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CSA at Cortland

Frequently Asked Questions

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Lease Agreement Questions


Home Security and Personal Safety


Getting connected by local service providers


Security Deposit Questions


Sublease Agreement Questions


Additional Apartment Questions




Lease Agreement Questions


Q. How long is the lease term?


The lease term is specified by a start and end date of approximately 1 academic calendar year defined by SUNY Cortland. You can view their academic calendar on their website The lease will start the Saturday before the Monday of 1st classes and end the Sunday after the final commencement activity on the academic calendar.


Q. Can I break a lease?


No. Once a lease agreement is signed and delivered to both parties, the lease is binding as stated in the lease agreement. Subletting your apartment is the only way to reduce or eliminate your obligation to pay rent.

You can learn more about subletting under the important documents links on the tenant page. There is a quick guide for "how to sublet your apartment" that will help you through the process. The earlier you plan to sublet the higher the chances of finding one. You and your roommates are in the best position to network with social media and your peers to find roommates you want to live with. We will assist in showing apartments, posting a notice on our website and guiding you all through the sub-lease signing process.


Q. What does the term "joint and several" mean?


The lease agreement is a joint and several contract between all the tenants and the landlord. The word "Joint" in the term "Joint and Several" means that each and every tenant is liable for each other to meet the obligations of the lease agreement. In other words, if a roommate stops paying rent and causes damage, the other roommates are ultimately liable for unpaid rent and damage. Typically, in this case, the landlord will try to resolve and issues with the individual tenant who is not performing their obligations of the lease. If that person still is not cooperative, the other tenants will have to correct the default or the landlord will have to take legal action. You will want to choose your roommates wisely.


Q. Do my rent payments help me build credit history?


Rent payment history can be a good way to establish credit history while in school. Your rent payment history can be submitted to the credit bureaus by your landlord. Evictions and judgments are filed in public record and the credit bureaus look at these to evaluate you as a credit risk. A judgment can hurt your credit score and will stay on your credit report for years until it is paid and settled. This will affect your ability to obtain financing for your future business, car, home, and even affect you when applying for a job. Defaulting on a lease to an apartment resulting in a judgment against you for damages has the same effect as not paying your credit card bills, car payments, or note and mortgage on your home. Life becomes very expense and cumbersome when you are irresponsible. Do your best to plan ahead and keep the ones who support you and us informed if you see potential difficulties ahead. The sooner you let us all know, the more options we all have to help you avoid those difficult situations or at least make it easier to get through them.

Home Security and Personal Safety


Q. Should I get renters insurance?


It is highly recommended. The Landlord's insurance policy only covers loss of structures, not personal artifacts of the tenants. Have your parents call their insurance representative as they may be able to provide better pricing with combined policies. Call SUNY Cortland Campus Activities office at (607) 753-2322 for information.


Q. What should I do to prepare the apartment for long school breaks?


Notify Campus Side Apartments of the date you plan to leave the apartment for break by email at


Make sure the temperature is set to at least 55 degrees F in the kitchen and bathroom areas of apartment during the winter.


Failing to keep the apartment at that temperature may cause extensive damage if a pipe freezes and breaks, causing flooding for days without notice. Reminders will be sent out. Apartments will be checked by management to make sure the temperature is at the right setting. Residents shall be held liable for damage due to their negligence and shall pay bills upon receipt. It is much cheaper to pay for the heat bill.


Quick tips to prepare for a break:

  • Contact post office about mail management. (see more information below)

  • Leave a light on in the apartment.

  • Make sure all the doors and windows are locked and close blinds over windows.

  • Make arrangements for a neighbor to keep an eye on the apartment.

  • Do not leave valuables in plain sight

We have installed high-definition, color security cameras with night-vision to monitor the activity of the parking areas and main entrances. We can quickly provide information to police or insurance representatives to help them assist you in the event of loss, theft, accident, or other crime.


We are also fortunate to be located on the corner of campus that the law enforcement has to drive through to patrol the perimeter of campus and the adjacent neighborhood. The combination of our assertive maintenance staff, surveillance system, exterior dusk-to-dawn lighting, and being a frequently patrolled location by law enforcement provides enhanced security environment, even during school breaks.

