General Information

If you are moving to the Greater Lafayette area, you will find a variety of housing options available to you. The rental housing stock in West Lafayette and Lafayette consists of houses, apartments, efficiencies, and individual rooms. There may also be some other housing options available to you, as some local residents take student boarders into their homes and a few fraternities take non-member boarders into their chapter houses.

Housing within walking distance to campus tends to be the most sought-after housing option. There are also a large number of apartment complexes within a short drive of campus, and many of these are convenient by public transportation through CityBus.

Apartment Rental Scams

It has come to our attention that landlords may have been contacted by scammers posing as incoming students or scholars wanting to rent an available apartment. These scams are used to defraud landlords by sending counterfeit cashier’s checks in excess of the amount owed. The scammers request the landlord deposit the check and wire the excess funds to a third party. Because the original check is a cashier’s check, banks will typically release the funds immediately. However, it has not actually cleared and may take several more days before the bank identifies the check as a fake.

Many of these letters have similar characteristics: The person is a female coming in from another country, the payment will be submitted by a third party (family member or business person), they provide too much information, and ask questions that are often already in the property listing details. Variations may occur with one attempt to defraud to another. 

Tips:

Never accept a check as payment for anything other than the amount expected.

Never wire money to someone you do not know. Wiring money is the same as sending cash, and there is no way to get the money back.

Ask for more detailed information if the person is an incoming student. International students should be able to supply a copy of their I-20 form and acceptance letter prior to their arrival. If you have questions about whether a person is an incoming student, please contact our office at: offcampushousing@purdue.edu.

Scammers typically try to act quickly, as they want the potential victim to not have time to think. Many times, they will offer to pay a security deposit before arriving or seeing pictures of the apartment. If you feel a person is move too quickly, it could be a sign of a scam attempt.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) handles cases of internet fraud including rental scams. For more information, or to file a complaint, please visit their website at: www.ftc.gov. You may also want to contact the FBI’s Internet Fraud Complaint Center at: www.ic3.gov, and the non-emergency number for your local police department. 

Pricing

Price is another factor to consider when searching for an apartment. The average cost for a one-bedroom apartment in West Lafayette is approximately $750. Two-, three- and four-bedroom apartments tend to be lower as you are sharing with additional people. Some rents in the area include the cost of utilities such as water, gas, electricity, sewage, telephone or cable television. However, most rentals in the area include only water and sewage connections. Before signing a lease, be sure that you know which utilities are included in the rent. Ask the landlord to estimate the cost of non-included utilities.

Search Timeline

Typically, landlords begin listing housing with Off-Campus Housing Services in late fall or early spring for the next fall semester. Regardless of the time of year that you look for housing, it is likely that finding a place to live will take more than one day. Therefore, you should allow yourself enough time to make a wise decision about a place to live. If you cannot come to the area to acquire housing until just before the start of fall/spring semester, allow at least three to four days before classes begin to search for housing that may still be available. Locate temporary accommodations until you have settled in permanent quarters. We do not recommend signing a lease sight-unseen, but understand that tenants do it when they are unable to arrive to the area before the semester begins.

Searching for suitable living accommodations off campus can be time consuming. Some items to consider before you begin your search are:

  • How much can I afford (be sure to consider utilities, phone, food, etc.)? Living off campus means an increased financial responsibility.
  • Do you have enough money for upfront payments such as security and utility deposits?
  • What is most important, location or cost and amenities?
  • Can you access adequate transportation such as a car, bus services, etc.?
  • Do you have furniture?

Important Information

Off-campus housing information and related resources are provided merely as a service to students, faculty and staff at Purdue University. The information is provided to make you aware of issues surrounding off-campus living. The University has not inspected any properties listed and cannot vouch for accuracy or reliability of any of the information provided by landlords/property managers. Before listing with the Off-Campus Housing Services, a landlord must sign a statement that says he/she will not discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, national origin, sexual orientation or disability against any student who wants to rent from him or her. This is the only condition of the office's listing service.

The University has no system of approving or inspecting off-campus housing and neither does Lafayette or Tippecanoe County. In West Lafayette, however, a program provides a systematic inspection of all rental property. If you want to know whether a particular unit has met the requirements of this program, you may find out from the city's housing inspection office, 765-775-5160. Remember, your personal inspection of a place where you might want to live is your final guarantee that it is the place you want. It is recommended that you be present at the time of any inspection.

For more information about off-campus housing, stop by our office in Schleman Hall, Room 207, call 765-496-1841 or email us at offcampushousing@purdue.edu.

Purdue University, 610 Purdue Mall, West Lafayette, IN 47907, (765) 494-4600

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