Off Campus Housing Fair to take place today in Cape Cod Lounge

By Chris Shores


View Amherst Off Campus Housing in a larger map

Students still weighing their housing options for next year can find more information at today’s Off Campus Housing Fair, held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Cape Cod Lounge. Thea Costine, manager of off campus housing referrals, said that the fair is one of a series of events designed to “help students make the transition [from dorm life to off campus housing] correctly.”

“Most students live at home with their folks and then they come to campus and they live in the residential halls and eat at the dining commons,” Costine said. By their junior or senior year, many then decide to “leave the residential halls and go out into the community and rent.”

This year’s UMass Off Campus Housing (UMOCH) fair will mark the 20th for the event. Costine said she gauges its success by the number of landlords that continuously return coming back to take place in the event, a collection of people ranging from major apartment complex owners to private owners who rent out a few rooms in their houses. The fair allows students to ask any questions they may have and provides an opportunity for landlords to meet potential tenants, she said.

The UMass Jazz & African American Music students will provide background music during the fair.

Seven complexes will have large circular signs at their tables signifying that they will be participating in the apartment complex bus tour this Saturday from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Buses will pick up students from residential areas and tour the complexes. Students who participate in the bus tour are entered in a raffle for an iPod nano and a $50 Target gift card, said Costine.

Costine said that next year’s fair will be even larger as UMOCH will invite anyone that plays a part in the renting process, such as storage and appliance companies.

“We need to broaden our focus and bring together all the things people need to find,” she said.

Other events on the horizon for UMOCH include a Landlord/Tenant 101 session on April 12 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in Campus Center Room 101. An informational session on bed bugs will be held on May 3 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in Campus Center Room 911-915.

Earlier this semester, UMOCH held two sessions for students: Renting 101 and Renting 102. Attendees of the first event learned the definition and usage of legal terms in housing agreements, said Costine. They also learned the rights and responsibilities of both tenants and landlords.

Participants of the “Renting 102” workshop learned effective ways to split costs among housemates.

The UMOCH website provides a list of 24 different apartment complexes in the town of Amherst, which have in total over 2,000 units. According to the list, six complexes have between 75 and 200 units: Brandywine, Mill Valley Estates, Hawkins Meadow, Presidential, Southpoint and Townhouse. Three complexes – Colonial Village, Rolling Green and The Boulders – have over 200 units. Puffton Village has the most units with 378. East Amherst Village does not list an amount of total units.

The website also lists possible apartment complexes in the neighboring towns of Belchertown, Granby, Greenfield, Hadley, Northampton, South Hadley and Sunderland. The list does not include total number of units, only the number of bedrooms in each apartment.

A third list on the Off Campus Housing site includes a collection of subsidized apartment complexes, ones that are privately owned as opposed to being run by the Amherst of Northampton Housing Authorities. There are 17 complexes listed across the towns of Amherst, Florence and Northampton. Many complexes have specifications for possible tenants.

UMOCH.org also provides additional links and resources for tenants and landlords.

Chris Shores can be reached at [email protected]