Getting connected by local service providers


Q. What utilities and telecom services are provided by the landlord and included in the rent?


The landlord provides:

  • Water

  • Gas for hot water, for cooking, and for the laundry facilities.

  • Electricity for the common hallways and stairwells, for the exterior areas of the property, and for the laundry facilities.

  • Wireless internet using 3 high-speed cable modems with dedicated routers and access points.


Tenants are responsible for:

  • Cable (various levels of service and pricing available)

  • Electricity for lighting and heating.


*Note: The estimated cost per person per month will average around $45-50 over the 10 month period of the academic calendar year. Each bedroom and common area of the apartments has their own thermostat. Energy star windows and high-efficiency lighting among other energy saving improvements have been done to all apartments. The utility cost is largely controlled by the tenants themselves.


Q. How do I set up utilities?


Niagara Mohawk provides gas and electric services. Call 1-800-NIAGARA


They will provide you with a case number, you need to fax or mail them a copy of the first page and signature page of your lease agreement with your telephone number and case number. Fax number: 315-460-9270. They will contact you within 4 hours to verify that they have received your information and will schedule a utility hookup. They have legally up to 5 days to provide service, however they can usually get you connected within 2 days.


Note: Call a couple weeks before your move in date to allow time for them to schedule an appointment to turn on power. If you wait until you arrive at school, you'll end up studying by candle light for the first few days.


Q. How do I set up internet and cable?


Time Warner Cable offers an all-in-one package of phone, cable, and internet.

You can get any combination of service. Call 315-634-6000


Note: Make sure to call for an installation at the beginning of August if you want to have the services by the 1st day of school. They can get backed up as much as 3 weeks when the students come back. Note: the Wireless networks provided are intended for normal use. If you plan to use high bandwidth demand for activities such as gaming you will need to get your own dedicated internet.


Q. Mail issues - How do I establish my address or change my address?


Contact your local post office by phone: (607) 753 0266. Give them your school apartment as a forwarding address. You can also stop in the Main St. US Post Office in Cortland to make those arrangements.


When you arrive at your apartment, label your mailbox with the names of the current residents. This will prevent a lot of mail from previous residents ending up in your box.


If you do get a lot of old resident mail:

  • Put a sticker on your box stating "deliver mail only to the names on this box".

  • Write "RTS" or "return to sender" on mail and leave it on top of the mail box or put into the outgoing mailbox located at the prospect entrance.


Q. How do I manage my mail on school breaks?


You can ask the post office (phone: (607) 753 0266) to hold your mail for the short breaks and ask them to forward your mail from your school apartment to another permanent address over the long periods of time that you aren't here.


This is very important for home security. Two weeks' worth of mail piling up in the mailboxes and front porch makes it easy for a thief to know if your house is occupied or not.


Q. How does the garbage "disappear"?


We hire a garbage removal service to maintain our dumpster and recycling tote once a week. You are responsible for taking your garbage to the dumpster throughout the week. Do not leave your trash in common areas or anywhere outside of the dumpster. We also provide a roll-off dumpster in the final week of the lease so tenants can clear their apartments of unwanted personal belongings. We encourage you to make arrangements to donate or give away useful items prior to move out.


Security Deposit and Lease Terms Questions


Q. Where does my security deposit go during my lease term?


We deposit security deposits in an escrow account with a bank identified on our lease agreement with you. This money is not considered the landlord's money. The escrow account retains control of the funds until the landlord withdraws the money to cover the cost of repairs and cleaning and other expenses explained in the lease agreement. The remaining balance, plus interest earned as calculated by the escrow account, will be returned to you typically within 20 to 30 days of the end date of your lease agreement.


Q. What if the cost of damages and cleaning is more than the security deposit?


First of all, you need to really try hard to have this situation. On the settlement form, the landlord will note the expenses, and will bill you for the rest of the balance that your security deposit does not cover. If you choose not to pay that balance, or if there are disputes, the issue will go to small claims court if the parties cannot resolve the issue on their own. Again, this is a rare event that would take extreme negligence by the tenant to create enough damage for this to happen.

