Places4students.com strives to provide students with positive renting experiences
The beginning of each school year brings forth various concerns and questions raised by students moving into their off-campus housing accommodations.
Places4Students.com, Wilfrid Laurier University’s exclusive off-campus housing partner, assists students in finding appropriate housing accommodations while ensuring that students are educated on their rights and responsibilities as renters.
Essentially, Places4Students.com provides an online platform on which landlords and property managers can advertise their rental vacancies and where students can search for accommodations, roommates, co-sublets and more.
Zach Pajtasz, marketing and social media specialist for Places4Students.com, explained that Waterloo’s student housing market is high in demand and can, therefore, make the process of finding an appropriate off-campus housing accommodation challenging.
“What we typically find is that students usually want to live with other students, so [our website] is centric and focused on that niche,” Pajtasz said.
For example, when students find a property on Places4Students.com, they can be certain that the property is open and willing to rent to students, in contrast to looking at properties that may be targeted towards a different segment in the market.
“It helps expedite the process for students when they’re searching,” he said.
As well, students looking for accommodations on Places4Students.com are guaranteed that each landlord and listing is reviewed before they are able to post their accommodation on the website for students to see.
Places4Students.com especially caters to students who may be going through their first renting experience. For example, a large portion of students in first-year may live in residence, thus, many second-year students will experience living off-campus for the first time.
“We find that students don’t necessarily have that history in renting so they’re not familiar with procedures and their rights,” Pajtasz said.
“That’s probably why students run into basic issues because they’re not aware of how things work in the rental market and they’re not aware of the rights that are awarded to them.”
In addition to hosting appropriate housing options, Places4Students.com also strives towards educationing students by providing resources that are easily accessible.
For example, Places4Students.com has a published document which essentially breaks down the Residential Tenancies Act so that it is both clear and concise for students to read.
“The Residential Tenancies Act is a fairly lengthy document, it’s difficult to understand as a student, especially if you’ve never read that kind of legal jargon before,” Pajtasz said.
The main purpose behind the condensed version of the Residential Tenancies Act is to ensure that if students to run into challenges or issues with landlords or property managers they will be familiar with their rights and responsibilities.
“If you’re up to date and aware of what your rights and responsibilities are as a renter, you know how to respond in situations,” Pajtasz said.
Additionally, if a landlord using Places4Students.com does violate the Residential Tenancies Act, the website can prevent them from using the service. As well, Places4Students.com places a significance on the feedback they receive from students.
If students do have issues or challenges with a landlord, Places4Students.com has a live customer service line where students can discuss the challenge and receive advice.
“Since we have that formal partnership with the school we take these matters seriously so students are safe and the accommodations on our site are up to par,” Pajtasz said.
Places4Students.com also publishes various resources and essential information on their blog. For example, resources such as roommate agreements, sub-lease agreements, and more are available for students to use.
“We encourage [students] to have some sort of formal documentation in place [when they sublet], in contrast to just a verbal agreement as, in some, cases a verbal agreement may not necessarily hold up,” Pajtasz said.