The Advance-Titan

Shorter leases would help students

Wish I could have a bit off the top of my lease.Ethan Uslabar | The Advance-Titan

After sophomore year, many college students can’t wait to live off-campus, but various factors can hinder their efforts to move. One of the most glaring hindrances is having to deal with a yearlong lease when you’re only going to be living there during the academic year.

Students shouldn’t have to struggle to find a subleaser just for the summer months, when landlords can just change the leases to last for a shorter time frame.

Senior student Katherine Vopal said she thinks it’s rough for students to have to pay rent for months they aren’t living in their apartment in Oshkosh.

“There are lots of students who go home for the summer, but because of their lease they either have to find a subleaser or pay for rent while they don’t live there,” Vopal said. “Looking at the life of a college student, school year leases would work out perfectly for students who don’t plan on staying in Oshkosh over the summer.”

This struggle to find subleasers is made even more difficult by the fact that most students go back home for the summer and have no need to stay in Oshkosh outside of the school year.

One pitfall of leases being shortened would be that prices to rent would have to increase in order to keep their revenue the same. The higher rent prices could cause fewer students to be able to afford to live off-campus.

This price increase could be lessened with rentals having the option of nine- or 12-month leases so students have options for length of leases. Anyone who would be staying the summer would have the choice to have 12-month leases.

In order to have more choices, there could not only be nine- and 12-month lease options, there could be more varied lease length choices. There could be leases that go for six months or fewer for students who are graduating early and won’t be staying for an entire academic year. However, these shortened leases would have to cost more than the nine- or 12-month leases per month.

Senior Allison Davis said since she’s graduating this December, she would prefer to have a lease that would allow her to not worry about finding a subleaser for the spring.

“As a December graduate at UW Oshkosh, I am definitely in support of six month leases as opposed to an entire year,” Davis said. “I have applied for a job that is not even in Wisconsin and so instead of leasing a house in Oshkosh I moved in with a friend in Berlin, Wisconsin, and have nearly a 30-minute commute to campus every day.”

Davis continued that she understood why landlords would be worried about shorter leases causing them to have fewer tenants or empty apartments after a tenant moves out in the fall.

“I understand from a landlords perspective that they do not want empty rooms in the spring, but if there was an agreement, or mechanism in place to ensure there would be tenants in the spring to replace the December graduates, this would not be an issue,” Davis said. “It is difficult enough finishing a final semester at university, but then to have to find a sublet on a Facebook page or eat the cost and pay for rent when you are not even in the room is an added burden.”

If leases only ran through the academic school year, it would prevent more troubles that can arise when a student moves to a new place for the new year. As Vopal stated, there can be an overlap where you’re paying for two leases at once. Or worse, sometimes you don’t have a house before your new lease starts.

“The problem is some leases start in June and some start in September, so if you were to switch companies, there might be an overlap,” Vopal said. “Also leases that start in September end halfway through August, leaving you homeless for a week before you can move into your next place on the first. [This] is convenient for landlords so they can get the place ready for the next people, but inconvenient for students who won’t have a place to live.”

These changes of lease length will help students in the long run have less stress about renting and allow them to not worry about having to find subleasers.

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Independent Student Newspaper of the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh
Shorter leases would help students