October 13, 2009

SG Web site to aid students in apartment search

Student Government’s revamped apartment Web site,, comes out of testing Wednesday, and will offer resources for students looking for off-campus housing.

The site replaces the listing, which had previously hosted information about available rentals in the Hyde Park area.

In addition to listing available apartments around campus, the site provides advice for first-time renters, including contact information for local utilities companies, and advice about legal issues.

“We were getting complaints that there wasn’t legal information on the previous listing,” Student Government President and fourth-year Jarrod Wolf said. “We wanted to have all the information about renting and all the housing listings in one place instead of several different sites.”

The new “housing search” feature offers listings of local apartments, houses, and condos from local property management companies as well as independent landlords. The site also provides information about local realtors and management companies, letting future tenants contact them directly.

“We tried to make it as user-friendly and student-friendly as possible,” said Wolf, citing a feature that allows users to comment about their experiences with local realtors.

The site has been in testing since September, undergoing updates and collecting usage data. The listing is set to eventually replace the “apartments” category of the Marketplace site, also run by SG.

The Web site design was created by a University of Chicago student web-development company, Lonely Lamppost Studios, and took about three months to complete.

Wolf hopes that the revenue generated from the site’s ads will be able to refund the initial $1,200 cost of developing and hosting the Web site, and will become a steady stream of revenue for the Student Government.

The money will be used to fund a push by the Student Government to provide more web-based services for students, including uBazaar, which will allow RSOs to sell event tickets and merchandise online.