The spring semester at Western Michigan University has come again and for some students that brings decisions to make regarding housing for next year.
Some students will return to the dorms for sake of convenience, but for those thinking about moving off campus, or for those who are not happy with their current living arrangements, it is time to start looking around. Whether the top choice is Copper Beach, Campus Court, the Arboretum or any of the many other places to rent, space is filling up quickly.
“We start getting busy in January,” said Tami Parsons, the manager of Hidden Hills Apartments. “We are about 32 percent pre-leased for next year at this point and last year we were 92 percent booked by the beginning of May, so we’re expecting a fair amount of traffic between now and the end of the semester.”
Hidden Hills, which is located about a mile from campus, will also likely be a prime choice for students in the apartment hunt, but no prospective resident should enter into a lease without first knowing the answers to a few key questions.
Parsons listed rent and utilities, distance from campus, availability of public transportation, resident and visitor parking, start and end dates of the lease, moving in early, apartment complex security, pet-friendliness, and special perks of the complex ranging from fitness centers to pools, among the top issues that most prospective residents ask about during tours of the Hidden Hills complex.
Internet quality, cable service, apartment furnishing, laundry, smoking regulations, average noise levels, maintenance, and rules about sub-leasing are other issues that those who are currently apartment hunting should keep in mind to ask landlords about before signing a lease.
Students looking to move off campus for the 2012-2013 school year will probably want to start their search sooner rather than later, as apartment availability can tend to change from year to year.
Returning residents are a big wild card and can impact everything from how fast leasing spaces go to the availability of certain sizes of apartment units.
“Everything fluctuates from year to year,” Parsons said. “We usually have an average of about one third of our residents who choose to come back the next year.”
Although apartment space goes quickly, prospective residents should be sure to find a place where they feel comfortable and happy.
Rent rates for all Kalamazoo apartment complexes tend to increase with every new leasing year, but most places offer rent deals to their returning residents. This past December, Hidden Hills offered their residents a chance to renew their lease early without any increase in rates for the following year, plus a $100 rent credit towards their current lease.
Students interested in living off campus should call local complexes to obtain more information and to set up tours.