The Oshkosh Student Association passed a bill Oct. 14 that brought UW Oshkosh into a partnership with a website known as Rent College Pads.
OSA Vice President Ian McDonald created the bill. In a Facebook post, he explained that RCP is an off-campus housing website that allows students to search for houses and apartments around campus. In the same Facebook post, McDonald stated the partnership will not be of any cost to the university.
“Landlords will pay RCP an annual fee to be on the website,” McDonald said. “RCP will then give UWO 10% of its profits that it makes off of the landlords, bringing in more revenue than our previous off-campus housing guide.”
Sponsors of this partnership include OSA President Jacob Banfield and OSA Speaker of the Assembly Zackary DeBroux.
“I sponsored this bill because I believe that off-campus housing is a tedious process and Rent College Pads will make this process easier than Oshkosh has ever seen,” DeBroux said.
DeBroux hopes for a positive reaction from students.
“There is so much transparency and accessibility with Rent College Pads that makes the off-campus housing process as easy as possible,” DeBroux said.
The partnership with RCP allows students to browse rental properties around UWO, along with potential roommates who are also students.
Steve Catlin, director of strategic partnerships at Rent College Pads, said via email that RCP has been partnered with UW-Milwaukee since April 2019 and UW-Eau Claire since September.
“This partnership also has some extra features like excluding properties which have recent code violations as well as only listing properties which have very few unresolved tenant complaints,” Catlin said. “It [is] the primary off-campus housing resource for students and parents in this market.”
McDonald explained via email some of the trouble UWO has with other rental property businesses in the area.
“OSA planned this because currently we have an off-campus housing guide where landlords are charged money to be put on and distributed to students,” McDonald said. “This guide did not hold landlords accountable as any landlord could just pay to be on the UWO Housing Guide even if they were mistreating students.”
RCP has a policy in place that will remove a landlord from their platform if they receive three valid complaints from students. OSA works side by side with Student Legal Services, which works with students who have trouble with these landlords.
McDonald also added that the website has other perks for students.
“Students can look for roommates among other students, track how long of a walk it is to campus and file a valid complaint against landlords who do not treat our students fairly,” McDonald said.
Catlin adds that he’s eager to be working with UWO in the future.
“We’re working with OSA to try to create the ideal off-campus search tool for students and excited to be collaborating with them to improve the UWO student experience long-term.”
Banfield hopes to have this partnership up and running before the end of spring semester.
The bill is now going to be sent to Chancellor Andrew Leavitt, Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Cheryl Green and Associate Vice Chancellor Jim Fletcher for further approval.
To learn more about off-campus housing, go to https://offcampushousing.uwosh.edu/.