Op-Ed

Leases on residences come up on April 27. Photo: Ryan Pepper.

Current gap leaves students scrambling, adds unnecessary strain

Finding an apartment is never an easy task, especially if you’re a first-year student trying to juggle moving out of residence as well. At present, the University of Ottawa has a system in place that is only making that process more stressful for students. The current deadline for students with an eight-month residence to move out of U of O residences is noon on April 27.

This puts pressure on students to find a place to live from the time they have to leave residence to the time their lease on an apartment somewhere else in the city, with most leases beginning on May 1. This timeline needs to change, and is one way the university administration can live up to their promises of caring for students.

The majority of students are most likely already moved out by the date, which means the deadline is putting stress on just a few groups of students. Students that haven’t gone home for the summer, but are planning on it, probably haven’t moved out because they still have exams. The exam period only ends on April 26, so some students may have to go immediately from studying to packing up their homes, which is an incredibly stressful state of affairs.

The other group of students staying in residence past the deadline are those who are moving into an off-campus apartment. Those students don’t have anywhere to go for several days, as the vast majority of leases in Ottawa don’t start until May 1, unless they’re able to work out a special deal with an outgoing tenant or particularly nice landlord. This is another significant cause of stress, both emotional and financial, as students could easily be forced to shell out further funds for somewhere to stay.  

Adding three more days to the tenancy agreements wouldn’t be that much work for the university staff, who simply need time to clean rooms to be rented out throughout the summer. Extending leases on residence rooms wouldn’t prohibit students from moving out before the date. The university could easily send out a survey asking students for a rough idea when they will be moved out of residence, include the deadline, and go in after whatever date students provide to clean or sign new tenants.

The U of O spends a lot of time claiming that they care about the mental health and happiness of their students. Extending the length of leases on residence rooms is a simple way for the administration to put those beliefs into action. While funding for more student services is valuable, improving the lives of students can also just mean making small changes to ease the transition from on-campus life to off-campus housing, and ultimately ensure that students have a roof over their heads.