Off-campus apartments are typically less expensive and feature greater vacancies than their on-campus counterparts. The farther away from campus, the cheaper the lodgings, but staying close allows for opportunities like easy walking/cycling distance or faster bus routes.
Most off-campus housing facilities are relatively decent, but a few are indeed dilapidated and old. The crime rate isn't the lowest, either, especially farther downtown. When looking for a place to live, exchanging information with other students or alumni is the best way to learn about living options around campus, like the best and worst places along with the best and worst deals. The minimum necessity for management is to stay in business and on the right side of the law, and actually caring for tenants can fall to the wayside. Overall, it's recommended to be on the lookout for the right place and keep an open mind toward friends' and acquaintances' opinions.