It's relatively easy for UB to set standards on campus, especially when it comes to housing. Taming the beast of off-campus renting, however, is often far more complicated.
To provide information and general guidelines, Off-Campus Student Services is conducting meetings this week to raise awareness about some of the issues students may face while renting off campus in Buffalo.
"These sessions are important for students who are considering renting an apartment," said Dan Ryan, director of off-campus student services, in an e-mail. "Unfortunately, most students are not educated consumers of housing. Most of our students who live off campus are living without sprinklers, with insufficient electrical service, and many have no working smoke or carbon monoxide detectors. In fact, many of the apartments rented by our students in the City of Buffalo, do not even have a Certificate of Occupancy."
By providing tips and guidelines to renters off campus, UB hopes to educate its students to make wise decisions when renting houses and apartments.
Ryan also mentioned other issues that may arise between landlords and student tenants.
"Many students are taken advantage of by landlords who refuse to make repairs or return security deposits," Ryan said. "The purpose of these workshops is to make sure that students are better informed before they sign a lease, or in the event that they have already signed a lease, that they know what their rights are and that they know where to turn for help."
A session titled Basics of Leasing will be held Wednesday at 1 p.m. to help students learn how to negotiate leases and give pointers on what to look for before signing an unfavorable lease. On Friday, there will be a session on off-campus living geared toward international students.
Both sessions will take place at 145A Student Union and are open to all students.
Although there are only two sessions left this week, this isn't the only opportunity to learn useful tips regarding off campus living.
"If students cannot attend the workshops, they should contact off-campus student services before they sign a lease. They should also sit down with an attorney to review the lease; Sub Board-I Legal Service provides that service in the Student Union," Ryan said. "If [students] have already signed a lease, they should contact off-campus student services to arrange for an internal inspection of the apartment by a certified building inspector."
If you've either had a really good landlord or a really bad one, we want to hear your story. Take the survey on the sidebar of our homepage, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with what happened, or print and fill out the survey below then return it to 132 Student Union with your name attached to be entered to win a Spectrum prize.
Circle all that apply
1- Why do you live in the University Heights?
a- It's cheap
b- It's fun
c- It's close to campus
d- Great Housing
e- Other _______________
2- When you first rented, which steps, if any, did you take?
a- Walked through the house
b- Spoke to past tenants
c- Had the building inspector check the house
d- Negotiated the lease
e- Checked windows
f- Checked smoke detectors
g- Other _______________
3- Which problems, if any, have you experienced living off campus?
a- Broken appliances
b- Broken windows
c- Broken smoke detectors
d- Loss of security deposit
e- Poor electricity
f- Other _______________
4- Which pieces of UB literature, if any, have you seen?
a- Living off campus pamphlet
b- On vs. Off Campus pamphlet
c- UB Guide to Living Off Campus
d- Renter's Insurance
f- Inventory Condition Report
g- Other _______________
5- What, if any, are your fears living off campus?
a- Housing safety
b- Safety from violence/burglary
c- Bad relationship with landlord
d- Other _______________
6- Who is your landlord? _______________
7- Rate your landlord on a scale of 1-5, 5 being superb, 1 being terrible.