A new tool to help find housing

© 2011 EPFL

© 2011 EPFL

EPFL and UNIL have put a new application online to help students and
property owners manage and consult housing listings. The application
uses GPS positioning and calculates routes to avoid unpleasant commuting

Finding housing before the semester begins is a major issue for new students.
Whether it’s a room in a private home, an apartment or a flat shared with
other students, the budget and the commute are two essential factors to take
into consideration. And if it’s a tough issue for Swiss students, it’s even tougher
for studnets coming from abroad. For Daniel Chuard in EPFL’s academic affairs,
it was a matter of providing a new, practical, and above all accessible tool
to students from everywhere, something that wasn’t possible with the old
system. “Today you don’t need to be part of the internal network to access the
website, all you need is to identify yourself with your EPFL or UNIL computer
account. And the housing service can inform students who are not yet enrolled
of available housing options by e-mail.”

Advantages of the new tool

GPS positioning: It’s possible to see where the listing is located using the

Calculate your commute: You can determine how long it will take to travel
between home and campus, depending on your mode of transport.

Housing ads from real estate agencies are available: “We took advantage
of the expertise available in the private sector to negotiate a platform that
is personalized for EPFL and UNIL’s needs. It’s a solution that also enables
users to consult all the listings of our partner agencies. In this way, students
have access not only to listings that are targeted directly to them by private
landlords but also those that are targeted to the public,” explains Chuard.
Currently, the site has 144 rooms and 635 apartments listed, and this should
increase in the coming months.

Provide secure housing listings: “In order to avoid scams, announcements
placed by private individuals are screened. Zero risk does not exist, but if there
is a doubt, or any questions, it is preferable to check with the housing website.”

Dealing with the housing shortage

There is a real shortage of housing in the Lausanne area. Students often have a
hard time finding a place to live. For this reason, EPFL and UNIL are launching
an awareness campaign. You may run into one of the twenty students involved
in this unique “happening” in the streets of Lausanne, Morges, or Vevey. They
will be wearing t-shirts that read “je cherche un espace de vie” (I’m looking for
a place to live), and they will undoubtedly hand you a flyer encouraging you to
welcome a student into your home. The first campaign will take place on June
30, or July 4 in case of inclement weather. The second will take place August

A word to the wise!