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The New Student Housing: Single-Family Homes

Students at the University of Central Florida (UCF) in Orlando are increasingly turning to a new kind of unofficial student housing. Instead of small, shared dorm rooms with communal bathrooms, they’re taking up residence in single-family homes in neighborhoods near campus. 

There’s been a recent trend of families purchasing homes near campus while their children attend the university, and then selling them a few years later when they graduate, according to Orlando news station WESH

Mike Wemert of Wemert Realty Group told WESH the trend is not a major disruption for neighborhoods, which remain stable. 

The University of Central Florida has experienced a rising student population, turning out an increasing number of graduates almost every year since 2000 and there is a major shortage of on-campus student housing. 

There are 6,440 student housing units on the Orlando campus, according to UCF. WESH reported there are 7,900 units total between the main campus and a new downtown campus. 

However, this doesn’t even come close to meeting the needs of the undergraduate student population, which totals nearly 60,000, according to the latest numbers on the university’s website. 

The university states on its housing application website that there is “ample student housing” near the university but “limited” space on campus. Therefore, the university prioritizes campus housing for first-year students. 

Priority for on-campus housing goes to incoming first-year students. First-year students need the greatest amount of assistance when coming to a university and living on campus is one of the best ways to help them be successful. Additional spaces are made available to returning residents via a lottery process,” the university states on its website. 

While Wemert says most neighborhoods remain stable and most of his clients “see the university as a benefit,” according to WESH, some residents did express some displeasure at some of the impact of living near a house full of college students. 

A few residents mentioned late-night parties with loud noise and profanity, trash on the ground, and crowded parking situations due to multiple students with cars living together in one house. 

The university has a neighborhood relations team and neighborhood homeowners associations are also active in dealing with complaints and parking issues, according to WESH.

Some area HOAs have limits on the number of unrelated people who can live in one house. 

For example, in the Avalon Park neighborhood, located less than 10 miles from the UCF campus, homeowners may lease their properties to “no more than four (4) individuals (excluding children under the age of eighteen (18),” and “individual rooms of a Unit may not be leased under any circumstances,” according to the restrictions and rules set by the Avalon Park Property Owner’s Association, Inc.

About Author: Mike Albanese

A graduate of the University of Alabama, Mike Albanese has worked for news publications since 2011 in Texas and Colorado. He has built a portfolio of more than 1,000 articles, covering city government, police and crime, business, sports, and is experienced in crafting engaging features and enterprise pieces. He spent time as the sports editor for the "Pilot Point Post-Signal," and has covered the DFW Metroplex for several years. He has also assisted with sports coverage and editing duties with the "Dallas Morning News" and "Denton Record-Chronicle" over the past several years.

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