Campus resources provide students with advice, assistance in apartment-hunting process

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By Aminah Koshul

Josh Johnson, housing counselor at the Tenant Union, advises students who intend to sign a three or four bedroom lease to start looking as early as October. It is possible to find apartments later in the year, he said, but they may not be ideal in terms of location or price range.

Because the issue of who to room with may crop up, the Tenant Union offers Speed Friending workshops that help students find suitable roommates.

Michael Jay, director of public relations at Campus Property Management apartments, recommended that students sign joint tenancies with people they already know to avoid conflicts in the future.

While apartment hunting, it is advisable to make note of the noise level and cleanliness of various units. Also review the city code inspections and bear in mind certain rules pertaining to the pet policy or the number of visitors allowed in different apartment buildings.

“Bring another person with you to get a second opinion,” Johnson said.

The Tenant Union assists prospective tenants before they sign a lease and can even review it to point out hidden fees or anything that could potentially lead to conflicts.

The Student Legal Service office, on the other hand, becomes involved in student affairs after they have signed the lease.

This point in the semester is an extremely busy time for the Student Legal Service office. They are dealing with a number of disputes over security deposit returns.

Beckee Bachman, office manager at Student Legal Service, said that a common mistake students make when moving into apartments is not taking pictures of its original state.

“It is important to have evidence of damage that existed before moving into the apartment, otherwise students can get charged, and they can’t object without proof,” she said. “A good landlord is one that stays on top of repairs and observes laws of not entering without the proper prior notice.”

In addition, it is equally important to be aware of all expenses before signing a lease. Make sure to take into account the cost of utilities, internet, sewer and recycling if they are not included in the lease.

“It’s always a good idea to ask existing tenants how much their average monthly utility bill is,” Jay said.

The Tenant Union offers a workshop that outlines the nuts and bolts of apartment hunting. It also serves as a middleman by providing counseling during legal disputes and assists with reaching compromises regarding roommate conflicts or other situations where no legal action can be taken.

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