Finding a place to live is a source of added college pressure for GW students. Many returning students have become familiar with the hassles of apartment searching in the Foggy Bottom area.
Tracey Estes, a rising sophomore, began searching for an apartment with her roommate Ilyssa Trussel in the beginning of March. Estes said they have incurred nothing but roadblocks in their quest for housing.
It started with the inadequate amount of housing at GW, and then became a problem of timing, Estes said.
Most apartments within a mile of GW are first come, first serve, she said. There are no waitlists.
Estes and her roommate call apartments in the area almost every day, only to find that an apartment has been rented minutes before their phone call, Estes said. She has no choice but to continue her search from home over the summer.
Students who have experienced rent increases in the past couple of years said they have found ways to pass down their leases to other students. For some, this solves the problem of finding a place that is affordable.
Senior Joe DiBianca and his roommate were able to pass down their lease to younger GW students.
Their landlord at the Potomac Plaza Terraces on 24th Street allows each renter to act as realtors, a policy that enables current tenants to help friends find apartments. The seniors said they knew many people who were interested in renting the space.
DiBianca said he understands Estes’ apartment hardships.
You need to know someone who has an apartment, he said. It’s pretty hard if you go in blind trying to find an apartment in the Foggy Bottom area.
Rising senior Taige Caldwell and his two roommates acquired an apartment, also in Potomac Plaza Terraces, from two graduating seniors. The three had been placed on the waiting list at other buildings such as Columbia Plaza, the Statesman and the York.
It’s fortunate because we called up all the other places, and there was nothing open, he said. Then someone just came along and passed on the lease.
Caldwell said acquiring the lease gave the roommates a break in the rent price and gave him an advantage over other people looking for rooms.
It’s a tight market out there, if someone helps you, like a friend, it’s a blessing, he said. We’ll probably pass it on to someone else who needs it and return the favor.
While underclassmen scavenge for apartments, many graduating seniors are rushing to unload unwanted leases and furniture before they leave GW.
Graduating senior Sarah Fihrer has to sell all of her furniture before she moves back to Arizona after graduation, but so far hasn’t been able to find anyone to buy it. While some friends have offered to purchase her furniture, people don’t want to decide until the last minute, Fihrer said.
Fihrer said she did not purchase classified ad space, but she may post fliers across campus.
People who don’t want the furniture stored over the summer have made the process difficult, she said.
Regardless of their class standing, students agree that apartment searching in Foggy Bottom is a headache if you don’t have the right connections.
Some students end up living further from campus then they would like, moving as far away as Virginia. Others decide to play the waiting game, and hope to find a nearby apartment with a reasonable rent during the summer.
Still others, like Estes, believe the best solution would be to live on campus, if she could get a room.