A row of houses with blue ski.

Home Sweet Law School: Exploring Housing Options for New Law Students

Published January 24, 2024

Photo of Bryan Carlo.

Guest blogger: Bryan Carlo ’25

Congratulations on taking the next step toward law school! This marks a significant milestone in your life, and we're here to support you at every turn. As you embark on this adventure, finding suitable housing in the area might be a potential source of stress. To facilitate your potential transition to law school in Buffalo, our admissions team has compiled valuable tips and tricks from our student ambassadors.

Where to Start

Navigating the search for housing in Buffalo can certainly be a challenge, especially for those unfamiliar with the area. It should then come as little shock that one of the most common ways to find housing is through personal reference. Maybe you had a roommate or friend from college or in your workplace that is from Buffalo that knows the area well. Or maybe you have some relatives that live close by. These are good first options, because they are generally people you trust and can give you their own personal opinions on an area or specific home. However, it is important to consider that each may come with their own biases that may not take into consideration all that you hope for in your new home.  

But what if you do not know anyone from the area? Exploring online platforms like Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, or Apartments.com provides an alternative that broadens your search and connects you with landlords, and even potential roommates. Still, it is important to be careful and exercise caution when connecting with others online. Make sure you do your due diligence on any apartment you find online by meeting the landlord or roommate-seeker in person first to get a sense of the area, and overall fit of the location, amenities, and comfort of your possible 
future home. 

Location, Location, Location

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Buffalo is one of the top 50 largest metro areas in the United States, and because of such it offers several different options of places to live. If you enjoy the hustle and bustle of city life, living in one of Buffalo’s vibrant city neighborhoods may be the right place for you. Allentown offers quaint locally owned boutiques, restaurants, bars, clubs, galleries, and cafes. Living near Elmwood Village and Hertel Avenue in North Buffalo also offer those same amenities in a more family friendly atmosphere, plus easy access to Delaware Park, right in the heart of the city. You may also familiarize yourself with Buffalo and all of its Neighborhoods with the University at Buffalo’s Map Buffalo’s Neighborhoods and completed Neighborhoods Project, which details all of the city of good neighbors’ thirty-two neighborhoods.

Photo of Bryan Carlo.

Guest blogger: Bryan Carlo ’25


Office of Admissions
University at Buffalo School of Law
408 O'Brian Hall, Buffalo, NY 14260

Request an appointment:

Learn more about the law school admissions process and School of Law community through an individual meeting with one of our staff members.

[Learn More]

Admissions Blog Recommendations

Submit this form to receive an application fee waiver.

For those that want to be in a densely populated area with tons of nightlife, as well as being close to the law firms and courts you may end up working for one day, living in Downtown Buffalo in a newly renovated high-rise or loft may be an attractive, but oftentimes expensive, option:

“There are high-rise buildings downtown, fun neighborhoods like the Elmwood Village and Allentown, and a bunch of nice suburbs all around UB/the Buffalo area. With so many options available, it can be hard to figure out what you're looking for. If you're able to, I definitely recommend checking out different areas to see where you can or can't see yourself living!”

-       Mary Starr, J.D. Class of 2026

County map of Western NY.

For those who want a more suburban lifestyle, Buffalo is surrounded by several towns, both large and small. These may offer the convenience and amenities of a large city while maintaining the community feel and space of a small town. Generally, Buffalo’s suburbs are divided into the Northtowns and the Southtowns.

The Northtowns of Buffalo include the suburb of Amherst, in which the University at Buffalo is located, the Village of Williamsville, Tonawanda, the Village of Kenmore, Clarence, and Lancaster. Amherst notably boasts some of the best school districts in New York State, and makes for a convenient 5-to-10-minute drive to campus. The Western part of Amherst is home to many commercial plazas along Niagara Falls Boulevard with big box retailers such as Target, Lowes, and Best Buy.

Nestled within the town of Amherst is the Village of Williamsville, which is only a short 5-minute drive south of campus. Main street in Williamsville retains much of its original charm from its founding in the 1800s with a very walkable strip of bars, restaurants, cafes, and shops. Moving West from Amherst is the Town of Tonawanda and the Village of Kenmore, which each offer the convenience of being close to campus while allowing for easy access to the City of Buffalo. As we look East of Amherst we are brought to the Town of Clarence, which offers many of the same advantages of Amherst and Tonawanda, but with more of a rural, small-town feel. Homes in Clarence are generally more spread out and sit on larger plots of land, but are still conveniently located near Transit Road, one of the main commercial thoroughfares in the area. The town of Lancaster sits directly to the South and Southeast of Amherst and offers many of the same advantages as Clarence, with a boutique-style village and spread-out homes.

Buffalo may be infamous for its winters, but it is also made up of microclimates. The Southtowns of Buffalo are perfect for those that enjoy winter activities such as skiing, snowboarding, and, of course, shoveling their driveway. The Southtowns make up the towns of Hamburg, Orchard Park, and East Aurora, with smaller towns and villages branching off further, far away from the School of Law. Each of these towns, notably, have great villages sitting in their center which offer anything and everything one could need or want in suburban life. They are also close to the hills of southern Erie County, which are a paradise for Snowsport enthusiasts. Hamburg is one of the most sprawling of these towns, with a village that offers a little bit of everything, but, being right on Lake Erie, Hamburg also receives some of the highest snowfall in the area.

