Local university students struggling to find short-term housing

Some local university students are struggling to find short-term housing after being required to return to in-person classes next semester.

For Sophie Mandel, a third year Wilfrid Laurier University student, not finding a four-month lease would mean commuting to campus from her home in Thornhill.

She said that would involve two buses and take about three hours.

“For the Winter semester, I signed up for four classes believing they would be remote,” said Mandel.  

She is among many Laurier students who say the school provided little to no warning about the return to in-person learning and cancelling some online options.

“I have never in my experience at Laurier felt more like a cheque and a file number than I do now, said Mandel. "I don’t feel like a student anymore."

In a statement, Wilfrid Laurier University said in part, “Laurier has been planning for a return to normal operations in the winter term since the spring, with the fall as a transitional period. While many courses have been remote this term, students have been told to expect most courses to return to in-person instruction in the winter term.

“To support students searching for housing, Laurier has a partnership with Places4Students.com, an off-campus housing website that specializes in providing students, schools and landlords with a quality rental property listing service.”

Students say there aren’t many options for accomodations, with local student housing companies only offering long-term leases to avoid turnover.

“It’s been really discouraging searching for housing so far,” said local university student Mingze Jin.

Jin is looking to sublet a four month lease with his three roommates, but the search hasn’t been easy.

“As soon as anyone posts anything available, within ten minutes there’s like 30 comments,” said Jin. “There's places that I know only require maybe $900 of rent that I’m seeing listed for $1,200.”

Some students say that, although they're worried, they're trying to remain optimistic about finding a place to stay.