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Know the facts to avoid being taken advantage of by landlords

There was a riot in the student ghetto of my hometown, Albany, N.Y., on March 12, the day of Albany’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade. In the wee hours of the morning, students of the University at Albany partook in the drunken debauchery, which one expects on the greenest of holidays, but they took it to an extreme.

When I returned home for spring break, my city was still talking about the biggest scandal to rock the city since Eliot Spitzer was caught with his pants down. The University at Albany canceled its Fountain Day, which carries about the same importance for the Great Danes as Mirror Lake Jump carries for the Buckeyes. There are serious debates raging about the student ghetto and the wisdom of allowing students to live so clustered together. There is also the same discussion we have been having here, about the quality of the housing in student ghettos.

The houses in both Albany’s and Columbus’ student ghettos are depressing, if nothing else. Shoddy upkeep and poor construction combined with lackadaisical landlords result in ugly, crowded and possibly unsafe conditions.

The vast majority of college students, it seems, are either broke or on their way there. We’re busy, tired and overworked. When we have some free time, we generally unwind by drinking some Natty Light and playing beer pong. We don’t typically treat our homes well — have you ever seen the bathroom in a house rented by a pack of guys or walked down an off-campus street on a Sunday?

All things considered, it’s pretty easy to see why off-campus student housing is not among the nicest in Columbus. Still, do our busy schedules and penchant for spilling cheap beer on the floor allow our landlords to fleece us? Student housing is not meant to be luxurious, I understand that. But landlords always have a duty to maintain their property in such a way that makes it habitable. Under no circumstances should a landlord be able to take advantage of our lack of cash, packed schedules or general ignorance of building maintenance.

So I urge everyone, myself included, to educate themselves about their building. We should all be aware of what is acceptable and not and encourage our landlords to fix our problems. Just because we are young and strapped for cash is no reason to let ourselves be taken advantage of.

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