USF students now have another tool to use in their search for housing off campus at the new website, offcampushousing.usf.edu.
According to recent graduate and former Student Government (SG) Chief of Staff Gregory Berkowitz, the website will feature that can search a database of housing options based on apartment style, pet policy, security and other amenities.
“Making it easier to find apartments, it gives us a little more control over what the students are looking at,” Berkowitz said.
As of Wednesday evening, the website listed 38 locations to choose from since its start at the end of the spring
Off Campus Partners, LLC is the company that owns the website, offering technology for property managers and USF students to post housing options rather than have postings scattered in other traditional methods of leasing apartments near campus.
Safety is always a concern for collegiate housing, and according to the website, there are several safety parameters that a user is able to search under. Properties can be filtered for dead-bolt locks, security systems, even whether the doorman works part time or full time.
Berkowitz noted it is this feature that made the website alluring when the company approached SG with the service at the beginning of the school year, adding that since SG can act as a webmaster for the site, it can also act as a gatekeeper in the housing search by preventing posts being added in areas that are deemed unsafe for students by the university.
Alexandra Grzybowski, a psychology and biomedical science major, said the new website could help her to find better options, as she has faced issues with housing in the past that range from noisy neighbors to difficult roommates.
“I’m tired of searching Craigslist for an hour every day,” she said.
Grzybowski said she normally has a hard time finding a place she likes, and like many students, has faced difficulties finding housing in the summer months, when many students leave the university area and must find people to sublease their apartments or be forced to pay rent while away for the summer.
The website is free to USF students who make an account with the service. Once the student inputs their information, they can search for roommates and properties as well as post ads for roommates. Others who wish to post a property on the service must pay a $75 registration fee.
Books, tutoring and employment opportunities are another feature of the website that helps students with collegiate life. Students are also able to rent places to stay just for the summer semesters.
USF is one of the last major Florida state schools to adopt the service. University of Florida, Florida State and University of Central Florida have been among the larger universities using the service.