Housing agencies taking advantage of situation

For UW-Eau Claire students who have lived off campus before, it’s no secret that landing a place near the university for the following year can be challenging. It’s becoming more obvious as I continue my education here that the sooner students start thinking about signing, the better.

But how soon is too soon? In my opinion, I find it troubling that as I’m newly moved into my home for this school year, I’m already contemplating whether I should live there the following year or pick a new spot all together.

Ultimately, I don’t find it fair to the students. But who’s left accountable? I think the housing agencies are the ones most at fault. They are so eager to fill the space between Chippewa and Lake Streets because it’s the closest off-campus housing area to the university.

While this may be good for different agencies’s businesses, it’s leaving students in an uncomfortable position. They could enjoy their current home and wait to sign but if they wait too long and decide they don’t want to live in their current place anymore, they are at a big disadvantage since others have already been looking and signing for new housing.

Also, what if the roommate they have now turns out to be someone they’re not interested in living with the following year? What if they find out the place they thought was the diamond in the ruff actually has mold growing all through the walls? There are so many questions left in the balance.

Unfortunately for students, it’s too late by that time. They have already filled out the paperwork for the following year and signed an agreement saying they would stay where they are now. The reality is, housing agencies are taking advantage of their monopoly in the surrounding area.

For example, Clearwater Real Estate, a popular college housing agency in the Eau Claire area, already has a number of houses and apartments open to rent starting September 2014 up on their website www.cwree.com.

But why blame them? The university does something slightly similar. As incoming freshman apply for housing, it’s a first come, first serve basis. This, in theory, seems appropriate because those students had their plan already figured out.

But as more and more students apply and the dormitories fill up, the university continues accepting students. Eventually the dorms run out of room for these students who were accepted late and then they end up in the hotel across from the university and Clairemont Avenue.

Although I’ve never personally lived there and while it’s still a viable spot the university has laid out for students who decide late, I’ve heard it’s pretty disconnected from the university. The sparse number of students that I’ve talked to who live there or have lived there before have expressed continued disappointed with their living situation.

The unfortunate truth is while most students should be enjoying their newly rented houses or apartments early, they are left struggling to find their place for next year already. With the school year just beginning, I know that’s one of the last things I want to deal with right away.

It’s not only a prayer on behalf of those who are signing up so early, but the early housing process is leaving students susceptible to handing their futures away before they can truly appreciate the entirety of their current place.

It takes time to decide where you want to live for an entire year. I think housing agencies should be more willing to work around that. It’s only fair to the students who are trying to find a comfortable spot near the campus to live. I can say that I’m already a little worried about the 2014-2015 school year before the 2013-2014 year has even begun. Why can’t I enjoy my current spot while I have it?