Area landlords take advantage of the college crowd

Marchae Grair

During the winter, my living room looked like a campsite.

People huddled close for warmth, and multiple blankets masked the identities of the people beneath them. Even though we were indoors, my roommates and I shivered beneath our layers of sweatshirts.

For at least four months, we suffered from indoor frostbite because of a hidden Kent epidemic – “the slumlord.”

What’s my definition of a Kent slumlord?

Slumlords are the landlords, and the people who employ them, who disregard tenant rights for renters when they’re enrolled in college. In other words, they see someone in a Kent State T-shirt and guess him or her to be a 20-something, and that person becomes the newest victim.

These landlords mask repair issues to get students to lease their homes, which are sometimes barely livable.

I am not a whiny college kid who was duped into a bad situation. I toured the house where I now live, and I chose to agree on its location despite paying $350 a month for a house where four other people live.

Silly me for assuming that $350 in rent every month gave me the tenant rights I am guaranteed by Ohio law.

It took phone calls from all of my roommates and some of our parents to get the heat fixed after four months. By that time, it was already getting warm outside and I had already made a permanent dent in my bed from hiding in my room, where I used a space heater.

As I write this column, cold air still comes through the vent in my room. A sheet covers the spot because I am tired of the maintenance man insisting that I do not know what cold air is.

I guess I should have known better when I arrived to my “new” house in August and my roommates were scraping mold out of the bathroom.

If my testimonial isn’t enough, I know plenty of others who have battled with Kent landlords.

One of my friends had to reach into her toilet when her landlord claimed “big loads” clogged it, so it was not his problem to fix it. The same landlord refused to fix her shower when the pipes broke because he claimed it would cost too much money.

Another one of my friends awoke to a maintenance man fixing his door until 3 a.m. because it was not completed when he moved into his house as promised. The landlord also made the tenants shovel snow after a blizzard, even though it was previously agreed that the landlord would clear snow during the winter.

Kent slumlords need to pay for their irresponsibility to college renters.

Most of us are good tenants, and we make up a large segment of the renters’ market in Kent.

If you think your landlord is breaking the law, make him or her own up to it. If your landlord receives your rent check each month, then you are well within your rights.

Marchae Grair is a junior electronic media major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].