The scary thing about renting an apartment is that it doesn’t seem like a big deal, until it is. I, and many of my university friends, have learned this the hard way. As naive, gullible, and easily excited young people, it’s easy to get reeled in if you don’t know any different. For me, the wake up call came when a landlord talked my first year roommate and I into signing a three-year lease, in order to win the bid. When living arrangements proved to be too costly, and the situation simply wasn’t working out anymore, we were trapped. We put in our notice, thought we were golden, only to find out later that we’d signed an extended lease without really understanding the consequences.
Unfortunately, stories like these aren’t a rarity. I’ve heard horror stories about students with no hot water, leaky pipes, constantly partying neighbours, and simply put, unresponsive landlords. This, in a nutshell, is why it’s so important to learn your rights. In many ways this notion goes on the back burner in the face of classes, midterms, and social activities, but going to the sessions provided here on campus, or simply doing some sleuthing yourself, will save you a lot of grief in the long run. You as a renter, have a number of rights. There’s nothing more stressful than a bad living arrangement, so please, do your homework, because I didn’t.
Yours in earnest,
A screwed tenant