October is an exciting month for students leasing a new place to call home, however, many first-time renters may be unfamiliar with the renting process or even unsure where to begin.
To help students, the Student Government Association hosts an Off-Campus Student Housing Fair every year. This years was held on Oct. 17 and 30.
Rich Sommer, of Sommer Property Management LLC, said he helped get the fair going 19 years ago.
Landlords filled the Laird Room to answer questions and find potential renters.
Brad Chernak, junior resource management and law enforcement major, said that when selecting off campus housing, “location is big, also whether they do a nine month or a twelve-month lease.”
Students renting apartments further from campus may have the option of taking the free Campus Connections bus, which runs every half hour and picks up and drops off students outside of the CCC and the HEC.
Regardless of location, students should know the right questions to ask their potential landlords when touring houses and apartments.
Rebecca Bond, Leasing Manager of the Village Apartments and the Michigan Terrace Condos mentioned that students often, “don’t seem to know the right questions to ask, like laundry, parking, snow removal.”
Bond emphasized that the answers to these questions are essential for any renter deciding where to live.
Rick Froehlich of F & F Properties, said one thing that keeps students from signing leases is that they, “are unsure right now because it’s so early in the year, it’s tough for them to make a decision ten months down the road. And I’ve noticed the last two, three years I think a lot of them are waiting longer than they had been in the past.”
In addition to the housing fair, SGA also helps students find housing through an off-campus housing database, available through the university website, and even offers legal advice for $5 through campus lawyer, Kathrine Munck.
Even though student rentals come with a few drawbacks, Sommer said he enjoys renting to students because they are interesting and always excited. He added that for him, the most important indicator of successful renters is the compatibility between roommates.
“We rent to wildlife majors but not wild life majors,” Sommer said with a laugh.
Olivia De Valk