My View

Habitat housing alert

To the Editor:

As a service to our students and their parents, we are advising all students who rent off-campus housing from a company using the name “Campus Habitat” that the continuation of their ability to reside in that residence may be in immediate jeopardy.

On Thursday, January 12, I issued a notification to on- and off-campus students regarding the current status of Campus Habitat. For those of you unfamiliar with this company, Campus Habitat is a private developer that has rented apartments to Rensselaer students for many years. Recent events give us some concern that the company is experiencing financial difficulties that may impede its ability to provide housing to many students.

In case you did not see the memo, here is a review of the facts that we know at this time:

1. Campus Habitat has not made mortgage payments to its lenders for several months.

2. Campus Habitat has not paid its real estate taxes for several months.

3. There is not a managing agent in place to manage maintenance issues on any of the premises, and the Campus Habitat office located at 77 Eleventh Street has been closed.

4. The tenants’ security deposits are not in the possession of the lending banks and their location is unknown to us.

5. Campus Habitat is also involved in a large foreclosure lawsuit around the campus of Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Ill.

6. On Thursday, January 19, National Grid (the utility company for much of upstate New York) advised us that Campus Habitat was now current on its outstanding utility bills for homes in Troy. This is good news, and provides significant short-term relief to our students and provides an opportunity to avoid relocation of the students from Campus Habitat owned housing to on-campus.

As of now, we do not know what will happen to the properties that were owned by Campus Habitat. We have been in contact with the companies that own the mortgages on these homes, however, no decision has been made.

If you are currently living in an apartment that you rented from Campus Habitat, or recently signed a lease with Campus Habitat for the 2012–2013 school year, please contact me immediately so that I can discuss your options moving forward. I can be reached at dreshc@rpi.edu, or (518) 276-6284.

We will continue to update you with additional information as it becomes available via the off-campus listserv. If you are not receiving emails from the listserv, simply send me an e-mail advising me of this, and I will be happy to add you to the list.

Finally, if you are able, I encourage you to attend the Campus Habitat information session scheduled for Thursday, January 26, from 6–7 pm in the Academy Hall Auditorium.