Million kroner loss on empty student flats

With more than a hundred empty student flats, Sio risks losing close to one million kroner in lost revenue.

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A one million kroner loss is the direct consequence if the now 100 empty student flats remain empty until the main intake in April. Director of SiO Housing, Tom Olstad, admits that this is not a desirable situation.

– Our main goal is to hire out every single flat, and so naturally, we do not want them to be empty. But we still consider the situation to be undramatic, Olstad stresses.

– So you don’t find it problematic that you most probably will end up losing 1 million kroner in lost revenue?

– No, financially, this has no serious consequences. It is not uncommon to have empty student flats for the first few months of the year, and thus we have already included this loss in our budget.

Free rent

Still, for the first time in history, The Foundation for Student Life in Oslo (SiO) has initiated a recruiting campaign. As part of the campaign, they have sent out letters to all the residents in SiO’s student halls, promising one month’s free rent to students who manage to recruit new tenants to the empty flats. The condition is that the tenancy agreement is signed before 15 February, and that the moving-in day takes place before 1 April.

– The idea is that the students who already live in student halls may have friends who are interested in living at Sogn, Bjerke or Kringsjå where there are a lot of empty flats, Olstad explains.

– If you don’t find it worrying that these flats are empty, why have you initiated this campaign?

– Of course, we would prefer that all the flats were occupied, even if this isn’t a financial «must». Still, it is always a good idea to try out different marketing strategies and this way we make students aware that there are flats to be rented. It would be a shame if someone wanted to live in one of our flats, but thought that all the student halls were full, he says.

Cheap marketing

At this point, Olstad believes that it is too soon to say anything about the result of the campaign. However, he is very excited about the response and believes that this is a very cheap and hopefully effective way to market SiO Housing.

– It does not cost much to send out some letters. Neither will the extra rent we risk having to pay to those who recruit new tenants amount to a lot, compared to the money we lose now that the flats are empty.

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