A new housing website launched by computer science senior Andrew Young will help UT students find and sublease apartments more efficiently.
Students choose to sublease their apartments for various reasons, such as when they are leaving for the summer, studying abroad and graduating, but many said subletting their apartments can be a strenuous process.
“I talked to many other students who had the same experience, and I just threw my hands up and said, ‘There needs to be a better way to do this,’” Young said.
After having a bad experience subleasing his own apartment, Young said he noticed many housing-related issues that could be improved and made easier for other students. In June, Young launched his website ‘ScholarHuts,’ which allows students to search, filter and find the best apartment for them in a more manageable way.
Young said he found the most common way to sublease was to post on a UT subleasing Facebook page, but on Facebook, there is no way to filter or search for subleases. Oftentimes, both the buyers and sellers end up doing a lot of scrolling or messaging to uninterested people, he said.
“I naively thought it would be simple to sublease because so many things have been made simple with technology,” Young said. “I found that posting on Facebook actually becomes a problem because both sides of the marketplace end up sending a lot of mixed messages.”
Denise Gomez, a health and society junior, has taken over someone’s sublease before, and said going through the Facebook postings can be a frustrating process. Gomez said she learned pictures can be deceiving when she tried to sublease a place for this summer.
“When I arrived, it wasn’t even the room that was pictured,” Gomez said. “And I know it’s not always possible to get a tour of the apartment, but if there was an easier way to know (if a tour is) an option, that would have helped. If there was a more streamlined way of seeing who is subleasing, for how long, price, location, pictures etc., then it would improve the process.”
Neuroscience sophomore Christopher Lam said he also faced challenges when trying to find a place to sublease, especially when he tried to use the Facebook page.
“When I was on the Facebook page, I would always see incorrect dates,” Lam said. “There is no filter on the page, and you have to scroll through all the posts to find something. It was really hard to find (what I wanted) because the page was all disorganized.”
Now that the website is up and running, Young said he hopes it will become the go-to platform for student housing.
“(Finding) housing in general as a student is a really big mess, and there is really no way to see how your housing will end up,” Young said. “I really want to solve that problem because it is something that I really struggled with.”