September 16, 2021

Kitchener- Waterloo region is filled with student housing surrounded by prestigious colleges and universities; however overcrowded student housing is common in the Lower Doon neighbourhood. 

Some students tend to crowd into affordable and unsafe accommodations, and residents living around students have a lot to say about it.

 “I think some students are great but mostly the houses are overcrowded and then it gets loud too,” said Kelly Miller, a resident from Doon Village.

“I don’t understand how landlords would want to keep as many people in the same house, it is problematic and probably not hygienic either,” she added.

Besides as many as 10-12 students in some houses, a lot of illegal renovations take place without permits to keep up with tenant needs, according to local residents.

Many of the houses are occupied by international students who are not aware of their tenancy rights and are sometimes preyed on by landlords.

“One of my friends used to have 5 roommates in a 2 bedroom apartment, which is so hectic, their house was always a mess, and they would have maintenance issues every second week and I’m pretty sure that wouldn’t be legal,” said Cody Woodley, a mechanical engineering student at Conestoga.

Miller said that most of the people living around her neighbourhood are students packed into small houses.

Students itself have had several problems living in a crowded place.

“It’s exhausting to even cook in the kitchen with a lot of people living in the house and then there is no storage for food or anything, it gets difficult with more than 3-4 people living in one house,” said Palak Verma, a hospitality student at Conestoga.

“I think most international students just try to adjust in smaller spaces, sharing one single bedroom with like 3 people to cut off living costs, with high tuition fees and other expenses to deal with,” said Verma.

Along with hygiene issues, fire risks are another major problem with overcrowded student housing.

“As long as enrollment from overseas continues to go up, demand for student housing will follow. There is a need to address the student housing issue on a bigger platform,” said Miller.

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