Friday, November 2, 2012

Moving out of my student room at UGent

Voilà, my girlfriend got an internship in the European district in Brussels for the next 3 months. This is exactly the time I've left at UGent until I go back to Linköping University in Sweden and work my ass-off on my Master Thesis. I figured out I'd move to Brussels for the time left and commute to Ghent (1h approx.) for classes and group meetings. The only thing was to leave my student room in the University Residence; in other words, cancel my contract with the UGent Housing Department.

This contract has a minimum rental period of 3 months. Before signing it, I made sure it was possible to shorten this rental period with the Housing Department's person in charge (Myriam Van den Branden). That's why I signed a contract to rent my student room from September 1st until November 30th, planning to move in a bit later (September 20th) and shorten the contract shortly after arrival. However, Myriam informed me that the only possibility to move out of my student room would be to:
- find another Erasmus student (not free-movers, PhD or Belgian students) at UGent (not Hogeschool) 
- willing to rent a student room in the University Residence
- hence, signing a new contract (with a minimum rental period of 3 months) with the Housing Department
- from my departure date: October 31st — when I move in Brussels and after 2 months of contract (even though I didn't even used the room for 1,5 month).

Finding this key person was difficult. Well, impossible. I looked where Erasmus students hanged out most of the time: Facebook. Even though I found similar students desperately looking to move out of their student room, and others not even considering living in the University residence; I couldn't find anyone interested. Neither did the Housing Department: the waiting list was empty!

My last shot should have been to sub-rent my room on the private market for only 1 month. But that's stated as forbidden in my contract. In the best case: I'd get expelled of my room and that's what I want, right? In the worst case: I'd get expelled of my room, I'd still pay for the last month due and they'd keep my deposit of 135€. Screwed!

Eventually, I didn't even have to take any risks because no one wants a student room in the University Residence. Why then? First of all, it's expensive compared to the private market where a furnished studio can be found from 300€/month (contracts with minimum rental periods as well). Then, the kitchen facilities aren't suitable for students: they have to bring or buy everything (pans, cutlery, etc.), usually only for a short stay and it's not enough equipped for everybody (approx. 20 rooms) using the kitchen at the same time (no oven, a single microwave). There are only 3 washing machines (3,5€ without the powder) for everybody and the 2 driers, well, they don't dry (once, I waited 2h without results)! Also, some rooms aren't practical, they are all different so you just gotta be lucky! Eventually, the monthly Internet usage restrictions of 12GB bandwidth is too limited.

Anyway. I'll pay my November's rent of 391€ even though I don't live in my student room anymore. I'm deeply sorry for the students having trouble finding a room for a short stay in Ghent, but the administrative paperworks from the UGent Housing Department made it impossible.
391€. The price to be able to live with my girlfriend in the capitale of Europe?


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