Memorial University’s Off-Campus Housing Office is providing services and supports for its students during the traditional housing crunch period leading up to the first day of classes.
The Off-Campus Housing Office keeps an up-to-date listing of rental properties around the city, provides academic and social programming and acts as a contact point for students seeking information about off-campus living year-round, but especially during the back-to-school housing rush of late August and early September.
“A lot of what we do here is to provide search assistance,” said Off-Campus Housing Co-ordinator Andrew Harvey. “Students and landlords can search for and post housing via our website, and we here at the office will go and physically inspect each property to confirm it is what’s advertised.”
In addition, off-campus housing co-ordinators can inform new renters about tenants’ rights and encourage them to sign leases and documents detailing rental agreements. The Off-Campus Housing Office works in close collaboration with the provincial government’s Residential Tenancies Division to ensure students have access to proper rental documentation.
While the number of calls the Off-Campus Housing Office has received from people unable to find housing has doubled since last year, it is not known whether the high volume of enquiries is from a lack of rental units available or because of an increased awareness of the office’s services.
However, co-ordinators at the Off-Campus Housing Office who attended a conference on the topic of affordable housing point to an increase in the general population on the Avalon Peninsula and a lack of new housing being built, including those with an increased capacity of built-in apartments, contributing to a shortage.
The Off-Campus Housing Office welcomes any and all questions from prospective student renters as well as landlords, and can provide information to help make the transition from living at home to living on campus easier. There will be an Off-Campus Fair at The Landing at the University Centre on Sept. 10 from 5-7 p.m. with information sessions and a Question and Answer period for anyone looking for advice. Prospective landlords are encouraged to register as soon as possible regarding posting their properties on the housing website, as all premises must be inspected before gaining approval.