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Shillim Offers Rent Discounts to SNU Students
May 15, 2012
Shillim, a neighborhood in Gwanak district right next to SNU, has over the years attracted many people taking the national examinations to select high-ranking government officials and lawyers called gosi. Traditionally, passing a gosi exam has been considered extremely honorable and attracted innumerable students as a way to climb up the social ladder. SNU has produced many gosi exam passers.
Typically, gosi students take courses at near-by private academies and rent a room in the area. For many years renting has been an important industry for the locals. However, the government recently announced that for future lawyers and diplomats the gosi exams will be replaced by a new law school system and a national diplomatic academy in the coming years. Accordingly, fewer people are seeking rooms in Shillim, which has increased vacancies in the area.
In order to deal with the recent decrease in demand, Shillim landlords last month proposed that they are willing to rent rooms at a discount to SNU students. "This offer will not only reduce vacancies but also provide SNU students with stable and reasonably low rental prices," said a landlord. On April 15, representatives of the Gwanak-gu Landlords’ Association and SNU gathered to discuss the matter.
"Shillim area's vacancy rate has soared to 10-15%. Our prime goal is to minimize vacancies as soon as possible," said a member of the association. According to one source, the association is planning to offer a percentage-based discount for SNU students without increasing the deposit amount.
If the 10 percent discount proposal goes through, SNU students will be able to rent a standard size room (16.5m2) for 350,000 won a month, which is similar to the rent of new SNU dorms.
Officials from SNU have met the proposal with caution. "It sounds good to provide rooms at a lower price to our students, but we should also keep in mind that living conditions in the Shillim area are worse than those in the SNU dorm," one official said. Students who live off-campus, compared to those who live in the dorm, have to deal with extra nuisances such as cooking for themselves, taking a bus or a taxi to get to campus, and so on. Moreover, there are many bars around the area, which makes the
neighborhood relatively noisier and less safe especially at night.
Meanwhile, there are some landlords who oppose the proposal, claiming that the student discounts will drag down rents in the entire Gwanak area. Another member from the association cautiously noted, "Some landlords whose vacancy rate is not that high might not like the idea."
Recently the landlords established the 'Shillim Gosi Town Emergency Committee', which has been working with many private gosi-prep academies in the area to deduct tuition fees for Shillim residents among many other things.
Many believe that the proposal will benefit a wide range of SNU students from those who are from outside of Seoul to international students looking for cheaper off-campus living options. However, SNU stressed that nothing has been entirely settled yet, and, before jumping to any conclusions, more details should be discussed further with caution so as to optimize the benefits for both parties.