Restrictive leases affect entire state

Students across Minnesota are exploited by their landlords.

It is a bit ironic that when campus is at its yearly beauty climax, campus life is, for the most part, nonexistent. It’s no secret many students opt to go home for the summer and, as a result, face subletting headaches. Students living around campus are forced into 12-month leases even though they typically live at locations nine months at a time. There needs to be some other alternative for students during the summer.

For the most part, students who want to go home for the summer end up cutting their losses and leaving their apartments vacant. If a student is lucky enough to find a subletter, chances are they still have to pony up a significant portion of the rent, because their name remains on the original lease. So why is there no such thing as a shorter lease near campus?

Property owners near campus know they have a captive population willing to sign and pay just about anything so they have a place to stay near campus. University students are a prime population to be exploited. Often students don’t know their rights as tenants or are not aware of what avenues to pursue when living conditions are wretched. Because there is limited availability of rental units in prime neighborhoods surrounding the University, property owners know there always will be a steady stream of tenants and are able to neglect student concerns.

Property owners have every right to make the most money they can off their real estate, but part of the reason many students choose to go home is because they can’t afford food, housing and utilities without the financial aid and loans they receive while attending school.

Living situations of most students attending colleges and universities throughout Minnesota are affected by restrictive lease lengths. Parents of these students also are affected. Many are unable to spend time with their children during the summer or are forced to help their student fork out rent money in the summer.

The state should recognize this inconvenience and work toward requiring landlords statewide to offer six-, nine-, and 12-month leases.