Student demand strains off-campus housing availability


The Province

Danielle Hess

Over the past few years, new student housing complexes have popped up around Kent State University’s campus, but even with the increase in housing, some students still scrambled to find off-campus housing this fall.

Representatives from off-campus leasing offices said living spaces for the 2014-2015 school year filled quickly, with many complexes reaching capacity by early spring.

Kent State has a population of about 32,000 students, although only about 6,500 of them currently live on campus, said Patricia Dennison, assistant to the vice president of the Division of Enrollment Management and Student Affairs. The remaining student population commutes from home or lives in off-campus housing.

Rachel Molnar, a student leasing assistant at Eagles Landing apartments on Morris Road, said units were completely filled by February.

“Some freshmen and sophomores received permission from the university to move off-campus because there’s not a lot of space for them on campus,” Molnar said. “This year was probably the fastest we’ve ever filled up.”

Rent for the complex’s two-bedroom units ranges from around $760 to $815 a month.

The complex’s proximity to campus appeals to students, said Chris Miller, property manager at Eagles Landing.

“We’re close to the university and budget-oriented,” he said.

Miller said Eagles Landing has filled up quickly during each of the eight years he’s worked there, but he’s noticed an increase in students looking for a place to live once school has already started.

“I’ve seen more traffic of students looking for apartments once most students have already moved in, and that’s a new trend,” Miller said. “I think students currently looking for housing stems from procrastination, and not a lack of on-campus housing.”

Molnar said students should gather information on off-campus housing options as soon as possible, in order to provide their cosigner with the information they need.

A cosigner is an individual, often a parent, who signs on a lease with the renter. It is the cosigner’s legal obligation to pay a tenant’s rent if they’re unable to.

“It’s best to gather information as soon as possible because most students need a cosigner, so they should get information together to show their parents or cosigners,” Molnar said.

Morgan Lepore, resident services manager at The Province’s office on South Lincoln Street, said units at the complex were filled by April 2014.

One-bedroom units and studio apartments are the most popular housing choices among students renting at The Province, and the average rent for these units is $700 per month, Lepore said.

Michael Wiener, co-owner of Buckeye Parks Mgmt. on East Summit Street, which rents out multi-unit homes to Kent State students, said property showings began in January 2014.

The majority of properties filled by March, Wiener said.

Wiener said the area between front campus and the new courthouse on Main Street was a very popular housing area among students before the properties were sold to the university, and demolished to make room for the Esplanade extension.

“Properties near front campus usually fill first,” he said.

The leasing representatives said they agree students should look at housing options early on in order to find a housing option that suits them.

“Start looking very early,” Wiener said. “Let your landlord know if you want to renew your lease or if you want to look at different properties.”

Contact Danielle at [email protected].