Landlords, students and Off-Campus Housing need to work together

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The war between landlord and renter is a historic battle, and BYU students are familiar with the war zone. Only a handful of students have come to master the techniques of the housing battle. When it comes to off-campus housing, there is no guidebook — only a survival guide — and it is the BYU Off-Campus Housing Handbook.

BYU students often grapple with the necessity to live in BYU contracted housing and under strict conditions. Additional Honor Code regulations are among the common complaints by students. After agreeing to live by the university’s standards, students are often required to sign additional restrictions by their landlord. Bradford Law, 25, and a electrical engineering major, finds the further restrictions unnecessary.

“I think it should end at the Honor Code,” Law said. “I think we’re all adults when we come to BYU. And so having these weird restrictions and artificial barriers to living and renting is silly.”

Excessive fees and cleaning checks are among the problems students find with landlord operations, said Jonathan Daniels, 22, a Chinese major.

“I felt like they would find any reason to charge us during the cleaning checks, they just weren’t very fair,” Daniels said. “We weren’t sure what standards they wanted us to clean everything to and there was always going to be a fee regardless.”

Pat Newman, an administrator in the Off-Campus Housing office at BYU, said she encourages students to be proactive in their housing battle and offers suggestions to students in their housing struggles. As problems occur with a landlord, she said students should give a written notice to the management where they reside. When renters first move in they are also encouraged to fill out a check-in sheet that details all maintenance issues. When disputes arise due to damage or during cleaning checks, students will have documentation to validate the issue of damages or cleanliness that the damages occurred prior to their occupancy.

As students sign their contracts for housing, many fail to realize it is a two-way street. As tenants have a responsibility to their landlords, landlords also have a responsibility to their tenants. In the Off-Campus Housing Handbook, it states landlords must not only maintain suitable living conditions for their tenants, but must respond promptly to problems. If a landlord fails to do so they risk their BYU contracted housing status being revoked.

According to the BYU Off-Campus Handbook, “The BYU Off-Campus Housing Office may withdraw the university contract from the owner’s rental facilities for failure to respond promptly or reasonably, as the case may be, or work with due diligence to complete repairs or correct problems.”

Off-Campus Housing emphasizes that students and landowners should amicably try and solve problems arise prior to contacting their office.

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