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RLAC raffles balloon ride

Catherine Owers | Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Students looking for off-campus housing may have extra incentive to do so now.  Rent Like a Champion is raffling off a hot air balloon ride for anyone who signs a lease prior to May 1.

“Essentially anyone who signs a lease with us from now until the end of the school year will be put in a drawing,” Mike Doyle, Vice President of Business Development, said. “The winner gets a free hot air balloon ride around Notre Dame with two friends.”

Doyle said the company wanted a unique promotion students would find attractive, finding it in Michiana Balloon Rides.  

“A lot of companies do promotions where they’ll give you cash or an object if you sign a lease, but we were trying to think of something that would be a cool experience that we could provide that students might not otherwise have the opportunity to do,” Doyle said.

The idea for Rent Like a Champion took shape under the leadership of three 2001 Notre Dame graduates, he said.

“It started out with them buying properties within a mile of campus,” he said. “They’d renovate them and rent them out to students.”

While most properties were rented to students, several remained untaken. Doyle said the business decided to offer those empty properties for rental to fans coming into town on football weekends.

“[The houses] were sitting empty, and we rented them out for football weekends, and that idea kind of caught on, and other people started asking us to help rent out their houses as well,” he said.

Doyle said the business now has two sides: renting properties to students and weekend rentals for events like home football games.  

“We have about 15 student properties that we own and that we rent out on a yearly basis to students,” he said. “On the other side, we have about 150 properties to rent for football weekends and graduation.”

The company now owns furnished homes which range from two-bedroom to six-bedroom properties .

“We have places right by campus and places a little farther out, really anything that people could want,” he said. “A lot of them come with really cool stuff in them like TVs or pool tables. Those are really popular, especially for larger groups.”

In order to improve the rental properties, Doyle said the company often renovates its properties and hires Notre Dame students throughout the school year to better understand what appeals to students.

“We try to have our houses have really big common spaces, big, fenced-in yards, so that the houses get better and better every year,” he said.

The company hopes to expand the number of properties available to rent around campus. He said Rent Like a Champion is now in the process of expanding football-weekend rentals to other schools like Alabama and Florida State. Those who live around those campuses will have the opportunity to list their residences for rent on the Rent Like a Champion website.

“We don’t own those homes; we’re more of a listing service website. People will list with us, and we’ll help them rent,” Doyle said. “That side is expanding very fast, and that’s definitely exciting.”

Contact Catherine Owers at [email protected]