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Subleasing ban reminder sparked by graduate student violations

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New information reveals that several incidents of graduate students violating Stanford’s prohibition on subletting dorm room prompted an email last month from Residential and Dining Enterprises (R&DE).

The original email noted that some students may have tried to sublease their dorm rooms through Airbnb and couchsurfing.com, and that such subleasing was a violation of the Residence Agreement that could lead to disciplinary action.

According to Rodger Whitney, the Executive Director of Student Housing for R&DE, subletting has been a particular problem in graduate housing, although a few undergraduates have used websites to try to rent out their dorm rooms as well.

“Our letter to undergraduates is an effort to remind students of this policy before we see more violations like this in undergraduate housing,” Whitney said in a statement to The Daily.

According to Whitney, no students have yet been expelled for illegally subletting their dorm room.

“However, some graduate students have lost their housing privileges and been referred to the Office of Community Standards,” Whitney said.

According to R&DE, graduate students are allowed to use certain platforms to advertise sublicensing opportunities. However, graduate students face strict limits on the duration of the lease and must lease to a Stanford affiliate, among other restrictions.

When asked if a free service like couchsurfing.com violated the terms of the Residence Agreement, Whitney said it did.

“For undergraduates, subletting or renting any space in a university building or allowing strangers access to any part of a student residence (whether for money or not) is a clear violation of the Residence Agreement and can create an unsafe environment for students and their entire residential community,” Whitney said.

Both Airbnb and couchsurfing.com have denied responsibility for the incidents.

“[W]e ask all of our hosts to follow their local rules and regulations,” Alison Schumer, a spokesperson for Airbnb, said in a statement to The Daily.

“Couchsurfing is not a platform for “rentals” or to find housing, but a place for travelers to connect and stay with locals during their travels, in order to enrich their travel experience… All our members are required to comply with all legal restrictions in their location, and are expected to stay within the terms of their lease,” couchsurfing.com said in a statement to The Daily.

Contact Caleb Smith at caleb17 ‘at’ stanford.edu.

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Caleb Smith '17 is a Desk Editor from Oakland, California and is majoring in public policy. Outside the Daily, Caleb is Director of news at KZSU Stanford, the campus radio station. Have a tip or suggestion? Please contact him at caleb17 ‘at’ stanford.edu.