Congratulations! You have just been accepted and will soon be paying high tuition for a worthy education at New York University (NYU) in the heart of Midtown/Lower Manhattan.  The main campus of NYU is clustered around Washington Square Park which is just south enough of 14th street to not be classified as Midtown but north enough of Houston street to not be classified as Lower Manhattan.  As if waiting to get accepted didn't already make you nervous and sick to your stomach, you now have to deal with the realities of ACTUALLY attending the university.  At the top of your bucket list is going to be dealing with the fact that you will need to move to NYC into an off campus housing situation ideally as close to NYU as possible.  

The Areas and Locations That Will Interest You For New York University Off Campus Housing

One top criteria each student is going to have for off campus housing is going to be the proximity between where you live and getting to the university campus.  And by proximity, the term is generally around commute times and how quickly you can get from home to campus.  Generally, everyone can agree that an ideal commute time would be right around the 30 minute, maybe 40 minute mark.  No one wants to spend that much time commuting unless they absolutely have to. 

Locating NYU University On The Map

Before getting into the specific NYC neighborhood areas that will be of interest to live in, let's take a step back and look at where New York University is located in Mid/Lower Manhattan.  The main area of NYU starts at around Bleeker street through around 12th street with different NYU buildings scattered across the area but all are smack in the middle of Manhattan. 


NYU in many ways is the epitome of NYC.  It is in the heart and center of Manhattan and is where much of the action takes place.  Restaurants, night life, shopping, tall buildings, corporate, education, anything you can think of, it is close by.    


Commuting By Subway

Commuting to New York University by subway drastically expands the off campus housing options.  It allows you to consider pretty much every neighborhood throughout Manhattan except far up north, and then also the outer boroughs such as Brooklyn and Queens because basically EVERY subway in NYC stops near NYU.  NYC subways are quite fast and run frequently.  We're talking about a subway arriving every 5 minutes which means you rarely have to follow a schedule, stare at the time or rush to a subway because if you miss one, you know another one is arriving shortly after. 

It is amazing how many subway lines stop within walking proximity to the main NYU campus.  The subway line options to choose from are: Red 1 | Blue A,C,E | Orange B,D,F,M | Yellow N,Q,R,W | Green 4,5,6 | Grey L.  

As long as you live near any of these subway lines, your commute time to campus will be within 30 minutes and you will get off at any of the subway stops right around the corners of campus. 


In Manhattan, you could live in an apartment as far north at the points of 96th street on either the Upper West Side (take the 1,2,3 or A,B,C) or Upper East Side (take the 4,5,6 or M,Q,R).  Or you could live all the way down at the southern tip in Manhattan in the Financial District.  You could also live anywhere in between and still be able to make it to the NYU campus in 30 minutes as long as you are a quick few minutes walking distance to any of those mentioned subway lines.

Here, you can see all the transit lines on a map and how many of them go through the NYU area.  


Commuting By Walking

One of the best case scenarios of course is to find an apartment that is within walking distance to campus.  The running adage is that it conservatively takes 2 minutes to walk one NYC street block and 5 minutes to one NYC avenue.  That puts the off campus housing range of options in the Greenwich Village, East Village, Chelsea, and Gramercy neighborhoods.  You could virtually walk all the way from the east side East River all the way west to the Hudson River in half an hour so anywhere in that radius would still be a breeze in terms of a walking commute.  


What Are Your Actual NYU Off Campus Housing Options

Realistically, off campus housing for university in NYC comes down to a few solutions:

Rent An Entire Apartment

You get your name signed onto the main lease agreement with the landlord/property owner.  Whether you are renting alone, with a significant other or have found a few prospective roommates to live with, the idea here is to have the apartment be your own by getting your name(s) on that lease. The vast majority of people go this route because the assurances of long term housing is more guaranteed considering most lease agreements are a minimum of 1 year.  This time frame rightfully aligns with university programs that range between 1-5 years.  How do you find these off campus apartments?  This is also narrowed down to two solutions:

  1. Get help.  NYC rentals are tricky.  Many students opt for assistance in the form of a local real estate broker for guidance.  However it will cost money in the form of a broker fee which will run any renter a few thousand dollars.   It is very well known that it is a costly but perhaps worthwhile option.  There are hundreds of brokerage firms and thousands of brokers.    

  2. Otherwise, if you are cost conscious and are willing to do the work yourself, do the online research and the ground work, such as viewing the place yourself, gather all your documentation together and get that apartment yourself.  There are many no broker fee buildings in NYC where you can rent directly from property managers to bypass the broker fee. is a key source for no broker fee buildings.  There are hundreds of buildings near NYU where you can rent directly from property managers without having to pay the broker fee.         


Rent By Taking Over Someone Else's Apartment Entirely

Mainly as a sublease.  This means looking for an apartment with an existing renter who is looking to get out of his/her apartment for whatever reason and take over the place.  This is almost entirely done online and can be researched through different platforms.  


  • leasebreak

    Renting Rooms Within An Apartment

    Mainly shack up with people you don't know.  There has been an explosion in NYC co living over the last 5 years with the success of coworking space WeWork.  Startups have taken the same concept and have applied it to residential renting.  The options range from renting an empty room, to roommate matching, to subleasing a room from an outgoing tenant.  This is also entirely done online.  There aren't brokers to assist with this process.        

    • Aggregator sites

      • roomi

    • Landlords who control the leases

    What Are The General Requirements To Rent Off Campus Housing For Students

    There is no doubt, there is large demand for off campus housing for NYU students.  Considering the 2018 statistics where there are 60,000+ students crammed into 'on campus' housing that is allotted for 11,000 people, it is a surprise there aren't more students stowing away in the student library full time.  


    For Foreign Students


    What type of documentation do  you need in order to get off campus housing?

    • Proof of savings (2 months to a 1 year of bank statements)

    • Approved loans

    • Fellowships

    • Scholarships

    • Guarantors - Varies between landlord on whether they accept out of country guarantors

    • Even though there are new rent laws stating landlords can only take 1 month up front, it isn't being fully enforced yet and the rules are still vague.  

    For Out Of State Students

    Almost exactly the same as foreign students but with a handful of exceptions

    • Your U.S. Credit Score will get checked

    • U.S. guarantors are basically guaranteed to be accepted by all property managers