Neighborhood Leasing Timeline
The Office of University Apartments and Off-campus Student Services exists to provide resources and information to students as they search for housing. It is true that when students arrive back on campus for their sophomore year, many begin their junior year housing search right way. The University Apartments office wants to stress early on that that there is no need to begin the process immediately, but many students choose to sign leases anyway. There are a number of reasons why students should wait to sign a lease:
- Signing a lease too early can complicate a student’s ability to take advantage of academic opportunities that may take them away from the Marquette campus during junior year, such as study abroad opportunities, co-op positions, and internships.
- Landlords don’t always know for certain if their current residents are returning until October or November, and so may not be able to give an applicant a definite assignment until after current residents recommit. We advise students never to sign a lease for an apartment or house they have not seen, and to insist on seeing the actual unit they will be renting before they sign the lease.
- While large groups living together can work out, sometimes it doesn’t. Friends change. We see a number of groups each year struggling in their living situations because they are locked into a lease and no longer get along with one another. Signing a lease with one or a few friends might be a better option in the long term.
The University Apartment selection process is placed during the month of November very intentionally. This alleviates the panic that students feel when they return for their sophomore year, and helps prevent students from being forced into leases that they may later need to terminate for the reasons listed above.
Neighborhood Leasing Timeline Phases
The neighborhood leasing timeline generally occurs in three phases:
- Houses and a few larger complexes (Renee Row, Marquette I, Kensington): It is true that houses go quickly. Groups of students who are looking for large-capacity dwellings, such as houses and 4+ bedroom apartments will start looking right away, and landlords are happy to oblige because large groups like that will diminish in size over time due to the factors listed above. If they don’t sign them early, landlords fear not being able to fill their larger apartments and houses.
- University Apartments: After the initial rush, students begin to look at the University Apartments process. Deposit collection to enter into the random selection process begins in late October, and apartment selection happens in early November (see exact timeline below). The University Apartments try to get as many leases signed as possible prior to the Winter Break, in order to move quickly to the waiting list so students are not left “in limbo” any longer than necessary. Over the past five years, trends have shown that the University Apartments have enough capacity to accommodate every student who applies. However, because students have the freedom to choose their own roommates and because students often want their own bedroom, not every bed space is filled. If students were open to sharing a bedroom, that would both drive down their rent costs and allow more students to assign into the apartments.
- Spring semester process: Following the University Apartment selection process and throughout the spring semester, the University Apartments office prepares a list of privately-owned properties that are still available in the neighborhood, so that students who are still looking have a starting point for their apartment search. Past trends have shown that neighborhood landlords will still have studios through 4 bedroom apartments available in June - just 2 months preceding the start of the academic year.
Other services our office provides to students:
- A comprehensive website of good information that is useful to students before, during, and after their tenancy.
- Mediation services to students who find themselves in conflict with their roommates or with their landlord.
- Relationships and communication with the area landlords, in order to effectively advocate for students when things go wrong. It is important to note two things here: 1) students have not only rights as renters, but also responsibilities to uphold; 2) the University Apartments cannot coerce a landlord into doing anything they do not wish to do or are not required by law to do. The University Apartments office opens lines of communication, can attempt to facilitate solutions that are amenable to everyone, and can also refer students to appropriate city agencies if a landlord is not being responsive.
There is plenty of privately-owned housing in the off-campus neighborhood to accommodate students. While the process is by no means simple or stress-free, the University Apartments office seeks to provide guidance to students so that they can learn these important skills, be smart consumers, and grow in the process. The role of this office is not only functional, but educational. Parents are important partners in this process.