The already-saturated Kingston rental market – which is particularly short on listings in the downtown area – is about to see at least 360 students clamouring for a place to live after being turned away from residence buildings at Queen’s University.
The University is offering residence spots to incoming students at approximately 93 per cent capacity for the 2021-2022 school year, as they are “not offering triples, quads or loft double rooms,” and are “maintaining some isolation spaces,” in response to the current state of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is occurring despite the fact Queen’s had previously stated there would be 4,500 students in residence this year, and that “We expect to be able to return to our Residence Guarantee for the 21-22 academic year, for all students who meet the application and deposit payment deadline of June 8; however this will be subject to evolving guidance from Public Health.”
The University said the following in a statement to Kingstonist regarding this change:
“We understand and recognize that some students are disappointed that Queen’s University was unable to offer them a space in residence at this time. We had to reduce capacity this year and applications for residence exceeded this year’s capacity.”
Queen’s went on to say that a “lottery system” was used to determine who would be offered the 4,140 spaces available. Those who did not get offered a space have been put on a waitlist. Residence staff have been working with KFL&A Public Health to “help inform safe planning for the upcoming year,” Queen’s said on Monday, Jun. 28, 2021.
“We do have resources to assist with off-campus housing search and finding housemates, including our dedicated Off-Campus Living Advisor who has been connecting one-on-one with students and families, and is offering webinars and referrals. Every year, many first-year students live off-campus for a variety of reasons, and there are many programs and networks in place to connect them to the Queen’s community, including the First-Years-Not-In-Residence orientation group,” the University said.
“Queen’s also offers several off-campus meal plan options to facilitate eating on campus, in our dining halls and at retail food locations.”
Despite the rental market vacancy increasing from its record low of 0.4 per cent in 2018 to a “healthy” 3.2 per cent in 2020, many Kingstonians have difficulty securing affordable rental units within the city, as the prices of rentals have continued to rise. Currently, the cheapest apartment listed on Queen’s University Community Housing – a rental listing service operated by the University, but not necessarily endorsed by the University – is for a bachelor unit 1 km from campus listed for $699/month.
That same rental listing site through the University currently lists 37 apartments, 13 houses, and 8 rooms available, which add up to a total 141 rooms available.