Fair Access Policy Changes:Click Here

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Fair Access Policy Changes

Queen’s Community Housing strives to provide quality, affordable off-campus housing for Queen’s students.  To improve equitable student access to university-owned rental units, we are implementing a series of policy changes in 2024.  These changes also respond to the evolving local housing market, and to historic low tenant turnover with the goal of making the process of securing a lease at the 390 units at the An Clachan Complex and John Orr Tower more fair and accessible among graduate and professional students.

Lottery Allocation System for An Clachan and John Orr Tower Units
  • All units in these properties will be available exclusively to students in graduate and professional programs (e.g. Law, Medicine)
  • A multi-day application period will open annually in May, with dates posted and promoted in advance
  • When the application period ends, a lottery will be run, to determine who will receive a lease offer for available units; students will be advised within 5-7 business days whether they were successful in the lottery
  • This approach will provide further access to students who may be applying from abroad or have limited internet access, as well as students with dependents (whose applications take longer to complete), and individuals who require accommodations
  • A lottery will benefit all students by providing more time to complete an application and providing everyone with an equal chance of securing a unit
  • Consideration is being given to a “weighted” lottery system, to prioritize those students who demonstrate greatest financial need. More information will be posted about this in the coming months.
  • Housing in University District properties will be available exclusively to students in undergraduate programs, and will continue to be offered on a ‘first come, first access’ basis, for the unique individual properties, as they become available.
Lease Renewals Limits
  • Due to continuing high demand for Community Housing rental units, and decreasing year-over-year turnover of available units, limits will be placed on the number of lease renewals available to any individual student
  • The number of lease renewals provided to students will be determined on an individual basis, and aligned with the student’s program duration (e.g. 4 year undergraduate degree or PhD, two-year Masters)
  • Current tenants are expected to be offered at least one lease renewal, provided they continue to meet eligibility requirements
  • There will be a process for the consideration of exceptions to renewal limits, based on extenuating circumstances.
Refined Eligibility Requirements
  • To access a Community Housing unit, a student must be an active, registered student in good standing with the University, and
    • be enrolled in an on-campus undergraduate or graduate program; and
    • maintain full-time status
  • This prioritizes university-owned housing for students who must be in Kingston, and are studying on a full-time basis, aligned with typical program duration
  • Exceptions would apply for students studying part-time due to academic accommodations.
Early Lease Termination/Elimination of Lease Assignments
  • Students wishing to end their lease early will be able to do so, upon approval from Community Housing, rather than seek another student to whom they would “assign” the remainder of their lease
  • This increased turnover opportunity will enable Community Housing to refresh and repair more properties on an ongoing basis, and offer the unit equitably to another student through an open leasing process
  • This will also alleviate the need for student-tenants to find a replacement tenant, and will reduce the financial pressures of paying for a unit they no longer need
  • Sublets will continue to be permitted, upon approval from Community Housing, where a student-tenant is temporarily away within the lease period, and will be returning to reoccupy the unit
Maximizing Occupancy
  • To maximize occupancy, and house as many students as possible, the number of students or individuals living in a property or apartment must at least match the number of bedrooms in the unit
  • Students with families will continue to be able to access multi-bedroom units
    • Students with spouses (and no dependents) would qualify for a 1-bedroom apartment
    • Students with dependents would qualify for a 2+ bedroom
    • Two students would qualify for a 2-bedroom (no details are required to be provided with respect to relationship status)
Access for Post-Doctoral Fellows (PDFs)
  • Recognizing the key contributions to the university’s research mission made by PDFs, and in the context of Kingston’s very low vacancy rate, a limited number of Community Housing units will be allocated to PDFs, for a maximum one year lease, with no renewals
  • This would apply only to PDFs who are university employees (and not those who are guests from other institutions)
  • This aims to provide PDFs with time to familiarize themselves with the Kingston rental market before securing other off-campus housing
  • Priority for access to these units will be determined in consultation with the Faculties
Rent
  • Community Housing units at John Orr Tower and An Clachan currently offer one of the lowest rental rates in Kingston, with a 2023-24 average rental cost that is approximately 50% below current market rents
  • While the university is exempt from following the provincially-mandated annual increase, rents for the last several years have been increased year-over-year at the same rates as the guideline, even with tenant turnover. (Post-secondary institutions in Ontario are exempt from certain sections of the provincial Residential Tenancies Act, which ensures their housing is only rented to members of the institution’s student and/or staff communities)
  • Due to mounting operational costs, and the need for significant reinvestment with facilities, Community Housing will be increasing rent by more than the provincial annual guideline amount, beginning in 2024.
  • Rents will continue to remain well below market rates, as the university remains committed to offering quality and affordable housing for students.
  • Community Housing tenants will be contacted individually in the coming weeks, to be advised of their change in rent, for the upcoming year, should they wish to enter a new lease.
Additional Housing at An Clachan
  • The university is in the early planning stages for a significant redevelopment of the An Clachan Housing complex
  • A preliminary study has confirmed the potential for significantly more housing units at the site, which will increase Queen’s-owned housing access for graduate and professional students
  • It will be several years before any construction could begin
  • Project updates will be shared as they become available

Response to Concerns

Queen’s Community Housing received a letter regarding concerns about the Fair Access Policy changes by the newly formed “Queen’s Community Housing Resident’s Association”. Please click here to review the original letter sent to Community Housing. Below is a public response to their letter and specific concerns;

Please contact Community Housing at community.housing@queensu.ca for any questions or concerns.