash that is improperly discarded or piled up.

Repeated complaints, violations, etc. could result in eviction, losing your ability to renew your lease next year, a citation, fine or arrest. Your neighbors also have the ability to call the city health department with concerns of COVID-related violations or irresponsible behavior. As a host, you can be fined up to $500 and attendees can be fined up to $250. Read more on the city of New Haven website. Following the City of New Haven’s Twitter and Facebook pages are recommended for the important news and updates. The city’s 211 page also has helpful links regarding food pantries, utility assistance, emergency shelters and more.

Though you may have Yale emergency alerts, you can also sign up for alerts from the city of New Haven Emergency Alert website. Following the City of New Haven’s Twitter and Facebook pages are recommended for the important news and updates. The city’s 211 page also has helpful links regarding food pantries, utility assistance, emergency shelters and more.

To find out more about Yale College-specifics regarding Covid-19, please see our COVID-19 Announcements and FAQs page.

Getting Started

Note: For information on leases, rights & responsibilities, a helpful apartment checklist & more information, see the State of Connecticut Landlord and Tenants Rights and Regulations (PDF). Be sure to discuss with your landlord how security deposits are handled, as well as what eventualities might result in a deduction from your deposit.

To begin your off-campus housing search, first consider:

  • The type of housing you prefer (i.e., single-family house; high rise apartment; unit in a multi-family house)
  • Whether or not you plan to have roommates 
  • Date by which you intend to take occupancy
  • Amenities you require (e.g., on site laundry; private bathroom; air conditioning)
  • Acceptable commute/distance to campus
  • Budget

COVID-19 has had an impact on the way we now view real estate/housing. Ask the landlord or property manager how he/she/they is handling showings. It is generally expedient to clarify your expectations with the landlord before you arrange to view a listing.

Consult the websites below to begin your housing search. Once you’ve identified potential apartments, make an appointment the landlord or management company to see the property. During your viewing, take pictures of the unit before you move in.

Roommates

Choosing the right roommate is critical to having a positive off-campus living experience. Before agreeing to live together, we urge you to candidly discuss your:

  • Schedule
  • Social habits
  • Domestic habits (i.e., are you unusually neat or messy? How might chores or unplanned expenses will be divided? Do you keep late hours or go to bed early?)
  • Pet peeves
  • Mental & physical health needs

It is very difficult and expensive to break a lease early, so absolutely be proactive and honest before deciding to live together, and address issues as soon as they arise in order to avoid misunderstandings and conflict. 

Building an Off-Campus Budget

The average monthly cost of a one-bedroom apartment in New Haven is approximately $1,100. Rent in the downtown area is typically higher than average. Most landlords will require you to put down a security deposit (typically the same amount as your monthly rent or more).

A budget should include (but is not limited to):

  • Rent
  • Utilities (electricity and/or gas; internet, etc.)
  • Cell phone
  • Subscriptions/memberships (Streaming services; news sources, gym, etc.)
  • Car insurance/car loan (if applicable)
  • Bus or train pass
  • Personal grooming costs
  • Extras (dining, entertainment, shopping, etc.)

The budgeting website Mint offers several different budget templates from which to choose. These templates offer a transparent, concrete way to keep track of spending and make plans for contingencies.

In addition to understanding the importance of creating and adhering to a budget, Yale’s financial literacy webpage provides practical, clear information that will assist you in taking control of your finances. As a current Yale student, you also have free access to LIT Financial Education Program – a program that teaches students about money matters pertinent to both off-campus living and life after graduation.

Another useful resource is the Getting Financial Help webpage on the Yale College site.