Volume 94, Issue 71

Tuesday, January 30, 2001


Prez race begins - Seven vie for USC top spot

Braun sets sights on second term

Landlords ready for new rentals

Windsor big on campus issues

Queen's Park might privatize water

Perps dump poop on campus


Corroded Disorder

Landlords ready for new rentals

By Joy Marcus
Gazette Staff

With only three short months left until the end of the school year, many students are starting to get serious about finding a place to live for the upcoming school year.

Glenn Matthews, housing mediation officer at Western's Off-Campus Housing services, said OCS has posted listings from private landlords in their office and on their Web site, but added they also produce educational material so students can understand their rights and responsibilities as tenants.

He said students are often unaware of their legal rights as tenants. "Lots of tenants aren't aware that they are protected by the Tenant Protection Act," Matthews said. As long as the tenant does not share any part of the house with the landlord, the tenant is covered by a fair bit of protection, he said.

"For example, some landlords put a clause in the lease about a late rent penalty, but the law says that's illegal, and therefore overrides the clause. So even if you've signed a lease, the act protects you from anything illegal you may have agreed to," he said.

Matthews stressed that students should make sure everything in their lease is spelled out clearly. "A lot of times people assume that landlords are required to do certain things such as change the locks or repaint," he added. "Get it in writing."

Murray Black, who has been a London landlord for approximately 25 years, often having students as tenants, said overall he enjoys student tenants because they are fairly co-operative, happy and usually busy. "Some are messy and destructive, but those are very few," he said. "Students tend to be upper achievers; most are there for their education."

Black said he makes a habit of changing the locks on his houses when leases expire, which is something Matthews strongly advocates tenants to specify in the lease. "The landlord may have gotten all the keys back but you never know if the previous tenants made copies," Matthews said.

Mary Ellen Glover, a first-year social science student at Western, said she and four friends toured close to five locations before they found what they were looking for. One of the things which won them over, she said, was the outgoing tenants' endorsement of the landlord.

Glover said that some of the houses she looked at were poorly kept. "Some you wouldn't want to have showers in," she said.

Tom Kelly, a first-year social science student at King's College, is the London representative for a free Internet service at www.homesforstudents.com. Kelly said the Web site gives students a chance to list pertinent information about themselves, such as group size and expected rent, so landlords searching the site can find them.

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