Renting out houses crosses minds of students

While Patriots and Giants players are hoping to cash in on touchdown drives this weekend at Super Bowl XLVI, some Butler University students may be hoping to cash in on the drives some fans will make to see the game.

Several students have considered renting out their living spaces to visitors who choose not to stay in a conventional hotel when they travel to Indianapolis.

A quick Travelocity search shows that almost all hotels in or around the city are sold out for the weekend, and any available rooms are sure to come at a high cost. For example, a three-star hotel room twenty minutes from the stadium goes for more than $600 a night, according to http://championshiprooms.com.

One alternative is renting for the weekend.

Senior communication studies major Ashley Sullivan had considered renting the house she and five other students rent on Berkley Road. Sullivan heard about people renting out their properties for the game through her job at Encore Sotheby’s International Realty.

Three of the six roommates discussed the possibility.

“We thought about it,” Sullivan said. “But I’m pretty sure that because we just rent, the landlord would have to be the one to do it.”

Ben Hunter, chief of staff and director of public safety, echoed Sullivan’s concern.

“If you’re going to rent to someone you don’t know and you’re going to sublease on your lease, then does that violate your lease?” Hunter said.

Sullivan also said that a college house might not be the property most fans are looking to rent.

“I feel like most people—at least through the company that I work for—are looking for high-end, huge houses for parties,” she said.

Indianapolis XLVI Rentals is one of the many websites recently created to serve the demand. Its homes near campus rent for more than $3,000 a night. This is good money for college students—as long as their houses have an indoor pool, a gymnasium or a gourmet kitchen, as the houses on the site have.

Should students still consider renting, they should be cautious.

“I would be very careful having anyone come into your home, someone you don’t know,” Hunter said.

Senior pharmacy major Matt Heinsen rents a house on 43rd Street and said he would fear renting to a stranger.

“If it was for a friend, I would probably let them stay at my house,” Heinsen said. “I wouldn’t be able to trust strangers, though, to come into my house.”

Students should be business-like if they choose to rent, Irene Stevens, dean of student life, said.

“Check references, check your housing contract, deal in cash and have some inspection of the facility before and after and some agreement written,” Stevens said. “It should all be in writing—some agreement about damage to the facility, because otherwise your landlord is going to come back on you for any damage.”

Damage is a consequence all renters should consider.

“People are concerned about their house getting trashed,” Sullivan said. “[Fans] are coming to celebrate an event. They’re coming to tailgate. They’re coming to party.

“At the end of the weekend, you have to come back and live in that space.”

Students living on campus also considered the opportunity.

“I saw the signs in the city that said, ‘Rent your home out for $10,000 for the weekend,’” freshman journalism major Marais Jacon-Duffy said. “I wondered if I could rent out my dorm room. I would just sleep in a friend’s room if I could make ten grand.”

However for students living at Butler, the weekend will have to be a time for fun and not for business. Renting out campus housing is against policy, Karla Cunningham, director of residence life, said.

Cunningham pointed to page 66 of the Butler Student Handbook, which says, “Renting or subleasing of residence hall or apartment space is prohibited.”

“It’s a security issue,” Stevens said.

“I would feel kind of bad putting a strange person in the middle of my unit,” Jacon-Duffy said. “It might be kind of dangerous, depending on who I rented to.”

Stevens also said that because on-campus housing is accessed using students’ ID cards, a renter would not be able to enter.

Overall, there are more risks to renting than benefits, Heinsen said.

“I think some Butler students probably want some extra cash,” Heinsen said, “but I wouldn’t be willing to risk my personal safety or my possessions by letting strangers in.”

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