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Independent student content

BG Falcon Media

Independent student content

BG Falcon Media

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April 11, 2024

  • Poetics of April
    As we enter into the poetics of April, also known as national poetry month, here are four voices from well to lesser known. The Tradition – Jericho Brown Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, Brown visited the last American Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP 2024) conference, and I loved his speech and humor. Besides […]
  • Barbara Marie Minney in Perrysburg
    Indie bookstore, Gathering Volumes, just hosted poet and (transgender) activist, Barbara Marie Minney in Perrysburg To celebrate Trans Day of Visibility, Minney read from her poetry book – A Woman in Progress (2024). Her reading depicted emotional and physical transformations especially in the scene of womanhood and queer experiences. Her language is empowering and personally […]
Spring Housing Guide

Students advised to know their lease

Many students who have lived in the dorms their first two years of school can’t wait to live off-campus – no matter what lease they end up signing.

The University encourages students to sign the Standard Lease that Student Legal Services drafted to help students avoid future disputes with their landlords. The Standard Lease also makes students’#39; rights with their landlord similar across the board in Bowling Green.

“If there are 30 different leases, then we will need to understand 30 different leases,” said Valerie Bullard, coordinator for campus programs in Student Life, who also assists off-campus residents through Resident Life.

Rodney Fleming, attorney for Student Legal Services, recommends students know what they are agreeing to on their lease before signing it to avoid getting into trouble for violating that lease.

For example, if a lease doesn’t cover yard maintenance, the tenant will be expected to shovel the sidewalks in the winter. If the tenant isn’t willing to do this, then negotiations need to be made prior to signing the lease.

A student is in a better bargaining position to negotiate the lease before signing rather than after, Fleming said.

Once the rental agreement has been signed, as long as the tenant does what the lease requires, they have the right to possession of the property until the lease expires.

If the landlord fails to uphold their part of the agreement, the tenant can take legal action. Once the tenant has complained, the landlord may not retaliate by increasing rent or decreasing services agreed to in the rent.

When a student signs a lease, they’re responsible from that point on for returning the property in the same condition they received it in – with exception to normal wear and tear. Landlords typically require a deposit to ensure that repairs to the property can be made once the tenant moves out.

But what damages are students responsible for repairing?

Several students feel they’ve paid for repairs that should be considered maintenance and not property destroyed.

Last year, Fleming talked to more than 300 students having landlord issues, and opened 150 cases dealing with off-campus issues – plenty of which included deposit recovery.

But students should know that a landlord must present a legitimate reason to take money out of their deposit.

“A deposit is still your money, the landlord is just holding it,” Fleming said. “They have to prove they have the right to withhold money from the deposit.”

Students should also know they’re only responsible for damages that they or their guests do. Just because someone lives in a residency when the damage occurs doesn’t automatically place responsibility on the tenant to fix the damage.

If a rock is thrown through a window and the tenant isn’t involved, it isn’t their responsibility to pay for its repair.

But if the tenant does break something, then it is their responsibility to fix it. Even then, students should be reasonably charged for the repair, Fleming said.

If a five-year-old coffee table is broken, the tenant shouldn’t be expected to pay for a brand new coffee table.

“The amount charged should be equal to the amount suffered,” Fleming said.

When it comes to off-campus living arrangements, the student can suffer just as much as the landlord if they don’t know their rights.

Landlords are required to fix any supplied appliance, whether it is considered a “necessity,” like a working refrigerator, or a “luxury,” like a dishwasher.

All appliances must be repaired within 30 days of the complaint unless it poses an immediate health risk.

“You agreed to pay for that appliance, so it must be in working condition,” Fleming said.

If a landlord doesn’t fix repairs after a complaint is filed, students have the right to seek legal action – and could put their rent payments on “layaway” with a clerk at the municipal or county court until the landlord steps up to their responsibility.

Students’ furniture and possessions are also protected by the law if they fail to pay rent because of a legal dispute – nothing can be confiscated by landlords to recover missing rent.

Issues with landlords are one potential problem with living off-campus, but getting evicted by the city is another issue in itself.

The city has a zoning ordinance that prohibits more than three unrelated people from living in one unit. The landlord may not tell potential tenants of this ordinance in hopes to be able to rent the unit- so it is up to the potential tenant to understand they cannot live with more than two unrelated friends in most houses and apartments in Bowling Green.

Students who fail to know their rights put themselves at risk to be taken advantage of or to become evicted from their residence.

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