Companies vs. private landlords: Narrowing your off-campus choices

*Editor’s note: This is the second of three installments in a series about off-campus housing. Look for the third installment in the next edition of the Scout.

 

Students have several options when choosing an off-campus residence.

Besides picking between an apartment or a house, and renting from a Bradley-owned company or an unaffiliated one, students must also decide between a rental company and a private owner.

Off-campus housing is available from both rental companies and private owners around campus, offering students choices before signing a lease.

Types of off-campus housing:

Rental Companies

A rental company is employed by an owner or corporation to maintain properties, and they keep each unit rented.

Pros

“[Rental companies] have guidelines and generally a staff including maintenance group for the tenant to contact with issues,” said Re/Max real estate agent Jackie Lynch.

Cons

“[The companies] really are just doing a job and are not always sympathetic or as concerned for the property,” Lynch said. “Sometimes they have attitudes and are not happy with their job situation.”

One popular rental company among students is the Bradley-affiliated St. James Apartment Complex. Junior theatre arts major Carrie Peiffer said when it came down to it, picking a rental company was the best choice for her versus a private landlord.

“Other places may seem cheaper from the rental price, but St. James is furnished, securely accessed and includes water, internet, cable and appliances,” she said. “When you add all the costs of that to the other landlords, the choice was easy.”

Private Owners

Private owners individually own properties, and maintain and rent each unit. A number of private owners can be found around campus, individually owning one or more properties.

Pros

“An owner should have more of a stake in the condition of the property and usually cares more about maintaining it,” Lynch said.

Cons

“There are ‘slumlords’ out there that don’t care how bad things get but are very interested in collecting their rent,” Lynch said. “The most important thing to ask an owner landlord is where they live, and if it’s not nearby whether or not they have a maintenance person in place for you to call.”

Junior elementary education major Liann Walgenbach lives in a rented duplex on Main Street. She said she likes her private owner, Atlas Waddle.

“We’re not renting through Bradley or a company like University Properties,” she said. “My ‘landlord’ lives in the other half of the house. He’s funny and old and goes by Sonny. I thought to check this place out because some older friends of mine were actually living here the past two years. I called up [Waddle], toured the place, told him we were interested and then signed the lease the next day to make sure we got it.”

Walgenbach said renting through a private owner was perfect for her.

“[My roommates and I] toured 8 or 9 apartments/ houses before remembering this one and to be honest, they were not in the best shape or not an ideal location [being a long walk from campus], and all of them were way too expensive for us,” she said.