The first month or so of returning to school is filled with many stressors for students, from beginning their classes, to getting involved on campus and just generally starting off another year of college smoothly.

What seems to be an unforeseen pressure put onto students earlier and earlier every year is the responsibility of finding off-campus housing. Students have the power to be informed as cautious consumers.

Across the Keene State campus, students are already feeling the crunch to sign leases on off-campus housing for the 2017-2018 academic year.

“I was stressed out because I was getting all these messages, and then every one of my friends signed a lease,” KSC sophomore Erika Kucks said. “I don’t want to sign one yet, I don’t even know who I’m living with,” Kucks said.

Kucks and sophomore Cassie Paradis said their biggest trouble with off-campus housing is having parents required to sign leases as guarantors.

“It sucks because we’re paying, but we have to get our parents to sign,” Kucks said. “My mom didn’t want to co-sign because she knows that everything at school [is] in [my] name so she said, ‘why do I have to do your housing?’”

“I didn’t want to get stuck somewhere I didn’t like because I haven’t been happy my freshman or sophomore year,” Paradis said.

Kucks and Paradise said they want to sign their new leases as soon as possible.

Someone who communicates with both landlords and students is the Coordinator of Student and Community Relations at Keene State College Robin Picard.

Samantha Moore / Art Director

Samantha Moore / Art Director

“Keene has a surplus of rentals. Unfortunately, a lot of landlords don’t transmit that message to students, and many students only know about the houses on the perimeter of the campus: Wilcox Terrace, Blake Street, Wilson [and] Davis and the landlords would have them believe that’s all there is,” Picard said.

Picard said some students are being asked to renew their leases from this year as early as Sept. 10, or risk having the unit rented out to someone else. She said the problem is that students have only lived in that unit for a few weeks.

“Students don’t know how the house weathers the winter yet, and many students might not know if they will still get along with their current tenants a year from now,” Picard said.

The intimidating prospect of braving the competitive housing market again for next year often drives students into early signage.

KSC senior Johnny Sabia said he believes there “is [a] really small pool of realtors to choose houses from.”

“When it came time to find a place for this year, we just had to pick whatever was easiest to sign for, not even your first choice,” Sabia said.

Sabia said he is frustrated with searching for off-campus housing.

“The whole process is just confusing,” he said. “Picking houses should be something enjoyable and exciting, not a cause of this much stress.”

Tasoulas Reality and Greenwald Reality were reached for comment but were unavailable.

Meridith King can be contacted at mking@kscequinox.com

Emma Ayotte can be contacted at eayotte@kscequinox.com