As fall descends, the housing craze begins. This afternoon, the
Michigan Union will be crowded by anxious first-time renters, savvy
repeat residents and onlookers curious about housing prospects for
next year.

Today’s housing fair will be held in the Union today from
1:30 to 5 p.m. Various landlord and housing advocacy groups will be
represented.

However, some students said they have not found the fair to be
beneficial in the past.

“The housing fair was not particularly helpful,”
said RC junior Sarah Seiter, who said newspaper housing listings
were more helpful.

Some freshman can’t wait for their first chance to escape
residence hall life.

“I’m definitely excited about getting out of the
dorms, and specifically off of North Campus,” LSA freshman
Chloe Roselander-Ginn said. “We’ve been going to
management companies, and those have been helpful.”

Other students, particularly those in the College of Engineering
or the School of Art and Design, said they plan on staying on North
Campus in order to be closer to their classes.

Regardless of where students want to live, they need to start
looking early if they want their top housing choice, and there are
many resources available to students looking for housing
information.

Rent.com, an independent nation-wide housing website, holds
advertisements for those seeking to lease property. Another site
that includes housing information is Arborweb.com. The
University’s housing website, www.housing.umich.edu, includes
information for both on and off-campus housing.

But Roselander-Ginn said to make sure to read a rental lease
carefully. Students have complained that rental leases are a
problem in Ann Arbor.

“A group of about nine of my friends were about to sign
the lease for a house, until we realized that the lease was for 12
months instead of nine. That deal sort of fell through,”
Roselander-Ginn said.

For many students, high rent prices in Ann Arbor are also a
problem. “For the kinds of prices some landlords charge,
you’d think you were renting in New York,” Seiter
said.

Graduate students in particular have reported problems with
finding housing. Rackham student John Ku said he heard it could be
difficult to find housing, but eventually found an apartment.

“I was told fairly soon that I shouldn’t expect
housing, so I just went to the housing website and found a good
apartment,” Ku said. “I first got a sublet for the
summer, then I searched for a place for the fall. The
school’s housing website was very helpful.”

The Ann Arbor City Council has considered a proposal concerning
Accessory Dwelling Units which would allow home-owners to rent out
private rooms in their houses.

“If this bill were to pass, it would slightly relieve the
pressure that graduate students are faced with in finding
housing.” Seiter said.

The ADU proposal would provide additional housing options, but
some feel they are just a start.

“Graduate student housing needs are a problem. As
full-paying students of the University, they are an equal part of
the community. ADUs are a step in the right direction, and it not
only helps graduate students, but provides another source of income
for people in the community,” said LSA senior Jenny Nathan,
vice president of the Michigan Student Assembly.

In order to combat the lack of student housing, the University
is building a new residence hall on the current site of the Frieze
Building, which is hoped to provide housing for about 500 students.
The dorm is not expected not be finished until 2006.

Perhaps the most important advice for students in finding
housing is to keep their eyes peeled.

“I used the housing website a lot, but I ended up finding
a place from a flyer,” Ku said.

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