Kirkwood partners with local landlords, but still has problems
Kirkwood Community College partners with several local apartment complexes to provide housing for its student population. However, many times students can run into issues that can cause them to have a bad experience with student housing.
There are issues with signing a lease, to pairing roommates, to management abuses. Many students have had bad experiences while at Kirkwood and the college can’t do anything since the landlords are private.
For example, students at Kirkwood Village are required to have a co-signer, which can leave non-traditional students or students whose parents have bad credit, in a bind. They could be out of luck finding housing.
Another example is when pairing roommates many landlords don’t have enough detail in their surveys they use to pair students. They leave out questions like thoughts about sexuality or gender issues, political views, or even religious views that can affect how students get along with their roommates.
Some students in the LGBTQ+ club on campus have had issues with homophobic roommates. Pride Club president Raven Davies, who uses he/him pronouns, said the college is not able to do anything at this time.
Roomsync, the app that the apartment complexes use is an algorithm and Davies said that even if they included the additional questions it likely wouldn’t make a difference because they could match on all of the other questions.
Davies even suggested that they could phrase the question as “Are you comfortable living with a gay or trans person?” but so far it hasn’t gone anywhere.
According to Davies, the college is not at fault, since it is a third party company or private landlord they can’t do anything to help, except for their leverage as their main income source.
Now it is understandable that some things don’t come to light until students move in together, and sometimes people can lie on the survey but having a more comprehensive survey would benefit all people involved. It would likely decrease the amount of students who are forced to sublet their apartments.
Another issue could be management with really high expectations for students. Expecting super quiet time and super clean apartments is unrealistic.
However, to give credit to the landlords, they are affordable and the majority of students don’t have horrible experiences. However, there are still enough issues to warrant Kirkwood to help them resolve these issues.
One way the college could fix this problem is to have a full time student housing coordinator at Kirkwood and use their leverage as their marketing agent to have the local apartments include more questions and be more flexible with student housing.
For help with housing issues contact Emily Grace in Student Life or the Dean of Students Office.
Liam is attending Kirkwood to major in Journalism and Mass Communications to transfer to the University of Iowa.