ResLife Mishandles Housing

To the Editors:

The College owns nine off-campus houses, which are located on Woodland Street, Union Street, and South Professor Street. Because current members of six of these houses decided to stay for the 2002-2003 school year, only three of the houses were available. The process of leasing the remaining three properties was run by ResLife. After being high on the waitlist since the first day of school, our group was able to choose a College-owned off-campus house at the end of March. We had been told throughout the seven-month-long process that the rent was currently $360 a month (with utilities) and expected to go up slightly. As we were about to sign the lease, the College suddenly raised the rent to $515 a month (the new price of a super-single). We were shocked and outraged, but ResLife justified this 42 percent increase as the result of newly “discovered” financial difficulties. After many e-mails to and talks with ResLife and Peter Goldsmith, ResLife decided to please the returning renters, who make up the majority of next year’s tenants. The rent for returning renters was lowered to the price of a double, which is consistent to what they pay this year. For new renters, however, ResLife only lowered rent to the price of a single, or roughly $460 for the coming year. Despite the concessions made by ResLife, $460 a month is a large increase over last year’s rate and far more than our group can afford. Thus we were left to scramble to find another off-campus house in April, when there are few houses left to choose from.
ResLife handled this process very poorly. Had they told us sooner, even just by the beginning of spring semester, we would have had more options left. We trusted ResLife to be fair in their off-campus housing process, but they failed to act in such a manner. We have been told by Kim LaFond, the Director of ResLife, that next year college owned off-campus houses will become part of the regular lottery system, but beware of equating “off-campus” with cheaper prices. There is reason to believe that the College will raise the rent even further next year, and do not expect much warning. Their budget, not their relationship with students, is their bottom line.

–Alice Cheong
College junior
–Megan Lowery
College junior
–Laura Belous
College sophomore
–Inessa Spencer
College junior

April 19
April 26

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