Rented out of house and home

After Spring Break, the semester will fly by, and students may ask, “Where going to live next school year?” If we don’t intend to stay in our current living situations, we have to take initiative to change them. Pulling up Craigslist every day, talking with friends on their way out the door, or driving through desired neighborhoods are among the things I’ve done the past few weeks.

Hunting for living spaces this time of the year is a heavy Catch-22. Many of us are locked into contracts until just before the fall 2012 semester starts. Others head home for the summer, upwards of an hour away from Kansas City, and won’t be able to visually look at potential living spaces.

This year I ended up living in Oak Place Apartments. Six months prior to moving to KC in spring 2011, my intention was to live off-campus. As the first day of school drew closer, I had no time left to pay a visit and find a place to rent. My last resort was to apply for campus housing, which is how I landed in an obscenely pricey two-bedroom apartment. I’m mostly content with this last-minute decision.

Oak Place offers excellent incentives, but the cost has quickly racked up my overall college expenses.

The issue isn’t finding a place to rent. In fact, I’ve found more than a dozen worthwhile places and toured several. The real issue is that most renters won’t hold off renting out a home or apartment simply because I can’t move in until the end of summer when my contract with Oak Place expires. Most students’ contracts end just before the next semester.

However, since the house is already on the market, the realtor wants to sign contracts and get tenants inside as soon as possible.

Fortunately, I’ve run into realtors who understand this plight. They’ve offered some pricey solutions, but they could work in the long run. I’ve discussed paying double deposits on places that would otherwise be scooped up.

However, my discomfort hasn’t ceased, because I’m still left without a guaranteed residence this upcoming school year. As summer approaches, I will be packing up my current apartment, heading four hours away to my hometown, and having minimal access to find a new place to live in KC.

Here’s the cherry topper: I’m already hashing out money to cancel my current apartment contract. In my last minute panic to find a place to live during my first semester, I requested the first available space in Oak Place. To my dismay, I later discovered two-bedroom apartments only have 12-month leases, meaning I’m expected to live there this summer.

Due to chaos in the leasing office and some apathetic conversations with people who can negotiate this situation, the only viable solution is to submit a cancellation form. The cost of ending my contract is one month’s rent. I have to hash out an additional $815 to forfeit an apartment I ultimately didn’t want.

Being stuck in a game of time constraints and limited resources is why I am in this predicament now. However, with the current obstacles in my endeavor to find new housing, I’m concerned it may be unavoidable to settle for less.

rbrooks@unews.com

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