High housing costs prove problematic

Sonoma State University is nationally recognized for providing students with high-quality housing accommodations, however; it may soon berecognized for having one of the highest off-campus living costs, according to reports.

Like many other counties near hubs like San Francisco and the Silicon Valley, rent prices for both apartments and houses are dramatically increasing.

Sonoma County is experiencing the third largest rent increase in the country according to a study by RentRange. Currently, the average rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Rohnert Park is $1,600, according to Zillow.com.

“I’m almost thinking about transferring, because of the high rent prices here, and the very low chances of getting on-campus housing,” said second-year anthropology major Cindy Rios.
Renting a two-bedroom apartment with one housemate would cost students $9,600 a year not including other necessary spending such as utilities and groceries.

“This year, juniors and seniors will automatically end up on a waiting list,” said Director of Housing Services Nicole Hendry.

This means the option to live on campus for students like Rios are likely nonexistent. This new policy may even raise off-campus rent prices, since there will be a greater demand of third and fourth years students searching for a place to live.

“It’s economics,” said economics professor Steven Cuellar, “Simple supply and demand.”
In other college towns such as Berkeley and Santa Cruz, governments have taken economic measures such as rent control in order to impose a maximum amount of money landlords can charge tenants.

“[Rent control] tends to get passed in college towns where the idea is to help students, however; it tends to do the opposite,” said Cuellar.

Rent control is known for creating housing shortages, and loop-holes as landlords will do everything in their hands to charge the highest possible amount even if it means not renting to students.

Sonoma State housing officials are well aware of the rent increase problem and has begun to take measures in order to ensure it doesn’t get out of hand in the years to come.

“We are in the process of doing a housing-demand study in order to propose additional on-campus housing,” said Hendry.

The University District, a privately owned housing complex, is under construction right across the north side of campus. Although it will not be owned by the university, Housing Services expects it will be of great relief to students, with its promising 1,236 housing units, andits proximity to campus.

Housing Services recommends students to take advantage of the annual off-campus fair which will be held on April 12 in the third floor of the Student Center. Here, students will have the opportunity to meet landlords and renting companies in order to ease the process of finding a place to live.