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OPINION: Housing woes and worries

The vulnerability of renting as a college student

Anyone who has to deal with high-headed college students is going to have the occasional ill-mannered day. But is taking advantage of a college student’s vulnerability in renting a home justifiable because one is having that ill-mannered day? Or is it just your way of demeaning my lack of knowledge about a topic you excel at? Just because I’m 20 and I’m attempting to learn how the real world works, doesn’t give you the right to belittle my understanding on a matter I’m trying to grasp.

If you’re a college student living in Arcata, you know exactly what I am talking about. Property management around Humboldt State University is extremely poor, from the landlords “helping” to rent the space to the space itself.

Young adults are leaving on-campus housing in hopes of finding a comfortable home in town and a safe place to reside for the remainder of their time in college. Several students have not only had problems with finding housing, but have found substances like mold in their homes, including myself.

I recently moved from a studio apartment to a two-bedroom because my boyfriend and I needed more space to live comfortably. Aside from the property managers being extremely rude throughout the moving process, I found black mold in my shower the very first time I used it. I should not find mold in my home after moving into a space that the property management stated on paper, had been thoroughly cleaned.

It is only fair that properties are kept up in terms of maintenance, and do not have substances like black mold at all! It’s as if these housing management companies around here just don’t care. They are in the office at eight in the morning, and out by five in the afternoon with no other concern.

I mean, maybe I have this imaginary standard of how professional property managers should be and how clean new homes should look, or maybe I am simply addressing an issue that many don’t have the time to.

If the property managements are not going to enhance their customer service or even their properties, I feel that Humboldt State should take the initiative in helping students find adequate housing as they move off-campus.

Chant’e Catt has recently become HSU’s Off-Campus Housing Coordinator, in hopes of helping homeless students find a home as well as teaching students the do’s and don’ts of dealing with property managements with a new program called the Educated Landlord-Tenant Program. I think this project start-up is a great solution to college students figuring out their off-campus housing, but not enough of us know about it. The housing project has already held several discussions that have been open to all students and community members.

One way or another, college students should not have to choose between living homeless or living in a dirty home with substances like mold. If a property manager is going to take money from a college student’s very tight budget, the least they can do is ensure that the home they provide is safe and clean.

Unfortunately, this is an issue in more college towns than just Arcata. It’s a national problem and it’s something I feel should be addressed sooner than later.

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