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New search engine changes way students look for rental housing

There is a new way to help students and faculty find rental properties in Athens.

Ohio University Residential Housing in conjunction with the company Living Off Campus 101 have created a new web-based search engine that will show listings of rental houses and apartments in Athens.

According to its website, Living Off Campus 101 is an off campus student housing services company that allows property managers to market their properties directly to faculty, staff and students through an off campus housing guide and/or a web-based listing service.

The new search engine will help faculty, staff and students secure housing more easily. Users will be able to sort through rental listings based on a number of search criteria, including bedrooms, location from campus, if pets are allowed, etc.

Unlike the other housing search engines available online, this one will streamline all property ads on one web page linked to the Ohio University website.

Like any other type of advertising, property owners will pay to advertise on the new website.

"It really is dependent on the property owner if they are going to advertise their space on the website," said Barbara Harrison, Ohio University assistant director for off campus living and residential education. "We hope it becomes something that most property owners do."

One of the highlights of the new website is a message board that allows users to meet a new roommate or find someone to sublease their property.

"I expect that the subleasing message board will be very popular," said Harrison. "We do have this issue that most property owners want students to rent for 12 months versus the 10 month school year. People are always trying to find subleasers in the summer."

This new search engine also will be a great tool for helping out-of-state and international students find housing, which can normally be difficult.

"What we've had happen a lot is that students coming from far away, out of the country or across the United States, have a really hard time securing housing before they get here," said Harrison. "We are pretty excited about this endeavor. It is a partnership that we hope really helps students, and faculty and staff as well."

Students and faculty can find information about living off-campus and the link to the new search engine on the University's Off-Campus Housing website.