House Day displays options for students

Students seeking off-campus housing next year can meet more than 60 area landlords and view property lists Tuesday at House Day, UW-Eau Claire’s student-run housing event.

The event is scheduled to run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Council Fire Room of Davies Center.

Junior Saskia Harak, student services director for Student Senate, organized the event with senior Kaysie Olson, Senate’s public relations director, and the Student Services committee. The committee’s purpose is to “do whatever they can to improve relations between landlords and students,” Harak said.

Last semester’s House Day was held in September in Towers Hall and, according to Student Senate adviser Bob Shaw, well over 1,500 students attended.

“The flow is steady throughout the course of the day,” he said. “This is the sixth year of the event … most landlords participate year in and year out. It has become a successful tradition.”

According to Harak, the committee sent letters to city landlords, and more than 60 responded.

“I think we’re got just over half of the list that we sent out,” she said. “We’ve got a huge chunk of landlords coming this year.”

Landlords will provide property lists and brochures outlining what they have to offer, Harak said. Students are encouraged to ask prospective landlords if they’ve attended a city program run by officer Brian Schneider of the Eau Claire Police Department because students may find the background helpful to their off-campus experience.

“When they’re talking to the landlords and inspecting houses … they need to make sure they check out the entire property,” Harak said, adding that checking the landlord’s certification is part of this.

Harak said students attending House Day should have a general idea of the number of roommates they’ll want, how big a house they want and what kind of location. However, she said it’s not important that students know exactly what they’re looking for.

“I think it’s a good idea for (interested students) to attend anyway just to see what’s available … see what’s out there,” she said.

Shaw emphasized the value of House Day from the student’s perspective.

“This is a time for (students) to learn, understand issues of tenancy and to meet face-to-face with responsible, cooperating landlords,” he said. “Acceptable and good housing is very important to students.”

Shaw said House Day is organized by students because the school had trouble with forced contract signing a number of years ago.

“We’ve tried to discourage that practice,” he said.

Students seeking information regarding contracts, leases or arrangements may contact campus lawyer Harry Hertel. Eau Claire offers inexpensive legal services for students, Shaw said.

“The university has a long-standing commitment to try to assist and help students to make good decisions,” Shaw said, “(such as) selecting housing, negotiating a contact (and) being able to locate a living area that is supportive of their learning environment.

“It’s just a great event,” he said. “It’s a great opportunity for students (and a) great opportunity for landlords in the community.”