There’s a rite of passage that takes place before the junior or senior year of almost every Georgetown student — and it’s not the long-awaited 21st birthday.

Rather, the time-honored tradition of finding an off-campus residence. Georgetown technically only guarantees housing for students for the first two years on campus for all four year students. Undergraduate house hunting often leads to heightened student anxiety and more risk-taking because of the scarcity of affordable townhouses and apartments in the neighborhood. While an important step of growing up is learning how to become a responsible tenant, the university should help facilitate the process by better advertising and expanding its resources for off-campus housing.

Most students are unaware of the potential safety hazards and legal potholes that are common in the leasing process. The death of Daniel Rigby (MSB ’05) in a 2004 fire at his off-campus residence exposed the seedy underside of landlords and their practices. Broken smoke detectors, occupancy limits and violations of local building codes require due diligence from students, who with their current knowledge are ill-equipped to handle such responsibilities.

The university provides students a resource for finding off-campus housing. Located in Darnall Hall, the Off-Campus Housing Resource Services can provide advice and information on leasing in D.C. But sadly, the office’s obscure nature renders the program practically useless.

If students at Georgetown must attend information sessions on how to party and follow the honor code, then there should certainly be guidance available for those who wish to live off-campus in a responsible and safe manner. Information sessions on basic lease information and being a responsible tenant would go a long way toward educating students.

Making monthly rent payments, taking out the garbage, paying the utility bills and subletting are certainly within reach for Georgetown students. To save us all from housing ignorance, the university needs to bring more of its resources out in the open.

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