The Daily Illini

Apartment leasing companies cannot always be trusted

By The Daily Illini Editorial Board

It has come to the attention of the Editorial Board that apartment leasing companies on campus and the surrounding areas have been known to swindle students leasing with them. These companies typically pivot their power against students rather than assist them. As many students do not have cars and parking spaces on campus are limited, leasing companies also take advantage of a student’s need to live close to campus.

Like many mundane adult activities, college kids are new to independent living, which makes them vulnerable and open to manipulation.

It is easy to take advantage of a population that doesn’t know how to properly inspect a potential apartment or weigh the value of  seemingly cheap rent.

Apartment leasing companies need to stop preying on the college population and be more transparent in their business processes.

Even as we near Halloween, nothing is scarier than the horror stories of the bad leasing companies that plague campus. We’ve heard it all: stories of companies with online applications that charge you twice if you exit out and reopen the application to finish it and stories of security deposits that go missing.

Oh, and there’s often confusion following the end of a lease regarding owed money back. Apparently, you have to tell certain leasing companies to process your check, or they will never send it to you or remind you about it.

But none of these complaints come close to hygiene. It’s become universal that leasing companies tell tenants that their apartments will be cleaned thoroughly before they move in, only for the tenants to arrive on move-in day to discover dirty apartments that have clearly never been cleaned.

For the rent price that many of these apartments cost, including a one month’s rent security deposit, it is disappointing and frustrating to students to have to move into a dirty apartment.

Going back to the dorms looks like a dream with every passing day.

Some companies will promise students a reduction if they get a certain number of friends to sign; however, they rarely follow through on the deal.

The main rule we have learned over the years of apartment leasing is that you have to get everything in writing before you sign your lease. Did an employee tell you that there were semester-long leases? Get it in writing. Were you promised cheaper rent during a negotiation session? Get it in writing. Leasing companies will often backtrack on their word if they’re given the chance.

Don’t be afraid to negotiate the price of rent either. Even if it does not work, there is no harm in trying to lower the rate initially presented.

Remember: You have the power in leasing agreements. With so many campus apartment options, the companies need you more than you need them. So don’t be afraid in waiting to sign your new lease. Often, leasing companies will tell you that you have to sign by a certain date. This is not always true. They’re the same companies struggling to fill apartments and rooms at the last minute — sometimes even with a reduced price tag.

It’s a little ridiculous that these companies aren’t honest and transparent without a little prodding. However, there is likely little to be done on a college campus with so many apartments nearby and students desperate for a place to live. Just be aware that these companies are not always honest, and do your research before you get taken for a ride, too.

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