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September 04, 1986 - Image 48

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1986-09-04

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.


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Moving of-campus brings
freedoms and landlords

After surviving a year of dorm-living, and its closet-like
rooms, mediocre food, and a not-so-great roommate,
many students are ready to move off-campus. The
prospect of having your own livingroom, t.v., and kitchen
is appealing.
What students forget is that the messes and the piles of
bills are also theirs. After all, cable costs money.
The biggest problem of moving off-campus may be just
finding a place to live. Ann Arbor is in the midst of a
housing crunch, and the search for low-cost dwellings is
becoming increasingly competitive.
The search
Those in search of the perfect pad - whether it be a one
bedroom studio or an eight bedroom "Brady Bunch"-type
house - begin early, traditionally around February.
Dawdlers find that the best places - especially those
close to campus with parking spaces - are taken quickly.
Duane Black, a local landlord, said he signed contracts in
January for leases that begin in September.
"People concerned about housing have started to call
me earlier and earlier in the year," Black said.
Dealing with landlords also poses problems sometimes.
Clogged drains and broken steps often need to be fixed
despite unwilling landlords. Bob Kopel, an LSA senior,
recalls having to go to Student Legal Services to force his
landlord to fix a leaky ceiling. "Withholding rent is always
an effective way to get things done," Kopel said.
The Ann Arbor Tenant's Union, located in the Union, is
another source for students having problems with lan-
dlords. The tenants' union proposed and pushed through a
city-wide referendum two years ago forcing landlords to
insulate their houses.

The advantages to living off campus seem to outweigh
the disadvantages. Debbie Cohn, an LSA senior, moved
off-campus, she said, because of bad experiences her
freshman year at Bursley. "Living in a house is a great
deal of responsibility, but it allowed me to get close with
the people I lived with," she said after living with seven
others in a house on South Forest street her sophomore
year. She moved, though, to a two-bedroom apartment
her junior year.
"Apartment living is more sane," she said. "The phones
don't ring all the time and you can put the stereo on
whenever you want to."
Many students, though, choose to live in houses because
it's less expensive than apartments. Rent for houses,
when shared with others, usually ranges near $200 per
bedroom, while apartment rent can be as high as $300 to
Although some houses and apartments are far from
campus, forcing a less than comfortable walk to class in
the dead of winter, others are close to buildings which
house classes. "Besides," said LSA senior Carol Rosen-
berg, "my apartment is across the street from the bar."
Co-operatives, fraternities, and sororities provide other
alternatives to dorm life. John Ross, a recent University
graduate, loved living in the Sigma Alpha Mu fraternity
nouse. "There were no bills to worry about because all the
bills were taken care of. And I joined the fraternity to be
close to these guys, and living with them was a great ex-
Ross, though, admits that studying in the house was
next to impossible with others not always quietly reading.
"I learned how to use the library," Ross said.

Daily Photo by CHRIS TWIGG

For students in search of off-campus housing, houses such as this one on Walnut Street with its porch and lawn
for outdoor lounging are in high demand.


Students find

After a year or two of dormitory
life, most students are ready to move
out. Many move to apartments or rent
houses with friends, but for others, the
answer is one of many cooperative
houses, or 'co-ops', around campus.
'Cooperative' is the key word. By
sharing work and expenses, residents
save time and money. Co-ops also of-
fer a social atmosphere that apar-
tment living lacks.
Co-ops offer a much closer com-
munity than dorms, with houses
usually no larger than 40 members,
Most have only 15 to 30 residents.
Each resident does four to five
hours of work in the house each week.
Jobs range from more mundane

domestic chores such as
more complicated tasks l
bookkeeping, maintenan
planning menus. Co-opss
every night and have fo4
for breakfast, lunch, a
which is known as "guf
unspecified free food).
Most co-ops in Ann
associated with the Ir
Cooperative Council
signing a lease at an
residents actually buy s
house they live in, which
an immediate sense of ow
Residents control c
Co-op residents like th
control they get from r
own house. For insta

