Off-campus housing problems: Who’s to Blame?

It’s no secret in Morgantown, W.Va. – landlords are rumored to be untrustworthy, lazy business people that will rip you off for everything you’re worth. If you’ve been a resident of off-campus housing and never had an issue with your landlord, consider yourself lucky. Many students aren’t pleased with the hand they’ve been dealt.

Fortunately, WVU is in the process of implementing construction plans to improve living conditions for students (College Park redevelopment, University Place and University Park), so it’s time we do our part to make a difference as well.

It’s easy to complain and blame your living problems on someone else, but did you do everything on your end to ensure a good living environment? The university and the Internet provide some valuable tools that students can use to avoid those dreaded slumlords.

  • Student Legal Services: While SLS cannot provide representation, they can provide you legal advice…especially when it comes to leases, contracts and other landlord/tenant issues.
  • WVU Office of Student Life: This online resource gives you information on off-campus housing fairs and an easy way to search for your next house based on number of roommates, price, pets, etc.
  • Guide for Living Off-Campus: This document gives you advice on almost everything you need to know to live off-campus happily. You can find a budgeting page that allows you to plan how much money you will be spending on rent and utilities and how to do that wisely. You can also find advice on how to pick a good location and inspect it before signing your lease.
  • This website was created in 2007 by a group of WVU alumni who were dissatisfied with their off-campus living while in school. Since then, it has grown exponentially in information and popularity. You can see which landlords made the “Top Ratings” list and which ones were just plain terrible. It allows past tenants to leave comments warning potential tenants what they are getting themselves into…good or bad. Additionally, you can search through off-campus housing availabilities and get information on utility companies in the area.
  • My Morgantown Security Deposit, LLC: My Morgantown Security Deposit says, “Getting your security deposit back should be a black and white issue,” and they will help you get back what you deserve.
  • Parking and Traffic (via Student Legal Services): Parking is an accompanying problem that students face when figuring out where to live. This page provides you with information on parking garages and lots available to students, parking maps for downtown and Evansdale, rates for various garages on campus and parking alternatives for all of the above.

Utilizing your resources can save you a lot of stress and money. These tools allow you the chance to solve your problems and/or completely avoid them in the first place.


8 thoughts on “Off-campus housing problems: Who’s to Blame?

  1. Maddi-

    I think this is a really good post with a lot of great linked information for people who are struggling with off-campus housing. As an RA, I have never lived off campus, but I have attended off-campus housing fairs we provide in the dorms for residents, and I am having a guest speaker in my WVUE191 class in the next few weeks to talk about off-campus housing with my students. I have heard so many horror stories from friends about their housing experiences, including one friend whose apartment complex was actually condemned in the middle of the semester, after which he was forced to move into a dorm. I think these types of posts will make your blog a success!

    • Samantha,

      Thank you for your comment! Could you let me know in advance the date/time you are having your guest speaker in your WVUE191 class? If possible, I would love to attend and get some expert advice related to off-campus housing that I could share on my blog!

  2. Hi Maddi,

    Great post! I love how you incorporated several tweets into this, it shows a real world perspective from a college students point of view. A good friend (and co-worker of mine) actually just got done going through a legal battle of his own with his previous landlord, and was aided by Student Legal Services. He reiterated that it wasn’t about the money for him, but more about the principle of the matter and that’s why he kept pursuing the legal action. I believe this post will be very successful and helpful to students, because I don’t think many actually know of all the options that are available to them. The only place I had heard of was Student Legal Services, so thanks for enlightening me!

  3. Nice, informative list of resources. This is definitely a helpful article, and I really like the use of the bulleted list. It makes it easy to read and understand what each link goes to. Thanks!

  4. Good post connecting current information (developments) to your subject of renting. I think the use of student tweets is a good idea, but I would restructure the post because the reader does not see your words first (and has to scroll to reach them) so does not know where you’re going with it. You need to start with a strong lead of your own. This is especially true here because the tone over-generalizes. Are all landlords REALLY the same? That’s the picture the reader gets. Make that distinction clearer, and keep your perspective more even-handed.

  5. I found this post very helpful, I am currently having landlord problems and I found the resources you provided and excellent addition to the post. I will definitely be using the resources you provided in order to settle my own problems with landlords.

  6. GREAT use of the tweets to start it off. Draws the reader automatically in and gives it a nice touch. I think the listed format was a good idea and helps keep it structured. You could have rambled on about landlords but stuck to a focus point and did a great job. Awesome post.

  7. In my opinion, your post is a public service to us all. Landlords around here are greedy because they know walking-distance-to-campus-housing is in high demand. It’s like gas for cars – they know people are going to buy it no matter what it costs, so all they have to do is slowly raise the price so people don’t notice. The result is you pay $600 for a one-bedroom apartment that smells like cat urine.

    The only way we can fix the local housing market is to increase competition and buyer discrimination. If you are less willing to pay for an overpriced apartment because you have cheaper options, then the price and quality variables will stabilize. Inevitably, Sunnyside will fill with apartment buildings and prices will level out. Too bad that can’t help us right now. For a quick fix, your post is perfect. Thanks.

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