Student Government Association working to improve student renters rights
Written by Blake Borgardt on March 28, 2023
NORMAL, Ill. – The Student Government Association (SGA) is working to create an ordinance in Normal that would prevent leasing agencies from walking
As it currently stands leasing agents representing any of the student housing leasers around Illinois State University and Illinois Wesleyan University reserve the right to show an apartment to a prospective tenant with little to no warning for the current tenant. SGA is looking to change this.
President of the Assembly and Off-Campus Senator, Braxton Myers, spoke on the goal behind the ordinance to expand student renter’s rights in Bloomington-Normal.
“At the end of the day we’re not out to get leasing companies or say they’re bad,” said Myers. “They bring a lot of property value to the community and they bring a lot of opportunities to college students. And because of that it seemed like a worthy trade off. With a lot of the students, I’m talking to there’s a lot of concerns of privacy and dignity at the end of the day.”
For SGA to act on an issue, there first needs to be a consensus from the student body that change must be enacted. Myers spoke on where the need for this ordinance originates from.
“We’ve heard from students, from faculty about the need for reasonable accommodations to be made for leasing agents to come to an apartment,” said Myers. “We’ve heard pretty bad horror stories of people that live off-campus for the first time in their lives about being walked in on while taking a nap or even taking a shower.”
For Myers this isn’t just a hypothetical issue, it hits home as one he’s personally experienced.
“I was taking a nap in my own bed and then I woke up to a knock from the leasing agent saying they’re here on my personal bedroom door,” said Myers. “I woke up to people inside of my own apartment that I didn’t know because they were legally obligated to do so.”
Ultimately installing legislation to improve renter’s rights comes down to students voicing their concerns with their local government.
“I think there’s a lack of communication in between the students that go to ISU and the town of Normal that quite frankly I don’t think they knew this was an issue,” said Myers.
While this law would be new to the Bloomington-Normal area, it’s commonplace for other surrounding college towns. The town of Urbana adopted a 24-hour notice policy for a tenant to prepare themselves for a showing in 1994.
“It’s more commonplace in different college towns that have a bigger population,” said Myers. “You see this policy a lot of times in college towns because leasing agencies will buy up properties closer to campus to have access to more of their university.”
While this legislation is still far from complete there are still hopes from Myers and Student Body President, Grant Chassy, that ISU off-campus students could see these measures put into place within the next few years.