  • Cleaning services are a limited and predictable charge: Cleaning service providers have been arranged to follow our standardized cleaning checklist on a fixed fee per apartment based on unit size. It is approximately $70 per bedroom to clean a 2 bedroom or a 3 bedroom apartment. You have the option to clean the apartment yourself, but if the checklist is not followed properly the cleaning service will complete the cleaning at either a reduced fee if an item was missed, or at their full fixed price to detail the apartment.

    The good news is that the apartment is cleaned to the standard cleaning checklist prior to your move-in and you get to approve the work or have us address items until the list is completed properly. Upon move out, you can leave your apartment empty of your personal items and trash and the cleaning crew will do the hard day's work of cleaning your apartment for the fixed fee.

  • Repairs for Damages: We make the same effort to inspect the apartment with you upon move-in for property condition and inventory landlord belongings, such as furniture. You will be provided a copy of the inspection form you approve during the move-in and will use that form as a guide to correct any damages caused by you during the lease term. We separate certain items as routine maintenance and wear and tear items in the property condition report. These forms are provided under important documents in the tenant page for your review.


Q. Can the security deposit be used to pay towards rent?


No. The purpose of the security deposit is to cover potential damages. If you do not pay the rent on time, late fees will apply. Payments collected are applied in the following order to pay the balances due in the lease agreement: security deposit, late fees, parking fees, rent.


Sublease Agreement Questions


Q. What if I want to study abroad or only have one semester left…can I sublet the apartment?


Yes, with written permission from the landlord approving the subtenant (usually done by signing off on the sub-lease agreement).


Q. How does a sublease work?


The sublease does not release the tenant from the original lease agreement. The sublease is an agreement between the tenant and another person who agrees to the same terms and conditions of the original contract. Rent can be negotiated to be higher, lower, or the same as the original lease agreement. The sublease cannot not begin before the start date of the original lease agreement or end after the end date of the original lease agreement.


It can be arranged that the subtenant pay the landlord directly or pay the tenant and the tenant continue to pay the landlord. Once the Landlord, Tenant, and Subtenant sign and deliver the sublease then it is binding and the tenant has legal retributions should the subtenant default on the lease.


IMPORTANT: The tenant of the original lease agreement is still liable for the unpaid rent balance and potential damages caused by subtenant. It may be a good idea for the tenant to hold a security deposit from the subtenant to cover damages caused by the subtenant.

Additional Apartment Questions


Q. Are kitchen appliances included?


Refrigerators, dishwashers, and stoves are included in 41 Prospect Terrace. Additional appliances are specified in the property description pages for each property.


Q. Are the apartments furnished?




Each bedroom is furnished with:

  • Full-size pillow top bed with an anti-allergen and anti-pest cover.

  • Dresser

  • Laptop desk and chair on rollers

  • Night stands in some cases


Living rooms are furnished with:

  • 3-seater couch and 2-seater couch in 3 bedroom apartments

  • 1 couch and a leather chair with ottomans in the 2 bedroom apartments

  • Coffee table and end table set

  • 32" wall mounted flat screen TV

  • Bar stools in apartments with breakfast bars


*You are welcome to bring a desk or additional small furniture items.


Q. Is there parking available?


The property has approximately 23 parking spaces available. Some of them are covered parking spaces. Refer to the parking diagram in the property listing for details. Parking fees are $50 per semester for open lot spaces and $100 per semester for covered lots (pricing subject to change, see advertised prices in each of the apartment listings for up to date pricing). The parking is assigned at lease signing and available on a first come, first served basis. Parking is at owners' own risk.


Vehicle owners are registered on a parking list provided to all tenants of the building as well as "Morey's Towing" service. A registered vehicle cannot be towed from the property unless it is parking illegally (on the grass or blocking a sidewalk or main entrance). Visitors who park in the lot risk being towed. It is best to arrange parking for visitors elsewhere. These rules are relaxed during breaks when parking is plentiful and during move-in and move-out week for the parents' convenience. Communication among the drivers is appreciated by all during those times.

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