Students should demand renter’s rights in Bowling Green

We all know that WKU students tend to move off campus after a year or two in residence halls. Those who choose to rent certainly don’t expect Buckingham Palace, but they also don’t expect to be living in a life-threatening environment. Unfortunately, whether they know it or not, many students are living in unsafe circumstances where their very lives may be endangered.

More often than one would think, many Bowling Green renters face dangerous living conditions, unexpected evictions, fraudulent money practices and sexual intimidation by predatory landlords. Because no specific language is required in leases, the law for each landlord and tenant is essentially what’s written in each lease. Any renter who tries to report unfair activity risks being tossed out on the streets in retaliation.

These problems could largely be solved, however, if our community adopted the Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act, or URLTA. This opt-in state law guarantees basic rights and responsibilities for both landlords and renters and promotes common-sense housing standards. Unfortunately, our city and county governments continue to sit on their hands and have yet to act.

Cue the WKU Student Coalition for Renters’ Rights, or SCRR. Founded earlier this year, our organization is dedicated to educating renters — particularly students — about how few rights they have and what they can do to protect themselves. We advocate the adoption of URLTA. So far, we have received the endorsement of President Gary Ransdell, attention from a variety of media outlets and support from various social justice organizations. 

At SCRR, we believe that every student should be able to live safely in their own home, whether on or off campus. We’re not giving up until that’s a reality.

For more information, find us on Facebook or email us at [email protected]