Stick it to student housing

Stick it to student housing
Ashley Robertson, student Ombuds, is available to advise students regarding housing issues in SC 107. Photo credit: Jay Arcansalin
Ashley Robertson, student Ombuds, is available to advise students regarding housing issues in SC 107. Photo credit: Jay Arcansalin

Between classes, work, relationships and extra-curricular activities, students hardly have time to breathe, let alone fight apartment complexes for their rights.

Without sufficient time and without legal knowledge, students are often cheated out of what they are legally entitled to. From not fulfilling maintenance requirements to ignoring requests for deposit checks, student housing often takes advantage of their tenants.

“It is important for students to know their rights and to read through their contract thoroughly, and if they think the apartment complex isn’t holding up their end of the bargain they need to be assertive,” said Ashley Robertson, the campus Ombuds and student intermediary. “The most important thing is to stick up for yourself.”

Although an issue can ordinarily be resolved with persistence, this isn’t always the case.

“I called College Terrace for months trying to get my deposit back, and they repeatedly told me it was in the mail, but it was never sent to me,” said UVU student Kristie Binks. “I threatened to talk to an attorney, and they told me to go ahead with my decision. At that point I realized it wasn’t a feasible option for a student.”

There are an assortment of other issues which students deal with because of unresponsive housing management.

“I have lived at College Terrace for over nine months and I still have a hole in my ceiling although I put in a maintenance request when I first moved in,” said UVU student Adam Lallas. “Among other neglects, the door to our balcony doesn’t lock, the towel rack is broken, the furniture doesn’t function properly and they won’t let us replace it without paying a high fee.”

There have also been complaints of lost invoices, insufficient security, and inoperative laundry machines.

In cases where students have attempted to resolve their issues with no compliance from management, there seem few alternatives and they frequently throw up their hands in surrender.

“It is difficult because apartment complexes have a ton of money, so they can hire attorneys, whereas students who want to refute these problems don’t have the means,” Robertson said.

One of the best sources, however, is Ashley Robertson, whose job it is to resolve student issues and get their questions answered. She can be contacted at 801-863-8665 or arobertson@uvu.edu.

“I have had students complain about Wolverine Crossing, College Terrace, Courtside Apartments, Winterhaven and Summerwood Condos among other student housing,” Robertson said. “While I have no legal training, as a mediator I can negotiate between disputing parties and try to get both needs met.”

Robertson also suggested seeking free limited legal advice provided by the state at

utcourts.gov/howto/legalassist.

If problems persist despite attempts at resolution, and the apartments legitimacy is questioned, students may contact the Better Business Bureau at info@utah.bbb.org and file a complaint.

“The economy is in shambles and no one is feeling it more than students,” Lallas said. “The one place we should be able to rely on apart from our university is our housing.”

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