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Landlord, tenant rights unmasked

For many students, college provides the first opportunity to live in an off-campus apartment without supervision. Many students will also be signing their first lease, which can come with unexpected consequences.

“This may be the first legal document a student signs, and the terms can be unfamiliar and confusing,” said Molly Hegarty, department manager for Ohio State’s Student Housing Legal Clinic, in an e-mail.

Hegarty said students should have a well-rounded view of off-campus living, which includes the legal rights and responsibilities under Ohio law and their lease.

“Once a student signs a lease (he or she is) legally obligated under the terms of the lease,” Hegarty said. “So, before the student signs, (he or she) should be very sure to understand the lease and be comfortable with its terms.”

Because most students do not have experience signing leases, OSU provides them free legal advice and counsel through its SHLC.

It provides 250-300 lease reviews a year to students and about 1,200 students received direct legal services from the clinic last year, Hegarty said.

This three-day series will cover topics ranging from tenant and landlord rights and duties, to a profile of the woman who single-handedly assigns roommates to on-campus residents.


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