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Editorial: Students should know what they+re getting into, how to deal with problems

Jan. 31, 1997


Apartment dangers

Students should know what they're getting into, how to deal with problems

The issue:

Safety in


Our view:

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of pain. Check out your future home before getting trapped in a lease.

College students who choose to live off campus accept certain risks.

Many can only afford less expensive apartments. The University is surrounded by relatively inexpensive apartment complexes, but inexpense sometimes brings with it disrepair. Students should not expect to be living in the lap of luxury, but safe liveable conditions are a basic that cannot be sacrificed.

It is a very fluid group of tenants who come and go every ten to twelve months each year. As cliched as it sounds, you get what you pay for.

With the time for choosing an apartment and signing a lease at hand, students should realize they should not be in any sort of dangerous or substandard housing. Such situations can be avoided by checking out the residence before signing a lease. Cheap housing may not be in the best shape.

Experts and some realtors suggest checking with plumbers, gas companies and pest control agencies to see if properties have been properly maintained or if any major problems ocurred in the past. Most of these agencies' names can be found through the property management company. Utilities and structural stability of the property should be checked before finally signing a lease.

The recent burning of two students by a gas heater illustrates a problem. The sudden flame from a gas heater occurred when one of them lit the heater with a match. Although gas heaters are not necessarily very safe, residents who have them should exercise caution.

At the first hint of a problem, the management should be contacted immediately. Many realtors will be understanding and deal with maintenance problems promptly. Since some handle multiple facilities, they may be strapped for manpower and need a few days. However, a potentially life-threatening problem warrants quick help and students should be persistent.

If the management continues to neglect serious trouble, students have other options. They can call the Texas Apartment Association.

Another option is to contact a lawyer, demanding attention to the maintenance problem.

No one should feel unsafe just trying to heat their apartment. While students should know what they're getting into once they move in, management must be held responsible for insuring the upkeep of its property.

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