Universities as Landlords…and Tenants

The New York Sun ran an article this week on the issue of housing New York’s increasing college student population. With over 100 post-high school educational institutions in the 5 boroughs, New York hosts approximately half a million college students each year and this number is only set to grow. Housing students is a challenge, as many are priced out of the rental market in the neighborhoods close to their schools and this can lead to students cramming 2, 3 or more people in a single bedroom and housing costs greatly add to the financial burden of higher education.

At some schools, this issue is even more complex as the competition for housing is so fierce that school-sponsored housing becomes subject to the same market forces and high prices as the free rental market. Some dormitory housing is no more affordable than housing off campus and may even end up costing more due to restrictions on room-sharing, the cost of meal plans and restaurant food that are necessary in the absence of adequate kitchens, the cost of moving rooms every year, storing student belongings over the summer, etc.

The latest attempted solution to the need for student housing is also being cast as a solution for the glut of empty condos that can be found in some parts of the city. Condo development projects are being switched half-way through into dorms, or a certain percentage of the project is allotted for student housing. In this scenario, the University becomes both a tenant and a landlord–tenant to the developer and landlord to the students. Alternately, schools are also using the same firms that develop condominium projects to build new dormitories.


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About Me

Michelle Erfer is a licensed Real Estate Salesperson in New York City.
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