Students discuss Renters’ Rights

Aaron Mudd

Brown recluse spider infestations, intrusive landlords and eviction — these were some of the topics discussed in a meeting about renters’ rights. 

A group of about 20 people, including students, faculty and community organizers, gathered to share their experiences about renting property. 

The WKU Student Coalition for Renters’ Rights held its first monthly meeting Monday night in Downing Student Union at 6 p.m. The coalition’s leaders focused on introducing the organization and its purpose — to support renters against unfair treatment from landlords.

Glasgow sophomore Jay Todd Richey, chair of the coalition, said a lack of renters’ rights is the number one problem in the Bowling Green community.  

“So we started the coalition just to get as many students on board as possible and we’re gonna try to tackle this issue,” he said. 

The group’s main goal is to support the Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act, a law enacted to regulate rental agreements between landlords and tenants. The law requires counties and cities to opt-in. Bowling Green has yet to adopt the policy. 

The coalition’s leaders said the act’s purpose is to create an equal playing field for both tenants and landlords. 

“Right now, the lease that you have with your landlord is the law,” Richey said. “There is no set specific law that guarantees specific rights, that guarantees specific responsibilities — it’s all laid out in the lease, and if you don’t include it in the lease, you do not have that.”

A few attendees shared stories about their rental experiences. Richey shared a story about a student dealing with a brown recluse spider problem. Richey said the student had few options for dealing with the infestation because it was not covered in the lease. 

Patricia Minter, an associate professor of history, talked about the privacy invasions some female students face.

Minter said women often come to her with stories about landlords that let themselves into students’ apartments without knocking, sometimes even while the tenant is in the shower. 

People simply feel that they are powerless and that’s what this coalition is about,” Minter said. 

Louisville sophomore Jody Dahmer said he wants to be involved with the coalition. 

“I had no idea that things were as bad as they were in Bowling Green, where you can be evicted just by reporting about bad how your condition is,” he said. “So I want to do my part to try to make Bowling Green a better and safer place for students.”