Married housing: A needle in the haystack

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After the fairy tale wedding, students expect to move into a castle, but what they often find is something far from it.

There are many married BYU students that have experienced the “married housing rush,” where they date in the fall/winter semesters, propose in the spring and marry in the summer. All is well in their new lives until after the couple realizes that they need to find housing for the fall semester.

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Married housing is scarce at BYU.
(Photo by Maddie Dayton)

They think to themselves, “It will be easy to find housing,” just like it was when they were single. So the couple puts off finding housing until a month before school. Then they realize that married housing is hard to come by close to BYU. With little time they scour the Internet, earnestly searching on KSL and Craigslist just to come up with something.

When they finally do find a decent place, the couple will generally stay there as long as possible so that they will never have to experience that again.

Laurie Ottehenning, a graduate student from the school of psychology, shared a similar experience to the “married housing rush.”

Ottehenning and her husband were getting married in December and looking for housing. It just so happened that their married friends were graduating in December so they had planned on moving in when they left.

“We thought it would be really easy, so I wasn’t stressed out about it at all,” Ottehenning said.

When it came close to the move out date, these friends casually asked their landlord in November (a month before Ottehenning’s wedding) if it was OK to switch the contracts to their friends’ names. Little did they know that this particular complex had a waiting list. The landlord contested and said the Ottehennings couldn’t move in because of this waiting list.

At this point, Ottehenning became very stressed with not only trying to find decent housing but with last-minute wedding plans. The thought of going on a waiting list with no promise of getting any housing was very disheartening.

So she did what any stressed bride-to-be would do: she scoured the Internet, called some places and visited some others. Nothing seemed to work out because there were so many others looking for housing at the time. After searching for what seemed like an eternity she looked at KSL and saw a post that had been on for a mere six seconds. She called the contact right away and got her apartment.

Others have experienced similar trials. Tyson Oldham, a finance major, said, “When I first got married it was quite difficult to find a place that suited what we wanted. … There are some websites that try to be a source for all those (apartments) but there’s just a lot of things that you just need to find by word of mouth.”

Finding married housing is all about who you know, whatever good deals are out there and a bit of luck. Otherwise students are stuck looking at housing that is probably not up-to-par.

“It’s like there are some places you can find that are on the other side of Center Street that are a little bit cheaper but then they’re also a little bit iffy. There are not very many places that are here close to campus that are actually very interesting,” said Jeff Law, a bioinformatics major.

Finding an apartment or house should not be (but usually does turn into) a scavenger hunt to find the best and cheapest housing available.

Rebecca Law, Jeff Law’s wife, a family studies major, said she wishes she could live closer to BYU campus — within walking distance. “It doesn’t even have to be super nice if it’s just close and affordable,” she said.

Jeff and Rebecca Law both agreed that there should be more options given married students to choose housing

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