cleaning, to residents can make any modifications The first co-op
ike cooking, to their room they like, even if it in- Arbor was startE
ce work and volves drilling holes to put up a loft or the Great Depri
serve dinner painting the room a different color, cut costs. The re
od available "In an apartment or a dorm they back then was a
nd snacks, would consider that destruction," said week.
f" (general, LSA senior Paul Harris, a resident of Inexpen
Joint House. Expenses hav
Arbor are Each house is independent, and of-- but co-ops still r
nternational ten very different from the other housing bargain
(ICC). By houses. Residents vote on each house Central Campus
ICC co-op, decision at a weekly house meeting, per month, and
hares in the whether it's the theme for an up- range from $299
1gives them coming party or how to deal with a the type of room
nership. resident who is behind on rent, board.
co-ops "By signing a lease, you agree to But cost is u
he feeling of take a role in the management of the residents menti
unning their house, so you have to grow up a little they live in a co-(
ance. co-op bit," Harris said. "Most peoples

ed by
nt fo

.ive house in Ann
y students duringi
n in an effort to
r room and boardl
e two dollars per

sive housing
e gone up a bit since,
emain one of the best
ns in town. Rooms in
co-ops are about $270
North Campus rents
to $332, depending on
. All rates include full
sually the last thing
on when asked why
say they move into co-

,{1 n

alternative in co-ops

isawVv J/ Wkf- N

ops to save money, but I don't think
that's the real reason. It's because of
the social system, the atmosphere,"
Harris said.
LSA senior Caleb Huntington, who
calls his old apartment complex "they
tower of death," said he enjoys living
in Michigan House co-op because,
"you have a built-in social life here."
"I like having people around, people
I can just talk with and be comfor-
table with. Here you're in immediate
contact with other people."
Co-op houses hold many social ac-
tivities together, including, parties
and movie nights. Each house has
common areas such as a family room,
where residents get together to talk or
watch TV.
Unlike dorms, co-ops attract many
older students, foreign students and
even non-students, such as recent
graduates who are just starting their
Robert Hughes, a resident of
Nakamura co-op, said he enjoys the
"real world" feeling he gets from
living with older students.
"In the dorm everyone is studying,
and they don't know what they're
going to do with themselves yet. But
in a co-op, you meet people who have
already decided what they're going to
do in life," he said.
Co-ops have pitfalls
There are also pitfalls to co-op
living. Every house gets an occasional
dud who doesn't pull his share of the
workload or doesn't pay his rent. And
you can't get away with neglecting
you chores for a few weeks, as in your
own apartment or dorm room.
Single rooms are given out on a
seniority basis, so in many houses
residents must live in a double room
for a year or two before getting a
single room.
Co-op residents warn that their way

of life isn't for everyone. "If you want
to be taken care of, or you can't
tolerate differences in people, you:
probably shouldn't live in a co-op,"
Hughes said.
Choosing a co-op
Choosing a co-op is no easy chore;
each one has its own feel to it. Most co-
ops are old homes with many rooms,
balconies and porches. Others, such
as the co-ops on North Campus, have
a modern design.
Each co-op has its own personality.
For instance, Lester House, a
vegetarian co-op, has a reputation for
attracting liberal students, who are
often typified as "throwbacks from
the 60s."
Lester residents make their own
granola and yogurt, and grow their
own bean sprouts; they avoid white
sugar and white flour because of its
artificial ingredients. Lester house
also has no television set and doesn't
throw large parties:, as other co-ops -
do. Instead, Lester hosts weeklyr
poetry readings.
"We try to live simply," Lester
resident Liada Pearlman said. Lester
residents' earthy lifestyle.keeps their
monthly rent down several dollars
below the ICC average.
On the other hand, residents at Joint
house call their home the "bourgeois
co-op." Harris said most of Joint's
residents come from wealthy subur-
ban neighborhoods, and the co-ops's
proximity to the business school atg
tracts many business students.
Joint residents pay slightly higher
rent to support a more elaborate
"We tend to have more parties, and
we try to hire a band at least once a
year. We also spend more than some
houses do on food," Harris said.
Joint residents spent a lot of money
See CO-OPS, Page 8

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