Nearly eight times as many students replied to the Undergraduate Student Government’s annual survey about landlords and off-campus housing this year than last, but some landlords still question the guide’s validity.
“This is a huge improvement. Last year we only received 149 responses,” said Bryan Ashton, USG director of Student Life.
The group will send out its 2010 Off-Campus Renters Guide to all students today via e-mail, based on 1,154 responses from students who live off-campus.
“This project is a good way to keep landlords and realtors honest and to make sure that they are serving the students’ best interest,” said USG President Micah Kamrass.
The guide compares students’ satisfaction with off-campus realtors that received 15 or more responses to the survey, which was sent to 5,000 off-campus students.
“The key is that we get enough responses about a certain landlord,” said Matt Couch, associate director of Student Life. “For the majority of the results, I think it gives an honest representation.”
The renters guide is broken up into three categories: maintenance, property and rent.
The maintenance section looks at the landlords’ responses to concerns and emergencies.
The average off-campus rent per person is between $350 and $450 a month, according to the survey.
The landlord with the most expensive rent was University Manors, followed by Buckeye Real Estate, according to the survey. Kohr Royer Griffith reportedly had the cheapest rent, with some respondents paying between $151 and $200 a month.
“I think the No. 1 concern for most students is rent,” Kamrass said.
Josh Pladers, a third-year in finance, disagreed.
“Price is not an issue,” Pladers said. “I’m more interested in how nice the place is.”
The property section of the guide compares parking, safety and the overall condition of the facilities.
“A lot of campus housing isn’t in great condition, so besides location, that’s what I care about,” said Andrew Nunez, a second-year in sports and leisure studies.
The last section of the survey asked the question, “Would you rent from them in the future?”
Pella Company had the highest percentage of “Yes” responses, with 79.1 percent, while Property Management had the highest percentage of “No” responses, with 82.6 percent of respondents saying they would not rent from Property Management again.
USG compiles the data and ranks the realtors overall based on a combination of the categories. The highest-ranking for overall performance was Holiday House, and the lowest-ranking for overall performance was Property Management.
Property Management landlord Jack Beatley questioned the integrity of the guide.
“The questions on the survey are completely unclear,” Beatley said. “USG is working on having all sophomores live on campus, and they use this guide as a way to fulfill their agenda.”
The guide went out two months earlier than it has in previous years because students are beginning the off-campus housing search earlier, officials said.
“Students are already looking at places to live, so the sooner this goes out, the more people will utilize it,” Kamrass said.
The survey is also significantly shorter than it has been in the past, Couch said.
“It still asks the right questions but now it’s more likely to be completed,” Couch said.
Also new to the guide are student comments listed under every landlord with 15 more responses.
“Some are positive and some are negative,” Kamrass said. “But these are important because this is what the statistics can’t tell you.”
USG welcomes feedback from students so the guide can improve each year, Couch said.
“It’s a good project for USG because it’s obviously something that the university administration cannot do,” Couch said. “It has to be a student-driven project.”
The project was designed as a way for students to help students.
“I hope that students use the guide to make informed decisions on where to live next year,” Kamrass said. “We want them to save some money and live in a quality and safe residence.”