Recent news stories have brought the off-campus apartment market into the limelight, highlighting that over recent years students have been exposed to the dangers caused by the housing shortage. With universities in Boston accepting more and more students every year, housing both on and off campus cannot keep up.
As a result of less off-campus housing inventory, college students have begun to make sacrifices. Students are now living in small, cheap, and run-down apartments to save money as financial pressures continue to grow on students. Bedbugs, rodents, and additional hazards have become more common news stories due to the state of some off-campus apartments.
With high demand and low inventory, landlords no longer have to compete to find customers and don't feel the same pressures to update their properties. In an editorial by the Boston Globe titled 'Student Apartments Expose Ravages of Housing Shortages,' it was said "As housing units come up for sale, deep-pocketed landlords whose business models involve skimping on maintenance, and packing in tenants beyond what the law allows, can easily outbid individual families or more conscientious investors." Over the last few months it has becoming increasingly difficult to go without seeing a story in the news about an apartment fire, hazardous apartment conditions, and overcrowding because of what's going on in the off-campus apartment market.
So, what is needed when moving forward?
- City inspectors will need to step up more than before. More visits are needed to apartments and tickets will be given for safety code violations.
- Universities should help guide students and their families in the direction of safe off-campus housing. Some universities already do a good job at this.
- More housing. This won't happen overnight, but more housing is needed in Boston to keep up with the demand.
- Use a rental agent. The Charles Realty's rental agents went to schools in the Boston area and know the off-campus apartment market. They can guide students to the right landlord and safe housing.
Sources: Student apartments expose ravages of housing shortage A House Jammed with Students, a Life of Promise Lost Overcrowded and at Risk: A Way of Life and, Sometimes, Death for Student Tenants A Devastating Mismatch: City vs. Scofflaw Landlords