UConn students who reside off campus continue to experience woes with their living arrangements. According to reporting done by the Daily Campus last week, students are having issues with the quality of their living areas. Many students are having problems with the physical building quality of their apartments and if their landlords get involved, very little actually gets done. Additionally, many students have experienced water quality issues and shifty practices by landlords have turned students away from traditional locations for off-campus housing. The Daily Campus has previously reported on the above issues.
According to the UConn fact sheet, around one third of students reside off campus. That is a large portion of the student body. As costs for on-campus living and dining arrangements rise, more and more students will opt to live off-campus. While they are no longer on-campus residents, the University must prioritize their safety. That includes making sure students are totally aware of exactly what their rights as tenants are and what the best places to rent from. Off-Campus Student Services says they keep a list of housing residencies in good standing. The office also keeps a list of complaints filed by students against properties but doesn’t make that list public.
It is unacceptable that students have to directly ask Off-Campus Student Services for information about any complaints that a property or landlord might be facing. Off-Campus Student Services says they keep the list private to keep up a good relationships with landlords and because complaints are part of a student’s file within the office. The only good relationship they should be trying to pursue is with students.
Additionally, there are ways to alert students of complaints without listing out each individual complaint. If a residential area is getting many complaints about a specific issue then the university should inform all students who live in the area about the problems in the same way they would let students living in a dorm know about any issues. Places with numerous complaints over the years should have some kind of indication on the website as well. If the information becomes more public then landlords will be forced to be better.
Off-Campus Student Services needs to prioritize students over property relationships in order to make students feel safer while living off-campus.