To come up with a solution for the current situation, Korea Land & Housing Corporation (LH) handed out financial aids to university students who have to find rental studios by providing part of the key money which students have to pay when they rent a studio for long-term from 2010. University students looking for housing in Seoul can receive up to 70 million won, those who are looking for studios in other metropolitan cities can receive up to 50 million won, and others looking for studios in other regions can receive up to 40 million won. This year, total 10,000 studios were provided to university students nationwide.
“We started this project to ease the financial burden of university students,” said an official from the LH. “In 2010 and 2011, we helped around 250 students respectively. However, for 2012, we provided 10,000 studios to students finding places to stay as it has become more difficult to rent a studio as prices are soaring.”
In order to receive financial aid for the key money, students should first submit documents proving their financial situation. The student candidates are divided into category one and two.
To be included in category one, whose students get priority over those in category two, students should come from families who are basic livelihood guarantees, single parent homes, small incomes, disabled students with small incomes or children welfare centers. Student candidates who are not included in the conditions of the category one are included in category two. Students included in category one pay one million won for the key money and pay around 100,000 won for monthly rent to the landlord and can live two years in a row. Students of category two pay two million won for the key money and pays around 200,000 won for the monthly rent.
“Some people have complained that the standards for becoming the candidates for the financial aid from the LH are too difficult to meet,” said the official. “So we gradually made standards simpler.”
When the selected students have to look for studios leased for jeonse, long-term house deposit, around campus and report it to the LH, the LH will make a contract and pay the key money within the maximum amount which is different according to the region where students are looking for a studio.
Despite the LH’s ambition and efforts to ease current residential crisis of university students, many students call for improvement.
“Problem is, most students are looking for monthly-rent studios, not jeonse studios,” Lim Young-jin (Social Sciences, 1) said. “Most studios around campuses are usually leased for monthly rent, not jeonse. In addition, while the LH says students should find studios categorized for residence to receive help, many studios around campus are for commercial purposes.”
Real estate agents also complain about the difficulties of finding studios suitable for the LH.
“There are many situations when the landlords makes a contract with another student first while the student who wants to lease a studio with the help of the LH waits for the LH’s permission after it examines whether the studio fits the standard,” said Shin Young-mo, a real estate agent in Sinchon.
“Also, the studios whose landlords allow to be leased to the LH are usually too old or too expensive considering their quality.”
However, the LH is not considering increasing the number of student beneficiaries this year.
“Due to our limited budget, it is difficult to give this opportunity [paying key money for jeonse] to more students this year, but we will try our best to come up with a solution,” said the official from the LH.
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