When the University of Michigan canceled classes and moved to a virtual semester due to the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, students began looking to sublet their off-campus Ann Arbor houses and apartments. Students who lived in the dorms during the Fall 2020 semester also had to find alternative housing options when the University announced it would be reducing dorm capacity for the winter 2021 semester.
After noticing the uptick in the number of students attempting to sublease in Facebook groups, LSA sophomore Benjamin Givner developed Sublease Market, a website to sublease houses and apartments, in March 2020.
Sublease Market is a free resource where students can list the apartments, houses or rooms they are interested in subletting or look for a new sublease. On the website, students can filter their search by a number of factors, including rooms, location, price, utilities and others.
Giver said he noticed that everyone was posting on Facebook either looking for a sublease or looking to sublet, but they weren’t contacting each other.
“I just found that people needed some type of centralized subleasing space because that never existed before,” Givner said.
Givner said his intention with Sublease Market was to create a resource to help other students in a way he knew he could.
“It’s a housing hub for off-campus housing … and it’s created by a student, for students,” Givner said. “I want students to better connect with each other and I think that’s what it’s doing so far.”
Sublease Market includes listings in Ann Arbor, Bloomington, Ind., and Austin, Texas. Givner started to expand his website when he realized after speaking to his friend that students at other universities face the same challenges with housing on their campuses as well. Givner said he plans to expand Sublease Market to more college campus cities in the future.
“I want to serve students as best I can,” Givner said.
University alum Taylor Smith, who graduated in December 2020, used Sublease Market to list her apartment in Ann Arbor.
“I think it’s definitely something to check out either if you’re wanting to lease your place or just looking for a place,” Smith said. “It was really easy for people to be able to contact me through that.”
Smith successfully found a subleaser using Facebook but recommended Sublease Market to students who don’t have a Facebook or are looking for a more central resource for subleases.
“Not everyone’s on Facebook or feels comfortable using Facebook, so something like Sublease Market is a good alternative for some students to use,” Smith said.
Kinesiology sophomore Hannah Greshak used Sublease Market to list her apartment in January 2021. Greshak told The Daily she found an advertisement for Sublease Market on Facebook and decided to use the website rather than advertising on a Facebook page.
Greshak said she likes Sublease Market because of its professional appearance. All posts on Sublease Market must be approved, Greshak said, so the subleases hold more validity than posts on Facebook.
“I would definitely recommend Sublease Market,” Greshak said. “Especially for students if they don’t have Facebook, or if they’re looking for something specific because Sublease Market has the buildings separated by size, you can look at amenities, where they are, how many rooms, like everything is like all in that one place.”
Although Greshak has not found someone to sublet her apartment on Sublease Market, she said using a variety of different platforms to sublet helps and that this website has been useful to help connect with other students.
“My advice would be, do it early because it’s definitely tough to find a sublease,” Greshak said. “So do it early, put all the information as much information as you can, and try to reach the most amount of people.”
Daily News Contributor Anna Fifelski can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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