How To Find Cheap Student Housing 

Monday, July 11, 2016

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Living on a college or university student budget is tough; students will do almost anything for extra cash, including running a restaurant out of their dorm room (no joke). Next to tuition, the largest cost incurred by students is typically rent.


Whether students opt to live on or off-campus, their accommodation for the year will cost them thousands of dollars. There are, however, a few clever tactics students can employ, if they wish to be extra frugal.


1. Sublet Hopping:


Sublet hopping is the process of moving from short-term rental to short-term rental, filling in sublet openings to save money. This strategy can be extremely cost-effective, but immensely challenging to find sublet dates that line up according to the school year. Sublets are almost always cheaper than an actual standard rental rate, as students are looking to recuperate whatever money they can when their room is dormant for an extended period. It’s not uncommon for students to discount the actual rental rate by $100 or more per month to fill a sublet.


2. Last Minute Renting:


This strategy is a bit of a gamble, plus it won’t always pay off, so renters beware! Essentially this strategy is where a student waits until the very last minute to sign a lease, usually a week or two before school starts. Landlords who still have a vacant rental or room will often be much more open to rental rate negotiations, in order to fill the place. It’s not uncommon for landlords to knock down the rental rate quite a bit, to get a lease signed last minute. The downside here is that students won’t have as many options and the best rentals are typically taken first.


3. Lease Takeover/Last Minute Roommate:


Just like the last minute renting, this strategy is employed by waiting until the bitter end, when a group of students has one of their roommates drop out. Usually what happens is a group of students will sign a lease several months in advance, and one or more of the students have their plans changed, causing them to drop out of the lease. If the remaining students are responsible for the total rental rate (several liability), they will be very motivated to find a new roommate ASAP; plus will likely be willing to accept a smaller amount for rent. This situation can also apply to scenarios where a group of three students sign a lease for a 4-bedroom house, but are unable to find a fourth roommate before the start of the school year.


4. Renting Doubles:


A double is a room that two students share. Doubles aren’t as common in some areas; but in more competitive rental markets, it’s seen far more often. It’s kind of like being back in residence where most students share a room; however, off-campus doubles are significantly cheaper. Students can save an upwards of hundreds of dollars per month by splitting a room. The downside is that students lose some of their privacy, in exchange for cheaper rent.


5. Move Further Away From Campus:


Location is one of the most important features in student housing, which makes rentals far away from campus less desirable. To entice tenants to rentals which are farther away from campus, landlords will often offer cheaper lease rates than the cost of rentals across the street from campus. Just living a few miles away from campus can result in significant savings; just make sure that the transportation costs don’t offset the savings. Some schools may offer a free transit pass included with tuition, which would be beneficial in this scenario.


6. Free or Discounted Rent in Exchange for Help:


Not too long ago, there was an article discussing how college students were living rent-free at nursing homes, in exchange for entertaining the residents. While these free rent situations aren’t too common, we do periodically see free or highly discounted rent in exchange for such tasks as pet/house-sitting, child-care, routine housework, etc.


Needless to say, there are many options for students who are seeking to save money on their accommodations. One student went as far as trying to rent out a dorm-room on AirBnB; although in hindsight this probably wasn’t the smartest decision, since the student now faces expulsion for violating the residency agreement.

SEE ALSO: Bill Sharing In a Student House

The Team