Beginning in 2021, HSE University will introduce a new student housing programme. The new programme will allow students who are unable to secure a space in the HSE dormitories to rent apartments with the University’s assistance. The programme will be overseen by the newly established Student Housing Office. The head of the new Office, Dmitry Ryndin, spoke with HSE University Life about how the new programme will differ from other aggregators and who will be eligible to use it.
What will the Student Housing Office do?
We will inform students about the option of renting an apartment, advise them on any questions that arise in the process of securing a residence, and facilitate communication with our rental housing market partners. In addition, once a student is settled in an apartment, we will provide assistance with any problems that arise.
One of our big tasks is working with companies participating in the professional real estate rental market. At first glance, it seems that you can open an aggregator site and easily find an apartment in Moscow. In fact, students require a large amount of housing that meets the university-wide housing and equipment standards. To do this, we begin working almost a year before the arrival of students.
HSE University was providing all students with housing in the dorms. Is a new housing programme really necessary?
Yes, our housing distribution model is indeed changing.
From the day the University was founded, all students in need of housing for their course of study were accommodated in campus dormitories or hotels. Alternatively, they received a subsidy from the University in order to rent an apartment. However, HSE is growing, and accommodation costs are beginning to compete with development costs. It is clear that a University cannot work only to finance student accommodation.
At the same time, no other university in the country has such a comprehensive housing programme that ensures the students in need of housing are accommodated. Generally, universities limit themselves to accommodating students in campus dormitories.
In December 2019, the HSE Academic Council decided to switch to a new housing model that is set to begin in 2021. It involves providing places only within the capacity of university dormitories. At the same time, students who are unable to secure a space due to low availability should receive informational and organizational support in their search for housing.
Students for whom the university must provide accommodation in the dormitories are, first of all, Russian students who have benefits under federal law, as well as students who entered the university as part of the Social Lift programme. In addition, at least half of the vacant places will be allocated to international students.
The rest will be distributed on a quota basis among HSE faculties. The Student Council will take an active role in the development of a mechanism for the quota distribution of dormitory housing.
Are there any models of successful university housing search programmes that you have been able to look to in developing HSE’s?
So far, no other Russian university has fully implemented a programme that is this comprehensive in offering a full range of housing options. In this regard, HSE’s programme will be the first of its kind.
We have studied programmes like this at foreign universities in sufficient detail. We have noted the most successful mechanisms and will try to integrate them into our programme.
Why should students use this programme? What advantages does it offer over regular real estate aggregators?
Students will be able to use the programme just like any other tool for finding a rental property. Under this new programme, HSE will enter into cooperation agreements with the property owners, which will guarantee the fulfillment of the obligations of all parties involved. This allows participating landlords and students to enjoy a higher level of trust.
In addition, office staff will offer rental options to students only from trusted partners who are carefully selected in accordance with HSE criteria.
Currently, for example, we are in negotiations with DOM.RF, which is able to lease out entire residential complexes with a capacity of up to several hundred residents. Such an arrangement would allow HSE student renters to enjoy a common space for their extracurricular work, use a set package of necessary services, and enjoy a higher level of security.
Another important advantage is the ability to rent a single room in an apartment. This option is generally not offered by rental sites—landlords offer only entire properties. As a result, students have to then spend time looking for roommates and working out financial issues.
Students can contact the Office along with future roommates (university friends, classmates) or submit a single application. Operators specializing in or offering co-living arrangements in Moscow are still few and far between, and students will pay much more for a room through other services than they will through our programme.
Every year HSE partially reimburses students who choose to move out of the dormitories. How will these two programmes coexist?
In 2021, the subsidy programme will discontinue student enrollment. Students who were previously enrolled in this programme will continue to receive assistance until the end of their studies (Bachelor’s, Specialist’s, or Master’s).
How will the HSE Student Housing Programme work? Isn’t it possible that the University’s involvement might complicate the rental process?
Students will have to contact the Office and indicate their housing preferences. Our experts will select a good option and help with the signing of the contract. Also, we will provide students a set of training materials (a beginning renter’s guide and a packet of frequently asked questions). We plan to finalize the process in January next year.
Who is eligible to use the programme? Can any HSE student use it or is it only for nonresidents?
The programme is open to all HSE students who would like to rent an apartment. You do not have to be a nonresident or international student. Perhaps you are from Moscow, but you would like to live closer to your classes or away from your parents. You can still participate in the programme.
When can I apply to the programme? Who do I need to contact? What documents are required?
We plan to launch the new programme during next year's admissions campaign. In the next month and a half, we will launch a pilot version of the programme and offer current students several rental options. This will allow us to fine tune the process, identify other possibilities, and get feedback.
If you want to take part in the programme and rent an apartment in Moscow through HSE, write to firstname.lastname@example.org. Do not forget to indicate your last name, your academic programme, your year of study, and your preferences for an apartment.
What are the price ranges for renting an apartment through this programme? What companies or real estate properties will the programme be working with?
We will offer students one-, two- and three-room apartments in ordinary residential buildings in Moscow. The range of prices is wide: from 16,000 rub/mo. for a room in a three-room apartment to 38,000 rub/mo. for a one-room apartment for one person.
All apartments offered through the programme will have isolated rooms and be located within a 15-minute walk of a metro station. They will have all the necessary furniture and kitchen appliances.
The price includes taxes, renter’s insurance (which covers accidental damage to the rental property and third parties, such as fire or flooding), and maintenance fees. Utility bills will be paid additionally by the tenants.
The rental price also includes obligatory cleaning of the apartment once a month for apartments housing 1-2 students (one- and two-room apartments) and twice a month for apartments housing 3-4 students (three-room apartment).
Apartments are rented without a security deposit payment, but upon move-in, students are charged a one-time fee from 12,000 to 30,000 rub, depending on the size of the apartment.
Will students have a say in roommate assignments?
Of course. Each student can independently find and make arrangements with roommates or their choice. We will also accept individual applications and independently select and propose roommates for programme participants.
How will the pilot programme be streamlined after the launch?
For several months after launch, the pilot programme will be monitored by a team of internal and external specialists. Then we will finalize it and present it to a wide audience of students and applicants.