Rutgers housing fair prepares students for off-campus living
More than 10,000 students occupy off-campus houses and apartments
Between 10 and 12 thousand Rutgers students live in the off-campus community.
On Monday, Rutgers Off-Campus Living & Community Partnerships hosted an "Off-Campus Housing Fair." Students were invited to stop by the One-Stop Shop to kick-off their housing search, according to the .
In attendance were landlords and representatives from Premier Properties of New Brunswick, RU Living, Birchwood Terrace apartments, 66 Sicard St. apartments, Rockoff Hall, Student Legal Services, the City of New Brunswick’s Rent Control Office and more, all set up to talk with and advise students in regard to their future housing aspirations.
“We want students to understand what their rights are as tenants and what their responsibilities are as community members,” said Kerri Willson, director of Off-Campus Living & Community Partnerships.
She said the Partnership hosts events like this, because it is important for students to get the opportunity to begin looking for housing while also getting connected with the resources available to them. These resources include organizations like Student Legal Services and New Brunswick’s Rent Control Office, both of which educate students, help them find housing that meets their needs and help them find a safe and enjoyable off-campus living experience.
The Rent Control Office is a program run by the City of New Brunswick and is open to all residents, not just students, Willson said. It is a resource to any residents looking for housing that are seeking more information on the rent and maximum occupancy of a residence.
“That means the city determines how many people can live in that dwelling and the maximum amount of rent that can be charged by the property owner,” she said.
Willson also said that some of the newer apartments are not under rent control. She said this might be able to impact pricing, but the cost is still mainly dependent on what the student is looking for.
The Rent Control Office is an important service because before a student enters into a lease agreement it benefits them to be aware of what they are signing up for. By already connecting with the office, they know they can later call in with their specific dwelling and get information that allows them to make a more educated decision, she said.
“Because unfortunately there are some property owners out there who can take advantage of students from time to time and so (if) a student doesn’t know that this exists, the house could be zoned for six people and they are told eight people can live there,” Willson said. "And you know the landlord is making more money on those students than really he or she should be."
Willson said moving off-campus provides students with a further sense of personal freedom, as they become independent of the rules of their parent’s home and the policies that come with living in the on-campus residence halls.
While some students may be looking forward to this new independence, she said that rules still exist when living off-campus and thinking otherwise is a misconception. There are rules regarding noise and trash, for example, which students moving to the off-campus community are expected to follow.
“I think it’s important for students to understand that they are living in a community with other people who may not be students, and so they might not have the same student lifestyle,” Willson said.