The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

UI USG partners with Iowa House Hotel to help students between leases

Iowa House Hotel and USG are working together to help students between leases through the lease gap program.
Matt Sindt
Candidates Carly O’Brien and Mitch Winterlin speak during a University Student Government debate in the Iowa Theater in the Iowa Memorial Union on March 26, 2023.

The University of Iowa’s Undergraduate Student Government and Iowa House Hotel have partnered for Iowa City’s Lease Gap Program.

Noah LeFevre, USG city liaison, said the program, started in 2019, provides college students living in Iowa City with temporary housing when there is a gap in their lease, especially international or out-of-state students. The issue has been around for decades, but it was not until a few years ago that action was taken to help with the problem.

Since leases start and end at different periods, it’s difficult for students to switch between living situations. Different leasing companies end some leases early to clean up to prepare for new tenants or they start some units late because of maintenance. Landlord companies and estates have rules and different applications which can make it hard to have move-in and move-out dates for different leases across the city.

“It’s really difficult to find a place to live for up to a week if not longer,” LeFevre said. “And so this program came up because USG saw the issue with that, and the city liaisons acted with the Iowa House Hotel to help many displaced students before the beginning of the school year.”

Last fall was the first year Iowa House Hotel hosted the program.

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Amber McNeal, the general manager at Iowa House Hotel, said each night costs $25 per student, with another $25 being subsidized by USG, and students can refer these payments to their U-Bill. They are provided with amenities such as a continental breakfast, TVs, microwaves, refrigerators, and free parking in the Hancher Auditorium lot through registration.

This year, the program runs from July 27 to Aug. 3. The program offers rooms for up to six nights for students experiencing lease gaps, although students can stay longer but at a higher price of $50 per night.

“It’s a huge relief for them to not have to go stay at a full-price hotel,” McNeal said. “I honestly was unaware of how great the need was and that there weren’t any other options on campus. We have the availability and we’re happy to help.”

There are thirty rooms available in the hotel and there is already a waitlist for students looking to join the program. 

Keaton Zeimet, USG director of governmental relations, tells students to look into resources like the UI’s off-campus living website which has a renter’s guide created by USG.  

“If you are experiencing any troubles with landlords feel free to talk to student legal,” Zeimet said. “They’re a great university resource and I’d highly recommend that.”

There are currently no permanent solutions to the lease gap problem, but USG is working to keep the program going for future students. Next year the Iowa House Hotel will be closed due to the remodeling of the hotel and the IMU, but USG is trying to partner with the Graduate Hotel to keep the program going to help students stay safe between leases.

“I think it’s a wonderful program and I hope that it helps a lot of students as much as possible,” LeFevre said.

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About the Contributor
Ellie Heeren
Ellie Heeren, Digital Producer
Ellie Heeren is a digital producer at The Daily Iowan. She is a sophomore at the University of Iowa majoring in English with an emphasis in publishing.