Choosing a home away from home

By C. Paul Kirk

When confronting the reality of student housing, comfort cannot be the only factor in choosing your residence.

One of the first choices a student makes when coming to NIU is where to live. The university area really presents two choices. The first is living in the residence halls of the university, and the second is moving off-campus either into an apartment or house nearby.

“It’s a question of independence.” said Amy Sharer, manager of University Apartments. “It’s an experience in real life.”

University Apartments is a 170-bedroom complex which is based on quiet-lifestyle living, Sharer said. University Apartments is dedicated to the serious graduate or law student, but also accepts undergraduates, she said.

All the units are studio apartments which include a kitchen and a bedroom, Sharer said.

Sharer believes that University Apartments offers two things over the residence halls—quietness and an opportunity to plan your own life.

The newest complex in the area, Stadium View Apartments, is located near the university.

Manager Don Friedman said each apartment has four bedrooms and two bathrooms. They are all furnished with appliances such as microwaves, washers, and dryers, he said.

However, the tenant pays for gas and electric and rent is $840 a month, Freidman said.

“The thing with residence halls is that it’s good to be there the first year…. The benefit of an apartment is to give a real-life experience.” Friedman said.

Although apartment complexes offer independence, attorney Lynn Richards of NIU students’ legal assistance warns students of the pitfalls involved in renting. She said the apartments are often more expensive than the residence halls and there is more responsibility involved with renting.

ichards said many landlords request over $1000 for a security deposit, and rarely return the full deposit. She also said many apartment owners rent on a twelvemonth lease only, although it is sometimes negotiable.

ichards also said costs can often exceed that of an original quote on the lease.

“Many landlords refuse to give your full security deposit back despite state laws,” she said. Landlords, by law, must itemize deductions from security deposits within thirty days after the expiration of the lease, she said.

(NIU’s) legal assistance is happy to advise renters about their apartments,” Richards said.