WKU group advocates for renters’ rights

Leah Brown

The WKU Student Coalition for Renters’ Rights is trying to get a new law passed in Bowling Green, one that would offer protection for those who rent property.  

The idea for the group began last year with Glasgow sophomore Jay Todd Richey, the SCRR chair. When Richey was a freshman, he met with Dana Beasley Brown, chairperson of Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, a grassroots community organization, and asked what the most pressing issue in the Bowling Green community was. Brown replied the lack of protection for renters. 

Although Richey does not have a personal connection with the issue, it interests him. 

“I have the opportunity to do something about this and I want to,” he said. “I want to help.”

The group formed at the beginning of this semester. It meets the third Monday of every month in Downing Student Union, Room 2081, and is open for all students to join. 

The coalition’s main goal is to advocate for and educate about legal protection for renters in the community. 

SCRR is advocating for the passage of URLTA, the Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act, in Bowling Green.

The act regulates a legal agreement between landlords and residents, such as requiring hot water for tenants during the winter time and landlords giving a proper notice before entering the rented property.

In Kentucky, about 18 communities have opted into the act, including Louisville, Lexington and Pulaski County. 

SCRR partnered with the Homeless and Housing Coalition in South Central Kentucky, as well as Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, to advocate for URLTA. 

 Patti Minter, SCRR faculty advisor, said URLTA could help those in Bowling Green. 

“Every apartment I ever rented was in a city that had URLTA…this is the first city I have ever lived in that did not have that kind of protection for renters, and it’s a big difference,” she said. “I know that URLTA protects both parties.”

Minter said the act must be passed through the magistrate court or city commission.

Minter said she wants everyone to have a safe, affordable place to live. 

“I was told a story by a female student about waking up on the couch and her landlord was in there,” she said. “It’s terrifying.”

Minter became involved in the group after Richey came to her last semester asking for her support. Minter is a legal historian and studies civil rights. 

“In the last few years, it has really gotten my attention more,” Minter said. 

Bedford sophomore James Line, the SCRR public relations chair, said the group had 30 people at its first meeting in September. Line became involved in the group because he wanted to pledge his support to something that will make a difference in people’s lives. 

The group is currently contacting landlords for support, and would eventually like to go to a city commission meeting. 

Minter said she sees no downside to having legislation protect Bowling Green  renters’ rights.

“I only see better, fairer, more just housing, and a better Bowling Green if we all work toward human rights,” she said.