Off-campus student housing is a playground for landlords to trample tenant rights and take advantage of students.
For many students, college is when they experience renting for the first time, which makes us a prime target for housing exploitation.
As a fourth-year student here at UWO, I have heard many rental housing horror stories from fellow students including living in environmental health hazards, not having running water for days, not getting a security deposit back with no foundation of reasoning from the landlord and being unfairly evicted for reasons not related to late rent payments.
I am sick and tired of hearing stories like this so frequently and I believe that we deserve better support from the community to help balance the power in the student-landlord relationship.
One way to combat the deceptive tactics used by landlords is to implement a tenant resource center in Oshkosh. This type of free service has shown to be a game-changer in other communities and would greatly even the playing field for students in Oshkosh.
This would be a free resource for all community members and include services such as legal assistance, eviction prevention, education on your rights as a tenant, security deposit loan assistance, and tenant-landlord mediation.
In order to push for this resource center, I am working with a group of other students to collect stories from students on their experiences with off-campus housing and what issues they encountered, either in the past or what they are experiencing in the present.