Jacob Jou ’06 has a to-do list posted next to his computer. The list includes going to a teaching assistant’s office hours and attending a meeting with the director of undergraduate studies of his major. Among these chores is the one Jou is most preoccupied with: finding a sublet to live in this summer.
With only three weeks left until summer, students with off-campus housing to sublet are scrambling to find students like Jou who are staying in New Haven this summer and looking for a place to live. For almost all Yale graduate students, as well as a number of undergraduates, trying to sublet their off-campus living space, supply appears to outstrip demand, creating the opposite of a housing crunch for the summer. While undergraduates who want to live off-campus during the school year must start house-hunting early in the year, summer renters are so in demand that they can put off decision making for as long as they are comfortable not having secured a living arrangement.
Hauke Luebben GRD ’05 said the oversupply of apartments available for sublet this summer has made it difficult for him to find a renter for his three-bedroom apartment. Luebben, who will be in Germany for the summer, said while he has received quite a few calls and even a few visits from interested parties, he has yet to nail down a confirmed renter. Luebben said he began advertising with fliers about a month ago, but will intensify his advertisements soon.
Although Luebben said he has budgeted for paying his rent over the summer if necessary, he would prefer to rent the apartment out, to almost anyone who would be interested. A wide variety of people have visited so far, Luebben said, from students to married couples with children who are doing research at the Yale-New Haven Hospital.
“We would only give it to people who are in some way or another affiliated with Yale, in that we could trust them,” Luebben said. “Everybody who’s seen it, we would have given it to.”
Rebecca Reider GRD ’05 also said she would sublet to anyone who is interested. Reider said she began advertising her two-bedroom apartment right after spring break, but has not yet received many responses.
“The idea of having to pay three months extra rent is pretty frightening,” Reider said. “Just throwing all this money away.”
All of Reider’s friends in the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies are trying to sublet their apartments for the summer, and she has been inundated by e-mails from her competition.
“Everyone’s trying to get rid of their apartment, and nobody’s looking for one,” Reider said.
Shevaun Lewis ’06 was looking for a sublet, but her search is over. And she is relieved. Lewis, who will be working in a lab over the summer, recently signed on to live in a six-bedroom house with her boyfriend and a mix of their friends.
“I was always feeling this sense of urgency to get in there before someone took a good house,” Lewis said. “I was so stressed for a couple weeks, but then everything just fell into place.”
While Lewis said she must have torn off 30 slips of paper from fliers in the post office, she only visited two houses, one of which she ended up selecting. Calling the house “amazing,” she said she was happy to pay the asking price of approximately $400 per month. Lewis said she would feel bad trying to negotiate the price and taking advantage of others’ desperation to get rid of their houses for the summer.
Many students are already lowering the price of their apartments, taking a hit in the interest of securing a renter. Rishi Gupta LAW ’04 said his price is entirely negotiable and he just hopes to find someone too take his apartment off his hands. Gupta also sublet last summer, and though he only started putting up signs in the beginning of May, he said he got lucky and ended up subletting through Yale to the China Law Center, which paid the full asking price. Although by posting fliers right after spring break, Gupta got an earlier start this year than he did last year, he said he wished he had begun even earlier.
George Quraishi ’05 just began his advertising of his apartment and has already scheduled a visits to the apartment. Quraishi, who said he plans to eventually put up fliers, has so far posted an ad on YaleStation. The lease for Quraishi’s three-bedroom begins in June, so the summer renters will live in it before Quraishi and his two roommates. Quraishi said he did not mind this arrangement and added that the renter would get some say over where the furniture goes.
Quraishi said the problem of subletting did not affect his and his roommate’s decision to move off-campus. Though none of them have experience in subletting, Quraishi said he is simply copying what he has seen others do before him and believes it will work out.
“It’s kind of stressful because you have to find someone or else you’re paying thousands of dollars,” Quraishi said. “We’re pretty confident we’re going to find someone.”
Jou, who is still looking for a sublet, said he does not consider himself very picky. While he had a partner in the sublet search, he is now on his own and is looking to ideally share a two-bedroom apartment. Jou said air-conditioning, Internet connection, furnishings and — above all — location are the most important factors in his decision.
Starting after spring break, Jou cleared a space on his bulletin board for the tags from fliers. After making several inquiries, he hopes to decide on a location in the next week.
“I feel as though I’m not in control,” Jou said. “But in the end, I’ll find something that I can be happy with.”