Good housing situations rest in student hands

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The quality of living conditions in student housing depends more on the tenants than the landlords, according to BYU Off-Campus Housing.

With the new semester underway, students are adapting to new living situations and new schedules.

[media-credit name=”Sarah Strobel” align=”alignright” width=”300″][/media-credit]“A week before the semester started, I bought a new contract and sold my other one because my previous house was going to be too dirty,” said Rique Carroll, a senior studying media arts.

She said the state of her apartment made any attempt to study or get work done stressful.

Gary Briggs, a BYU Off-Campus Housing manager, said in order to be contracted by BYU the housing must meet a high standard.

“The way I look at it is whether or not this is an apartment that we would like to live in,” Briggs said. “Besides the maintenance of the apartment, when a student moves in it should be clean.”

He said, however, once students move in, the cleanliness of the apartment depends on the students living there. Briggs said tenants have a responsibility to not only be clean, but also to report maintenance issues.

“We encourage our landlords to hold monthly inspections and look at issues like that,” he said. “If the apartment isn’t being taken care of, then maintenance usually isn’t being reported either. That affects everybody, and it’s hard especially if four or five of the roommates are fine with it but one isn’t. It’s an issue that really lies with the tenants.”

Tom Golightly, assistant clinical professor at the BYU Counseling and Career Center, said stress from living in a messy environment can impede schoolwork.

“Overworry causes distraction, difficulties with memory, concentration, and affects energy levels,” he said. “If you’re expending a lot of energy worrying about things, it’s hard to be as energetic about studying, and about classes.”

John Pace, manager of the BYU Center for Conflict Resolution, said roommates need to build relationships before addressing issues such as apartment cleanliness.

“Try and build a relationship,” said Pace. “And then if they can do that, they might be able to, through listening and learning, get to know this person and teach them and communicate to them their own problem and get cooperation.”

Pace said if roommates feel they need to discuss the issue, it is important to address it tactfully.

“If there’s just one person that’s the problem, and all the roommates see it as a problem, they might want to talk to the person together,” Pace said.

Briggs said it’s up to roommates to find a middle ground that they can all feel comfortable with.

“We would prefer that all the tenants sit down together and set some standards,” he said.

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