Rising rents off campus spark student concerns

Patrick Johnson, Contributing Writer

Broadway, a popular street near campus, is home to many off-campus residencies. (Josh Jessiman)

This year, the off-campus housing process has become more competitive, as rent prices continue to rise, and space becomes smaller and harder to find. 

For sophomore Emma Hanley, this trend results in more stress as she searches for off-campus housing for her junior year. Her main concern is price. 

“I started looking for housing by talking to people I knew that already lived off campus and transferring leases, and a few landlords have kind of discouraged that because they’ve raised the rent around $300 to $500 to some of the houses my friends have,” Hanley said. “You can’t even get an accurate idea of what you’re going to be paying.” 

The process to secure housing starts early — students sometimes sign leases a year before they move in. 

That early rush gives more leverage to landlords, Hanley said. 

“The process is starting so much earlier, that landlords are able to charge a lot more,” she said. Hanley said she has considered becoming a resident advisor to avoid rental costs altogether. 

The rising prices are “just really changing the dynamic of you find[ing] somewhere and stay[ing] for two years,” Hanley said. “It’s been difficult.

Tulane welcomed the largest class in its history last year, straining its on-campus housing capacity and prompting some sophomores to live off campus.  

“This led us to extend an offer to some students to be released from their Housing Agreement and live off campus, so that we can ensure we were able to house all those who wanted to be in the residence halls,” Timothy Lempfert, director of housing and residence life, said. 

“A few of my friends were put on waitlists even though they were promised housing,” Hanley said. “They didn’t know until July what their situation was. So I was lucky my roommate had a good time slot.” 

Macy Seward, who graduated in 2022, lived off campus for two years and said she faced rising off-campus rental rates too.  

“As we were about to leave, there were people coming to tour our apartment,” Seward said. Seward said she paid $1,000 for her lease, but her landlord planned to charge the new tenants $1,300. 

Rent estimates around campus in Carrollton range up to $1,500 per bedroom per month, about 12% higher than the New Orleans average. That means for a house of three people, landlords can make over $4,000 a month from one property. 

But students often complain of high prices for small spaces of low quality.   

“The room I was staying in was supposed to be one of those outdoor porches,” Seward said. “But they turned it into a bedroom.” 

“I didn’t have AC for a good four months,” she said. “And then our hot water in our apartment stopped working … they were just obnoxious about fixing things.”

Locals started the Stop Doubles to Dormitories movement with the intention of preventing neighborhoods around Tulane from turning into dormitory-style apartments that inflate surrounding prices. 

High profits on the D2Ds are pushing housing prices above what working families can afford, preventing locals from buying homes and building the wealth that comes with home ownership,” the Stop Doubles-to-Dorms website said. “Long-term local renters are being pushed out in favor of students.”

“If you’re willing to put up with [it], it’s worth it because it is a lot of freedom,” Seward said of living off campus. 

Tulane Housing and Residence Life said it aims to alleviate pressure on housing with the development of new dormitories. 

“The Village, Phase 1 is under construction currently, with Lake and River Halls set to open in the coming months,” Lempfert said. “We are currently working with partners across the University to develop plans for the eventual replacement of Irby, Phelps & Paterson Halls.” 

“Our goal through this work is not only to enhance the quality of the facilities we are offering to students, but to also add additional housing capacity on the campus,” he said. “Our future construction efforts are aimed at helping to increase our capacity on campus.”

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