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Student event on understanding leases

By Emily Cummins, News Editor

"How to Read Your Lease," an informational session and discussion, was held Wednesday by the Office for Off-Campus Living and Commuting Student Services.

Steve Richmond, alumnus from the University's undergraduate and law programs, spoke to the audience of students and parents about how to properly read a lease. His main message was to educate students in order to reduce future problems students could have with their landlords.

"We try to educate the students. We can only educate, and that's what we are doing," said Anita Ellis, the director of The Office for Off-Campus Living and Commuting Student Services.

The event happened to coincide with a fire that occurred early that morning at an off-campus residence. Students expressed their questions and concerns about what a landlord is responsible for taking care of, and what falls under the responsibility of tenants.

"When you get to your new apartment or house, take pictures of everything. When you leave, take pictures of everything… this creates a record for the condition," Richmond said.

Richmond tried to stress "that there are no special rules for college students," and that the laws are the same for everyone so students should know their rights.

He also stressed the importance of renter's insurance. Renters insurance covers possessions against loss from fire, smoke, lightning, vandalism, explosion, windstorm and water damage from plumbing.

"You may not think you need insurance at all if your landlord already has insurance on the building, but your landlord's policy doesn't cover any of your personal property,"  Richmond said.

Some key things to keep in mind when renting, according to Richmond, include the fact that a resident's security deposit cannot be used for anything else but damages caused by the tenants, landlords cannot charge a fee for pets, and landlords cannot resort to self-help in the case of eviction in the state of New York.

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