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Davis, California

Thursday, May 16, 2024

Off-campus students speak on the Davis housing crisis, price jacks, ant attacks and outdated shacks

Good and fair-priced off-campus housing is hard to come by according to statistics and students


By FAITH DEMEULENAERE — features@theaggie.org


Navigating the realm of off-campus housing poses a lot of challenges for the majority of students, packed with an array of hurdles. 

These obstacles encompass complex financial considerations, perplexing regulatory constraints and even potential legal transgressions, casting an unsurprising shadow over the experiences of first-time renters. 

This issue is particularly salient among students whose eagerness to secure proximity to campus makes them susceptible to occasional exploitation.

According to the UC Davis Housing Vacancy Report of 2021, “…the average rental rate for all units was $2,034 per month. This represents a 4.7 percent increase over 2020, when the average rental rate for unit-leased apartments was $1,943. This rental rate increase is above the 2.2 percent increase recorded between 2019 and 2020, but is comparable to historical annual rent increases, which range from four to nine percent per year.” 

The article also stated per person, rent averaged around just under $1,100 a month. This does not account for anything besides rent, such as utilities, parking, gardening services or Wi-Fi charges. It is estimated that these additional charges can cost anywhere from $50 to $150 per month per person.

According to the Vacancy Report shown above, four plus bedroom units are the most likely to be vacant in Davis by a large lead.

According to most housing websites provided by the Most Affordable Housing in Davis page from the localwiki, four plus bedrooms units seem to be the cheapest in singular and shared bedroom types. Even upon looking at the current rates from one of the various apartment complexes from that list, the cheapest option for a shared bedroom, meaning two people occupying one room, is $884. 

According to the UC Davis Housing Vacancy Report of 2010, a student could get an entire studio apartment for an average of $787. Since the cheapest option of 2023 was roughly $884 for a shared bedroom in a house of more than four people, when compared to 2010, a student would be paying only about $283 for the same thing.

In a span of a little over 10 years, what a student could once afford with the same amount of money has shrunk drastically. 

With this drastic price change, have any of the housing options gotten better? Better yet, have most of them even been refurbished since 2010?

“My maintenance man had to come to fix my heater and openly told me it was from the 70s,” Jessica Young, a fifth-year political science major, said. “I pay a little under $1,800 for a studio apartment. […] I’ve had friends who haven’t had a stove, oven, no free laundry or parking spaces, bug infestations, you name it. They are all still paying over a grand every month.”

Anna Bronstein, a third-year psychology major, brings safety into question when considering certain housing options in Davis, “We had someone going door to door, trying to unlock every door and break in. They [landlords] didn’t even install any sort of safety features or cameras for a while. When they did, it was a singular camera pointing at, like, one spot out of the entire [apartment] complex.” 

Many students could agree that the high pricing of off-campus housing does not always guarantee safety or a number of amenities.

 With that in mind, when students are considering renting they should always know their renter’s rights, research the property management or landlords, always alot room in budgeting outside of rent for amenities and have a mental list of what they value as a renter. Which, according to Young, can sometimes come down to valuing having a dishwasher over having your own bedroom: “You just have to pick your battles.”

Written By: Faith DeMeulenaere — features@theaggie.org


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