As Rental Season Begins, Chaos Ensues

Rental season begins this week for several downtown realtors. For those of you who have never witnessed this circus, it’s when kids camp out in front of the realtors days in advance to lock up an apartment for the following year. It’s like Paternoville minus all the happy people and instead of waiting to watch a football game; you’re waiting to sign a contract to get on a waiting list to live in in a two-bedroom apartment with six people for $500 a month.

I had the pleasure of participating in this process back in 2009 in an effort to live at A.W. and Sons. The doors opened to sign contracts on a Thursday at 8 a.m. I arrived the night before at 8 p.m., thinking that was a reasonable time to go to ensure that I would get Cedarbrook or Beaver Hill. Wrong. I was about 50 people back in line. The following morning a woman walked down the line handing out numbers to determine the pecking order. Needless to say, this created an absolute frenzy, and the number that I ultimately got was 85. I slept on concrete in the rain, and when it was all said and done, all I got was a place at Alexander Court: my last choice out of the five complexes. I wasn’t exactly a happy camper.

That year, some kid decided to get in line the day before around noon, 20 hours in advance. Once this happens, it’s just a trickle-down effect until the line is wrapped around the block with people pouring out into the streets in one big unhappy campout.  Last year a few kids decided to get in line on Tuesday, two days ahead of time. By that evening, the line had over a hundred people.

You’d think by 2011 that this whole process would be done online, but then again having students line up in front of your office days in advance will build one strong reputation.

If you plan on living downtown, I’d start getting your tents and sleeping bags ready. Rental season begins Wednesday for GN Associates and Thursday for A&W Sons, bright and early at 8:30 a.m.

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