Student First Rental program recognizes student-friendly landlords during COVID-19

Photo by Shutterstock/fizkes

When Mac announced that the fall semester was going to be online because of COVID-19, questions about off-campus housing filled the university’s social media feeds. Would rents be reduced? Could leases be broken? How were properties being cleaned?

To help students ease the financial strain and potential health risks of renting during COVID-19, McMaster Housing and Conference Services has introduced Student First Rentals, a program that encourages landlords to offer McMaster students flexible lease terms, rent reductions and thorough cleaning between tenants.

In return, landlords receive a free, two-month premium listing on Mac’s off-campus housing listing – saving more than $100 off the regular fee – as well as a badge for their listing that highlights their participation.

“In these challenging times, we’re continuing to create new and innovative ways to support all McMaster students,” explains Kevin Beatty, director of housing and conference services. “We welcome any landlords willing to provide considerate leasing terms which prioritize the health of our students and recognize the financial hardship and uncertainty as a result of COVID-19 to apply, and encourage students looking for properties to consider a Student First Rental.”

Since the program launched, more than 20 landlords have listed their properties.

For students, the program takes some of the uncertainty out of an already uncertain time.

“It’s a big process to find a place to rent, especially in your first or second year, and it can be challenging to find a place that’s right in terms of location, price and amenities,” says Marissa Fazio, a recent grad who rented a house for three of her years at Mac. “Having a vetted list takes some of the stress out of finding housing, especially now.”

Learn more about Student First Rentals on McMaster’s off-campus housing site.