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September 29, 2015

New Service Aims to Streamline Off-Campus Housing Search

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Rent College Pads, a new service that works with students and landlords around college campuses to facilitate off campus housing searches,  launched at Cornell Sept. 9.

Though only launched this month at Cornell, Rent College Pads already has 2,000 Cornell students registered to their website, which concentrates listings and subleases for college students. Cornell students currently have access to listings for over 100 different properties, according to Jeremy Schmidt, director of marketing for Rent College Pads.

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Students can browse listings on Rent College Pads to find off-campus housing based on factors that include number of bedrooms, price and extra features.

Cornell students have long faced problems with off campus housing. In the past, students have camped out overnight to secure off campus housing leases in a first come first served basis.

According to Schmidt, Rent College Pads hopes to help students combat this problem.

“We don’t want students to have to camp out around the block for a lease,” Schmidt said. “We’re just trying to help out and make a resource that is easy to use.”

The Rent College Pads website allows students to go online and see all of the listings on a map of the area. Students can then search for housing based on the number of bedrooms, price and extra features they are looking for. Once students have found a listing they are interested in, they are able to contact landlords through the website.

“It puts all of the information in one spot,” added Schmidt.

Landlords in the Ithaca area are hoping that this service will quell the anxiety students face about housing. Karla Terry, whose family owns West Shore Apartments, said  she knows that students feel rushed to get into an apartment.

“One issue is the fear that there isn’t going to be enough apartments. That is not valid. There is enough housing,” Terry said.

Rent College Pads reached out to many local companies including West Shore Apartments, which has operated in the area since 1967, according to Terry. She said that she first received a letter in the mail before being further contacted and has been very happy with their new partnership so far.

“It’s been great. I found the initial follow up from everyone has been great,” Terry said. “Any question is quickly followed up. It seems to be easy for students to access.”

In addition to listings from landlords, students will also be able to sublet their apartments using the website. Students can also use the source to find roommates and dates for an open house, according to the website.

Of the new students using Rent College Pads, Stephanie Yiu ’18 said she found the site as a useful resource she will use in the future.

“The website was pretty easy to use, and it was nice to be able to see where the different apartments are located,” she said. “Usually when I visit other sites, I have to open Google Maps and type in each address.”

Prior to launching the site, Schmidt said Rent College Pads took some time to become acquainted with the area. An employee from the company flew out to Ithaca to look at properties and speak with landlords to help foster partnerships.

As the year goes on, Rent College Pads hopes to do more at Cornell and at other campuses. By the middle of October, Rent College Pads will have expanded to 30 campuses, according to Schmidt. In addition, he said the company is looking to have a housing fair at Cornell as well as other informational activities for students.

“We want to get as many students using the site as possible,” Schmidt said. “The more we can help out, and the more we can integrate ourselves in the community, we will be able to help as many students as we can.”

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