Francisco Cintron is not sure where he is going to live next year.
Cintron is one of 80 Ohio University upperclassmen and to-be upperclassmen that were notified over break that they would not be able to live on campus next year, leaving them looking for housing late in the game.
“Their options would be limited at this point,” Elizabeth Fahrion, employee of Bobcat Rentals, said about the students looking for apartments late in the season considering the business is at its busiest with lease signing from August to September. She added that four out of the total 115 Bobcat Rentals properties are still available for rent.
Last Monday, Jneanne Hacker, director for Business Operations and Conference Services, emailed some students to inform them that the university is unable to offer them housing for the 2016-17 academic year.
“Upon reviewing all applications submitted from students who are eligible to reside off campus but expressed an interest to return to campus fall semester, I regret to inform you that we are unable to offer housing at this time,” Hacker said in the e-mail.
An initial email was sent to 3,216 students on Nov. 10 explaining space would be limited for the next academic year. Only 121 students completed an “Intent to Return” Application, Pete Trentacoste, executive director of residential housing, said.
Of the 121 applicants, 41 were approved for on-campus living, Trentacoste said. The other 80 upperclassmen received the email from Hacker.
“At the moment I really don’t have any housing plans for next year,” Cintron, a sophomore studying history, said. “(The email) pretty much limited my options a bit.”
Cintron received the email from Hacker after applying for on-campus housing as a backup if he didn’t find housing off-campus.
The housing restriction sprung up due to planned renovations for Jefferson Hall, which will take 309 spaces out of play, Trentacoste said.
“I pretty much understand it’s complicated,” Cintron said.
Because OU requires students to reside on campus for four semesters, spaces had to be cut from the upperclassmen, Trentacoste said.
“If we did not cap the number of upperclass students allowed to stay on campus next year we could find ourselves unable to meet the needs of our first and second year students,” he said.
Though housing is tight for the 2016-2017 academic year, Trentacoste said in an email “there are no plans at this time to significantly expand on-campus housing capacity.”
“The majority of students who were denied did not provide information regarding why residing on campus is important and how they might benefit from doing so,” Trentacoste said in an email. “Therefore, the questions on the appeal process were selected to ensure that we had an understanding of why a student might benefit academically, socially, or financially from living on campus and how they will continue to be successful by doing so.”
Students receiving the email have the option of appealing the decision by sending in answers to five questions, according to the email from Hacker. The questions center around why the student wishes to live on campus.
Students were also advised they could call Hacker directly.
“I might (appeal) if I feel like my off-campus housing is falling apart and I might not have anything,” Cintron said.
Cintron is currently looking for a place to live outside of the residence halls.
Trentacoste added that students not approved for housing or who missed the deadline could be added to a waitlist.
“We will be working with the Office of Off-Campus Living to coordinate an off campus resource fair and will invite local landlords and apartment complex representatives to attend,” he said in an email.
Debbie Allen, administrative assistant at L’Heureux Properties, said only three out of the 75 properties owned by the business are still available for rent in the 2016-17 academic year. She added that 90 percent of the properties are grabbed up by the end of September.
That is the case for many rental companies around Athens.
Athens Ohio Rentals has no more rooms available out of its 50 units with a total of 125 bedrooms, owner Scott Hunter said. The first three weeks of school is the peak time for signing leases, Hunter said.
Brianna Sepulveda, the leasing agent at TSI Housing, said although the biggest rush is in September, “it’s normal” for students to still be looking for housing. TSI housing still has 12 two-bedroom apartments and four one-bedroom apartments, out of its almost 80 properties, up for rent, Sepulveda said.