Accountability measures are crucial for a rental market as large and robust as Ithaca’s, fueled by out-of-area students who come to the area for an education at Cornell University or Ithaca College.
One of the easiest methods to hopefully help students make good rental decisions is to equip them with as much information as possible. This is the mantra of Denise Thompson, the off-campus living manager for Cornell, who led the effort to update the school’s rental property database. The database’s update was introduced to the Collegetown Neighborhood Council and Common Council last week, and is the result of a combined enhancement by Cornell and the city’s Building Division. It is available for use by the general public.
Thompson said the latest iteration of the database is building upon something the school has had for years. But previously, listing with the school was an option for rental property owners who may have found the school’s listing as the best way to market themselves to students, as long as the property had a certificate of compliance from the City of Ithaca; now, the database has been expanded to include any rental property in the city.
“Our office has always required a certificate of compliance to list with us,” Thompson said. “We already had this relationship with the building department […] And we started listening to feedback from parents and students and made some upgrades that made it easier to navigate. We were only showing properties of people who listed with us, whether it be landlord or student. So, we thought, ‘We already have this information. Why don’t we have a safety site that gives it for all properties that are rental properties?’”