General rental information
Whichever area you select, make sure you visit (or have someone visit for you) prospective rooms or apartments before entering into any formal agreements or signing a lease. Yale's Office of Security Awareness maintains a checklist of safety measures that you may consider when renting an apartment. Like anywhere else, each neighborhood has apartments that vary in price and quality, and signing a lease without first seeing the apartment binds you to the terms of the lease regardless of the condition of the apartment.
If possible, visit New Haven in May-July for housing units available in August, which is the start of the regular academic year. If you cannot visit New Haven to look for housing in advance, you should be able to locate housing once you arrive. If you need a place to stay while hunting for an apartment, you should book a room in a local hotel, motel or bed- and- breakfast.* There are no youth hostels in New Haven, and the University has no guest or temporary housing.
* If you have a Yale netID, you can log onto Yale Travel, which lists local hotels and University- negotiated rates to which you may be entitled.
In the New Haven area, there are large apartment or rental condominium buildings, and traditional homes divided into two or more rental units. Most listings are for unfurnished apartments (or flats). If an apartment is being rented as a furnished unit, it will be noted specifically in the ad and described in the lease. An "efficiency" or "studio" means that there is no separate bedroom, kitchen and living room: all are in one room together. A "one bedroom" means that the living room and bedroom are separate. An apartment should come with a working refrigerator, sink and stove in the kitchen area, as well as a bathroom with toilet, sink, and tub or shower. There are few if any boarding houses or "bed sits" in the area, although sometimes a family or elderly person may rent a room with kitchen privileges to a student, often in exchange for childcare responsibilities or simple errands.
Most landlords will require you to sign a lease for nine to twelve months and pay a security deposit (usually equivalent to one month's rent) and the first month's rent in advance. Utilities, such as heat and hot water, or even electricity, may or may not be included in the monthly rental price for that unit as specified on the lease, so know and understand your responsibilities. In New Haven, heat is typically required in homes from October through April or early May, and most older apartments and homes do not have central air-conditioning, although window AC units may be allowed. Examine the lease carefully before signing it, since it is a legal document specifying rights and responsibilities for both the tenant and the landlord. Ask about summer subletting options, as you may want to sublet the unit if you or a roommate will be away for an extended period of time for internships, summer break or research trips. See the pages listed in this site for tenant resources and utilities.
If you own a car, it is important to note that few New Haven apartments come with driveway, off-street parking, or garage parking included in the rent, so inquire as to what is available in places you view. Many tenants park on the local streets (a knowledge of local regulations is important) or rent a space in a local or Yale parking garage. See the transportation section for additional information.