Students, landlord talk about leasing expecations

The Jardine Apartments parking lot on March 12, 2017. (File Photo by Logan Wassall | The Collegian)

It is that time of year again when students scan Manhattan for a place to call home. For some students, it is a completely new experience, while for others it is just another year.

Natalie Wolfe, sophomore in advertising, is moving out of her sorority house and will be living on her own for the first time. Wolfe said she is looking forward to change.

“Living with over 70 people can be a headache sometimes,” Wolfe said. “It’ll be nice to only have three roommates.”

The hunt for a house did not take long for Wolfe and her roommates; they found one in November.

“My roommates just did a Google search, (then) called,” Wolfe said. “We looked at it and liked it. That was it really.”

Wolfe said she was looking for space when viewing potential homes. Transitioning from a sorority house, she did not have as much space as she had wanted.

“A big enough room to have your own space was my biggest thing,” Wolfe said. “And a good kitchen.”

Scott Ridder, property owner and landlord, said most students look for the same things.

“Affordable rent, pet-friendly and landlords that’ll take care of their issues,” Ridder said. “Because a lot of landlords will blow them off.”

Ridder has been renting homes in Manhattan for 20 years. He owns three apartment buildings, three duplexes and two houses, as well as Ace Hardware.

Ridder said one thing students never consider when renting homes is parking. He has had trouble with tenants not knowing where to park or who can park where in the past, but most of his problems with tenants have been a lack of knowledge of houses and problems with houses. He said he gets called to fix something as simple as flipping a switch on or off, and he also finds unusual objects going down the drain, such as condoms.

Nonetheless, Ridder said he has had a positive experience with students and he will keep renting to students.

While some are just finding a home, others have settled in. Ross Werth, junior in chemical engineering, and roommate Brady Kenton, senior in biology, have been living together in the same place for three years.

“The rent is pretty reasonable compared to all the places around,” Werth said. “But it’s a really nice place, and it’s a four bed, four bath so we all have our own space.”

While they live in a four bedroom house, Werth and Kenton are the only ones who have lived in it consistently.

“It’s been me and Ross the whole time,” Kenton said. “Then we’ve had two friends who moved out first, and then we had a girl who was supposed to live with us that ended up not, but she still signed the contract.”

Werth and Kenton said finding roommates to fill in has been their biggest challenge.

“It’s been a stressful point multiple times,” Werth said. “I think we’ve had about three, four, five roommates back out on us in the last year.”

Werth said when they were looking for a home, cleanliness was a priority.

“I think the biggest thing for us was a place with enough space, because at the time there were four of us,” Werth said. “And then obviously a landlord that we could get along with, and a clean place.”

Werth and Kenton’s house is short walk to Aggieville, but they both said that was not important to them three years ago.

“I think being close to campus was the bigger deal at that point,” Kenton said. “Now being closer to Aggieville is just kind of a plus.”

It might be the season to find a new place to live, but Ridder said it has been a slow year so far for his properties, which is unusual.

“I don’t know if it’s the kids ain’t as energetic as they used to be,” Ridder said. “Usually I have a ton of people call, and we haven’t had many calls and neither have the other landlords in town.”

Whether business is booming or not, students will find a place to call home, even those who are first-timers.

“(Renting) will be totally new to me,” Wolfe said. “I’m ready though. It should be fun.”