The next town over, Orchard Park, hosts an amazing school district, and is home to the Buffalo Bills football team. And, while having Highmark Stadium right behind your backyard may boast some benefits for gameday tailgating, the traffic can be tricky for those who have to navigate it during weekdays.  Finally, East Aurora is best known for its historic village and has become renowned for its signature wing spot, Bar Bill. It is also the backdrop for many Hallmark Christmas movies, particularly Viddler’s 5 and 10, in the heart of the village on Main Street.

Request an appointment:

Learn more about the law school admissions process and School of Law community through an individual meeting with one of our staff members.

[Learn More]

Picking the Right Type of Housing

When trying to pick which type of housing will be appropriate, it can be beneficial to consider what may be most prudent for three years of law school. While moving is never fun, it can be especially stressful while you are trying to juggle school, work, extracurricular activities, and any other commitments you may have while you are in law school. Because of this, finding the right home in Buffalo can set you up for success down the line.

“Don't be afraid to put yourself out there and make connections. There are so many students in the same boat as you! Try to reach out to people who are attending UB as well to see if you can form a group of roommates.”

-       Kyli Tripoli, J.D. Class of 2025

On Campus v. Off Campus

There are also several on campus options and near-campus options right across the street from campus. According to our students, the downside to this is that some of these rentals are for the academic term only, which may not fit your aspirations for the summertime. On campus housing can be found through the on-campus housing portal, which you will receive access to as part of your acceptance to the School of Law. 

Many of our students say they enjoy living on campus for the convenience of being close to their classes and amenities offered by the university, such as dining halls and fitness center. This is also convenient for those who may not have access to a car, as there are university run shuttles that can transport students from campus to the surrounding shopping centers and grocery stores.

"Honestly, living on campus is super convenient, and I feel that the price is fair (especially because the apartments are furnished, and all utilities are included). I would recommend that 1Ls look into on-campus housing; Flickinger or Creekside are probably the best options because they have townhouses, so you get a ton of space."

-       Anonymous Student Ambassador

Living in the city may seem like a great idea in your first year of law school, but by the time you are in your third year you may have accumulated more stuff (or a significant other) and need more space and may look to a single-family home in the suburbs. Many incoming law students who are coming right from college choose to live in an apartment or duplex with roommates to cut down on cost (more on that later). These types of residences can be found in Buffalo, which boasts many large, older multifamily homes from the city’s heyday in the early 20th century. Many law students that are further along in life decide to rent a single-family home in one of the aforementioned suburbs to test out an area they think they might like before they purchase a home for a potentially expanding family.

Show Me the Money

One of the things that should always be at the forefront of your decision is the cost of housing. The good news for those seeking housing in Buffalo is that it is considered one of the most affordable cities according to Forbes magazine. This is just one of the many reasons that prospective students choose the University at Buffalo School of Law. Your cost of housing will vary based on the location and housing type. Apartments in the city can range from $1000/month for a one bedroom to up to $2000/month for a three bedroom, which can be split with roommates. There are of course outliers, such as the newer luxury apartments in high-rise buildings or lofts converted from old industrial space. These types of buildings usually have amenities such as lounges, fitness centers, and sometimes even breweries in their first-floor commercial space and can start at $2,000/month for a one bedroom. Single family homes in the suburbs can be rented for anywhere from $1500-$2,000/month and range from 3-4 bedrooms, with plenty of yard space and land. If it is financially feasible, some students have even bought duplexes or other multifamily homes and rented out the units neighboring theirs to help subsidize not only the cost of living but also the cost of law school. This however takes saving for a downpayment, which can be difficult for those with a limited budget. On-campus housing will be charged semesterly, which will usually cost around ~$5,000/semester, per one of our student ambassadors. Learn more about On-Campus Housing.

You should take the time when budgeting to consider which amenities are important to you and what they will cost. Things such as parking and utilities may cost extra depending on the type of building you are in or sometimes are even included in the rent. You might also want to consider if you have a pet the usual pet fees that come with renting. If you plan on renting, sometimes laundry is not included or costs extra, especially if you are living in older homes in the city. This may mean you need to take a trip to the laundromat or spend money on wash-and-fold.  If you plan on staying in Buffalo long term and wish to purchase a house, you want to include the cost of repairs and maintenance, along with insurance and taxes in your monthly budget.

"Make sure to factor in your commute to not only school, but also downtown, if you plan on interning, volunteering, or working downtown. Create a list of must-haves. Don't forget to include things that will improve your quality of life, such as an on-site gym, pool, etc. Budget, budget, budget. Use guaranteed income, not an income you think you'll be able to obtain."

-       Anonymous Student Ambassador

Final Thoughts

Starting law school can be an exciting, but turbulent time, and finding housing can be just as thrilling and stressful. However, having a plan can help mitigate anxiety and allow you to find the perfect place to live during your time at the School of Law. Because of this, it’s important to start thinking about where you’ll live early, and, with so many options available, take the time to create a list of what is important to you and consider your budget. This will help you narrow down your search while keeping an open mind. Finally, feel free to reach out to our Office of Admissions, or any of our Student Ambassadors for any further advice during this search. Happy Hunting!

Additional Resources