With the spring semester around the corner, many second-year students have started their search for off-campus housing.

Some students are willing to pay the extra dollar for what they see as important, and landlords are willing to provide those services for a price.

Foremost on student’s minds is price. Sophomore house hunter Kelsey Caron has a limit, “Six hundred bucks is way too much, four hundred would be ideal but all of the houses close to campus are over six hundred without heat,” the sophomore claimed. The distance from campus can affect the rent for some apartments.

Cory Shepherd of Shepherd’s College Rentals acknowledged that rent is higher as you get closer to campus, “The first three blocks from campus are about seventy-five bucks more per person per month than ones that are middle walking distance,” he explained.

Some students are willing to take the walk for less rent.

“I’d rather pay less and be farther away, walking isn’t that terrible and if it’s bad out I could just get a ride,” sophomore Corinne Allen said.

But, not all landlords agree on the distance charges. “It’s what the market bares. If you have a house that’s far away from campus you’re not going to be able to get prime money for it,” Trevor Grauer of Keene Cribs said.

For Grauer, utilities vary by lease as well. “The tenant is the biggest variable when it comes to utility costs. If you put a mini-fridge in every room, crank the heat and leave the lights on, obviously you’re going to pay more,” he said.

For Allen, the inclusion of utilities is an important part of the apartment search. “The only thing I’d rather not have included is Internet and cable, I don’t know if I want cable and paying for something I don’t want is stupid,” she said.

Renter’s insurance is also something that landlords and student renters are interested in.

“I have two cats and any place I rent needs to allow kitties. I don’t want to pay extra so I’ll tell the landlord right away,” Caron said.

Grauer and Shepherd disagree on the issue of pets.

Shepherd’s pet policy is, “they’re [the renters] going to have pets. I can yell at them for the pets they have, or I can realize it’s no big deal. I’ve only found the worst a pet can do is about a hundred bucks,” Shepherd said.

But not so for much Grauer and Keene Cribs, “we don’t allow pets in any of our rentals,” he said.

However, both landlords agree on renter’s insurance.

“We highly advise getting it. You can go through any company, we don’t recommend one over the other,” Grauer said.

Shepherd sends out an information packet with the lease, “It has the city housing code, a lead paint warning and urging renter’s insurance.”

The inevitable question about parties is on the mind of a landlord renting in a college town.

Grauer’s policy is simple, “the tenants are responsible for any damage to the house or the property or any fines they incur. Everything is typically outlined in the lease, as far as for things they can or cannot do but not everyone abides by that,” he said.

Shepherd agreed, “I’m not the disciplinarian, as a matter of fact there is very little I can do unless they are violating the lease or causing substantial property damage. Usually it’s the police and school who get involved.”

Not all students are going to party, though. Caron said she is one of them, “I’m a nursing major, I can’t throw big parties or anything like that,” she said.

For Grauer, he’s never had to evict a tenant for partying, but he has for financial reasons.

“Never had a full-blown eviction for partying, just money. And typically if they’re not paying rent, the other roommates don’t want them in the house anyway. It’s usually kids who get involved in drugs or turn into a total nuisance,” he said.

It’s about being sensible to Shepherd, “I like the regular amount of partying, and if you get in trouble, take it easy for awhile.”

The off-campus renting process varies as much for students as it does for landlords, as Grauer said, “It varies by tenant and apartment.”


Graham Rissel can be contacted at grissel@ksc.keene.edu

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