Influx of students makes rental property hard to find

With the influx of students returning to Troy this week, housing in the city has nearly reached its capacity.

“Right now we are almost 100 percent rented,” said Earl Ellis of Landmark Realty. “We’ve had kind of a low availability for quite some time, but it really has become acute in the last 30 days.”

Danny Lee, who manages seven different properties around Troy, said most of his apartments had long been filled.

“We usually fill everything up in June,” he said. “We’ll start renting out apartments for the next school year in January, February, and by the end of May or beginning of June, we’re full.”

Ellis said finding rental property in Troy at the moment is near impossible.

“Single-family homes are almost nowhere to be found,” he said. “The only rentals I see available now are the more undesirable ones.”

Pike County Board of Realtors President Dianne Galimore, who also is an agent for Real Estate Associates of Alabama, said she knew of no more openings with her company.

“We don’t have any rental property left available,” Galimore said. “We were still having some students call on Monday and Tuesday, but I think some students were able to get into the dorms at the last minute.”

Galimore said she had seen some turnover, but Real Estate Associates had not had a single vacancy this year with the exception of one apartment that is currently being renovated.

Higher enrollment numbers at Troy University also have caused more problems this year, Ellis said. He also said he foresaw more problems in the future.

“I think if the university is going to continue to grow, we don’t have enough housing to take care of all those student needs,” Ellis said.

Lee said that while enrollment has increased, making for a larger number of renters, he felt that renters could work to accommodate the growing need.

“It’s a college town,” he said. “You just have to grow with it.”

On-campus housing at Troy University also is full, according to Dean of Student Services Herb Reeves.

“We’re pretty much in the same boat,” Reeves said. “We had actually gotten to the point of turning folks away. Љ We don’t have a lot of on-campus space left. We have a few rooms here and there from folks that didn’t show up, but it’s almost completely full.”

Troy University has mandatory on-campus housing for freshman students but has not necessarily been able to accommodate all freshmen wanting to live on campus because of the first-come, first-serve nature of the housing.

“We tried and were pretty successful with accommodating anyone who applied by mid-July,” Reeves said.

The number of students utilizing off-campus housing also has detracted from the number of non-students who have been able to rent housing in the Troy area.

“There are really not any rentals to accommodate families, especially if they don’t want to live around students,” Ellis said. “Apartments for young married couples, single graduates and young professionals are something we don’t really have, and they are greatly needed.”

Lee said that while there are not many properties that strictly cater to young professionals and singles, these individuals could find rental housing if they start looking soon enough.

“For a single person, it’s hard to say,” Lee said. “It depends on where they want to live. There are places for them. They just have to find them and find them early enough.”

By Misty Bell, The Messenger

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