It’s important to feel both safe and comfortable. Comfort isn’t just a matter of choosing the right futon or getting rid of that chair passed down from two generations before when the bottom falls out. Comfort is about your surroundings and being able to rely on some backup whenever problems arise at home. Being stuck with a leaking toilet or oven that won’t even boil a pot of water causes the sort of unnecessary emotional stress that college students need to avoid while focusing on school and socializing.
Over the past month, we’ve been assembling lists of the top landlords at campuses around the country based on online reviews from former tenants. The same common themes came up time and time again at campuses all over. It turns out whether a student attends a large state school in New York or a small college in the Midwest, he or she typically is looking for the same thing in a landlord. Students want respect and responsiveness.
One company that stood out to us based on an extreme number of positive reviews was Walk 2 Class, located about as close to the Illinois State University campus as possible. We had the chance to speak with owner Chuck Kiven and Courtney Lahr, a property manager at Walk 2 Class about their service and what they’re doing to keep students so happy.
“It’s not rocket science, it really isn’t,” said Kiven about keeping tenants happy. “It’s actually really easy to screw up. What’s hard to do, is doing it right. That for us is simple. Treat people right and they should treat you right. Most of the time it works out that way. We have a few exceptions, but in large we treat the people really well, and they treat us really well.”
Many of the reviews of Walk 2 Class mention two things, friendly faces around the property and the reliable maintenance team. The friendly faces are a product of a staff that enjoys the work they’re doing and can relate to students.
“Courtney is a very young woman who’s not much older than most of the students,” Kiven said. “So, for one, I think there’s a connection between her and them, and them and her. The other ladies that work in our office are students as well, and there’s a connection between them and the students. And I think that when it’s all said and done, I have kids that are in college, so I understand how I would like to see my own child treated. Consequently, I believe I should treat other people’s children the same way, and I mean that and I live to it.”
As far as maintenance goes, Walk 2 Class uses an online software to monitor and track maintenance requests.
Kiven said they’d been using the software since the company began.
“We can respond to their requests through that (the online software) as well,” said Lahr. “So we can tell them a part of that order will arrive this day, or we can tell that this is completed, but they weren’t home when maintenance crews arrived.”
Not being in the dark concerning when things are going to get fixed keeps students as ease. When students are at ease at home, it makes school a little bit easier and college that much more satisfying. As all that falls into place, students also become better tenants. Both Lahr and Kiven were very excited about the upcoming year. Lahr said the company had a great batch of tenants this year.
“They’re thrilled to be living with us, and we’re thrilled to having them living with us,” said Kiven.