Editorial | Owners’ farms deteriorate living conditions

Apartment and rental nightmares are one of the most abundant resources the Champaign-Urbana region has to offer. Whether it’s the story of someone on the street ravage a resident’s bedding or the annual “Homeless Week“Where students are suddenly wandering between leases, there is no lack of rental terrors.

In a constant struggle to exploit student tenants, apartment companies run incompetently and offer unpleasant conditions to Illini. In addition, the current residential circumstances in CU produce housing inequalities as well as despicable services for students. Thus, the reform is long overdue.

Underutilized services such as student legal services already exist to help students in this endeavor, but Illini deserves improved relief with lease reform and long-term strategies.

The typical relationship between landlord and tenant in CU is fragile at best. Apparently only sensitive at the threat of bad reviews, and repeatedly while carrying security deposits for little or no reason, owners rule over CU due to little liability. Therefore, the first place to start lease reform is to continue to implement tenant rights legally. listed by the tenants union.

Several violations appear on the list that almost daily receive little to no response other than criticism on the University’s Reddit page: roof / ceiling leaks and or infestations to name a few.

The rise of luxury apartments in CU also represents a need for local refinements in housing. “No one earning less than 150% of the federal poverty line can afford rent in Champaign-Urbana”, reported the News-Gazette in August 2019.

With the advancement of opulent apartments, little has been done to improve affordable housing options on campus. Likewise, with the increase of these apartments, student budgets are less spent on other necessities.

A huge implication of these rising costs has been the escalation of food insecurity. In May, the Illinois Newsroom documented Ricardo Lopez, then a senior, as an example of the consequences of rising house prices.

“I didn’t have the financial literacy or sort of the ‘know-how’ to really look at a lease and type of budget for what that really meant,” Lopez argued. Fortunately, resources like the Food aid and welfare program and Bevier Cafe counterbalance the food insecurity of these leases, but they are just dressings in the damaging landscape where landlords dominate students.

In addition, “Homeless Week” each August represents Illini between two leases, generating situations where students are forced to obtain storage units, hotel rooms or impromptu stays with friends.

While some landlords allow tenants to move in earlier to avoid this dilemma, other students may end up with 12-month leases disconnected. While the only viable option remains to ask a willing owner, flawed solutions persist without a proper address.

CU, currently, is a playground for leasing companies to capitalize on students. Power, thereafter, is vested in those landlords who routinely ignore Illini’s housing concerns and problems. In addition to local government action, students should recognize and research the tenants union or student legal services if they see any dilemmas.

“Same old, same old” consent given to appalling landlords cannot be offered. Educate yourself about your rights, as legally declared by the tenants union, and advocate for fine-tuned tenancy terms and additional affordable housing options on campus.

Without local pressure, leasing companies will endure their apathetic tenant farms.

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