Thursday, November 1, 2012

Students Getting Wise on Rental Ripoffs and Dangers

Last week the WWU student newspaper, the Western Front, published two pieces on rental health and safety issues.  The editorial board spoke out in an opinion piece entitled "Student Renters Need Protection".   You can read that editorial by clicking here.  That same day, the newspaper published a long article on the rental situation by student journalist Nathan Dalla Santa entitled, "Rental Licensing Law Stuck".   That article is available by clicking here.

Students are catching on.  The realization is that they have been had by landlords day after day and year after year for decades.  From high rents and units in dangerous and atrocious condition to security deposits unjustly withheld, students are understanding that with 10,000 renters from their university they might just have a very large say in the matter.  The Associated Students (AS) and the Western Front have already spoken on the topic of health and safety in rentals several times (click here and here).  The latest is a letter from the AS to the mayor and city council asking for action on inspection of rentals.  You can read my blog entry on that action hereAn AS  representative has already met with the mayor.  Additionally, the AS has created a work-study position to advance action by the city on this pressing issue.  The person chosen will be proposed to the mayor as the WWU representative on the Mayor's Neighborhood Advisory Commission.

The Viking Community Builders and the Western Democrats worked hard on a survey of rental conditions in Bellingham that was published last year. You can read about the results of the survey and study the actual data and comments here.  As noted in the 23 October Western Front article, this year WWU student Heather Rees is working on the publication of the results of a survey of student renters that she did in conjunction with the Campus Community Coalition.  I will bring you news of that survey once it is published.

1 comment:

Jillian said...

Richard, THANK YOU for keeping this issue updated and accessible! You are performing an invaluable service to this community. Always appreciate your intelligent insights as well.