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Underclassmen rush to find off-campus housing

By Connor Moriarty
On March 11, 2014

Miami University students are becoming accustomed to more than one form of rushing during spring semester. This year, students are racing to sign an apartment lease or house contract earlier than ever.

For several students, this month marks the beginning of their search of housing for fall of 2015. They are searching this early primarily due to rumors about how competitive the housing market is.

"I'm going to look at some houses right after class," first-year Alex Abboud said. "I heard you have to sign really early here, and I really want a good house."

Level 27 Apartments Leasing Manager Cody LaVelle said he has noticed students showing interest in looking for apartments abnormally early the past few years.

"Applications do not open until August of the year before, but we see students looking for somewhere to live much earlier than that," he said.

LaVelle is not sure why this is happening, but he can attribute it to housing availability on campus and the amount of students attending Miami.

"The increase of enrolled students at Miami recently probably added to the competitiveness," LaVelle said. "Plus, the houses off campus usually go fast, which makes apartments go fast as well."

The Oxford Commons east of campus however, has not seen a rise in competitiveness, according to Property Manager Andrea Mayer.

"We see most leases signed in October of the year before they will move in, and that has stayed true for a while," Mayer said. "I have worked here for almost ten years, and I haven't seen much change in the competitiveness."

Whether off-campus housing is getting more competitive or not, students are not taking any chances by waiting longer to apply. First-year Kelly Higginson was rushed into renting an off-campus house with her sorority sisters shortly into her second semester, about 19 months before she will move in.

"Honestly, I don't know why people decide to sign early, it's just a thing where everyone does it so you feel obligated to do the same," Higginson said.

In many cases, first-years say they feel pressured into making the commitment of renting a house early. With a task as daunting as solidifying their housing and roommate plan almost two years ahead of time, anxiety is normal.

"It was strange at first thinking I was already signing for a two year house lease for junior and senior year, but I'm happy it's done and I'm able to have that solidified," Higginson said.

According to many students, the competitiveness of housing may have to do more with getting the best choice, and less with getting no choice at all.

According to CKC Rentals Business Operations Administrator Pam Lindley, CKC Rentals recommend students sign house and apartment leases very early based on competitiveness of highly-demanded locations.

"We opened our leases for Stewart Square Apartments for the 2015-2016 school year on March 4 and they are already 80 percent taken up," Lindley said. "And we only have one space left above Fiesta Charra. These are very popular locations so, like off campus houses, we see them go fast."

CKC Rentals is one of the few Oxford housing rental agencies that open leases based on student demand. According to Lindley, CKC Rentals allows leases to be signed when they see the most interest in their locations.

"Students come to us early looking for somewhere to live, so we open the leases," she said. "This is our third year of doing this more than a year before tenants will actually move in."

With the various housing options on campus, students are not hard pressed for getting in somewhere.

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