Downtown housing remains highly sought-after option

Server issues cause minor confusion with release of numbers to junior class

Kathryn Nicolai, Investigative News Editor

Off-campus lottery numbers were released on Monday, Oct. 16 and received by current juniors who had applied to live off-campus next year. Due to technological issues, not all juniors received these numbers at the same time.

Applicants to live off-campus were notified of their lottery number via email on Monday morning. Emails were sent out by the Office of Housing Services around 9 a.m., but due to server issues, not all students received the email, which caused confusion, according to Assistant Director of Housing Services Dan Remley. The Library & Information Technology department was able to fix the server problems by 12 p.m., enabling students to receive emails with their number. Landlords were emailed soon after with a list of eligible students.

Students who received numbers 1-66 are eligible to sign leases with landlords to secure their off-campus living situation for their senior year. Students who did not receive a number between 1-66 are still bound by the University’s four-year residency requirement. If students within the top 66 numbers block to live together or withdraw their applications, spots will open up to the following lottery number.

Two hundred students are permitted to live off-campus. This number has been contingent since 2015, said Remley, after the South Campus apartments were built. Before the construction of the apartments, more students were permitted to live off-campus.

This was the first year that the lottery numbers were non-binary on gender. Previously, half of the top 66 numbers were male and the other half was female.

According to Remley, the application process for off-campus housing occurs in the fall to allow the influx of junior students who study abroad in the spring semester to decide their senior fall housing before leaving the University. The deadline for students to submit off-campus leases is Feb. 1, which enables students who are abroad in the fall and return to the campus in the spring to see housing options in person if they choose to do so.

Remley noted that many students have preemptive negotiations with landlords that are then executed once they receive an eligible number. However, he urges students not to sign leases before they know their number, because it is a binding agreement to pay for housing.

Landlord Kevin Gardner, who owns five properties downtown, said he started receiving calls Monday morning around 10am, but more serious calls were received between noon and 1pm once students knew their lottery numbers. This year approximately 18 student expressed interest in Gardner’s properties.

Gardner acknowledged that many students “have their heart set on living downtown” and become especially disappointed when they don’t receive an eligible number.

The off-campus housing process “is more cumbersome than it used to be” said Gardner. He explained that there is high interest in properties before numbers are released, but students, rightfully so, are hesitant to sign leases before they get their numbers.

Abbie Winter ’19 is currently abroad in Australia and, due to the time change, received her number at 2 a.m. Australian time, which is 12 a.m. Eastern Standard time.

“After the people I will be living with got my lottery number, they took care of the landlord and lease-signing business,” Winter said. The landlord later reached out to Winter to sign the lease. “I was pretty non-involved.”

Emily Heydt ’19 received the email with her number at 10 a.m., and reached out to landlords immediately thereafter.

Nick Stephani ’19, who plans to live off-campus next year, thinks that all seniors should have, but do not have, the opportunity to live off-campus before entering the real world.

“Because of the selective system they have in place and only having approved houses to live in, it allows the prices to be jacked way up out of proportion. Not everyone wants to or can take on this financial burden,” Stephani said.

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