Early rush for off-campus housing discourages some students
Published: Monday, October 14, 2013
Updated: Monday, October 14, 2013 23:10
For a large number of students, the time has already come to find housing options and sign leases for next school year. Even though students have only just moved in, many had to decide quickly on their housing plans, despite having barely become accustomed to their current living arrangements.
Sophomore Lisa Vanic said she signed on during the last week of September for the Cider Mills Apartment complex across from North Campus. She said she was afraid if she did not sign up, she would be left with nowhere to live for next year. Vanic said she ended up finding a good living situation with good roommates, but such is not always the case.
“It just seemed like everyone else was doing it too, and it seemed like a race to get to the best housing possible at the best price,” Vanic said. “I didn’t want to fall behind.”
Vanic said she chose Cider Mills after she found out a few of her and her roommates’ other options were already full. Despite the rush to sign up, Vanic said she is happy with her living arrangements for next year and she would not change her decision if she could.
Bruce Harvey, president of the Newark Landlords Association, said he believes the early dates that students mention are actually simply a result of good competition for houses. Normally, the first lease signings are groups of well-organized students who want a nice house, Harvey said. This lowers the number of available properties, and then increases pressure on other students who want off-campus housing.
“They know that the better places go quickly, and if you wait until May to look for a house for June 1, all the best ones are gone,” Harvey said. “Those groups are usually very well-organized, and they are thinking very far ahead.”
However, Vanic did say she thinks the off-campus housing system could use some tweaking. The process for a lot of people is stressful, and finding an acceptable amount of roommates as well as an actual place to live is a lot of stress for having just arrived to school, Vanic said.
“It’s way too far in advance and you’re scrambling to find the people and the place,” Vanic said. “And it’s the start of school. People get stressed out way too early in the school year for this. I know other people, and it’s been really stressful for them. For the majority of people, that’s how it is.”
Sophomore Reese Earley said he signed his lease toward the end of September for a house on Wollaston Avenue. Earley said he was shocked at how quickly the process began after the beginning of school. If a friend had not noticed the house’s availability and mentioned to him that they should look into it, he may have become very desperate for housing, Earley said.
Earley said he has friends who have been unable to find housing as of yet and are now beginning to panic about the prospect of another year on campus. Earley said despite the rush, he is living with friends, so he is fine with his housing choice. The timing of the lease signing was also not ideal for Earley, who said he thinks a later date would help some students who need financial aid.
“I think it would be a lot easier because I want to use financial aid to pay my rent, so it would have been a lot nicer to do this once taxes were filed,” Earley said. “I don’t want to say I was rushed, but it was kind of like, ‘Hey do you want to live with us? If not, we need to find another person.’”
Rachel Taylor contributed reporting to this article.