The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

    Making the Move

    Careful not to scrape yourself on the stucco ceiling if you sit up in your bunk bed when the alarm goes off. You groggily climb down the cold metal ladder and slide your feet into your flip flops.

    Cautiously, so you don’t wake-up your roommate, you slip out the door. The stale smell of Ramen and cleaning solution greet you as you try to prepare your eyes for the harsh fluorescent lighting of your floor’s communal bathroom.

    Students gave many different reasons for wanting to move out of the residence halls, like living with friends, having more space, and not having to share a room. Once they decide to move off campus, they face the challenges of finding a house they like and a landlord they can trust.

    Experts and students said that by doing some research on the landlord, inspecting the property carefully and making sure they have all their questions answered before they sign a lease, renters can be more confident that they’ll have a good place to live.

    Story continues below advertisement

    Junior David Hesse, who said he plans on renting a place with some friends from different dorms, said he wants more privacy than he gets as a resident of Katharine Thomas Hall.

    “It would be nice to have my own bedroom,” he said.

    Hesse said he is nervous about finding a landlord who makes sure things get repaired when necessary.

    Detective Brian Schneider of the Eau Claire Police Department said renters should always do their homework on a potential landlord. They can use the Wisconsin Circuit Court Web site to check for criminal complaints against a landlord, he said.

    He also said it’s a good idea to rent from someone who has completed the Certified Eau Claire Landlord Program. Participants learn about managing crime-free properties, as well as landlord and tenant rights and responsibilities, according to its Web page.

    Michelle Madsen, the Director of Student Senate’s Student Services Commission, and one of the organizers of H.O.U.S.E Day, said to avoid landlords who seem evasive.

    “If you feel like they’re not answering your questions and giving you the runaround, I’d say your gut instinct would be good to follow,” she said.

    Sophomore Nicole Henderson said she wants to move out of the residence halls because she needs more space, but she is worried she won’t find a good place.

    “There seems to be a lack of nice houses to live in,” she said.

    John DeRosa, a property manager for Rental Resources of Eau Claire Inc., who also gives renter education seminars, said looking at a property and asking the right questions before you rent is crucial. He said it’s a good idea to walk through a rental unit, but to check the bathtub and sinks for leaks and clogged drains, inspect the locks on windows and doors and to check the outlets using a hair dryer or other small appliance.

    Other resources can provide valuable information about rental properties, DeRosa said. Excel Energy can give renters a 12-month average of utility usage, and the Eau Claire City-County Health Department has information about outstanding health code violations.

    When renters have checked out their landlords, looked at properties and are finally ready to sign a lease, they need to know their rights and their landlord’s responsibilities before signing it. Madsen said it’s important not to rush into signing.

    “Don’t hurry into a lease,” she said. “You have time. Ask your questions until you get an answer you’re satisfied with.”

    DeRosa said that before signing a lease, tenants need to know whether utilities are included and how quickly maintenance requests are handled.

    He also said to make sure the lease includes clear and straightforward explanations of all the regulations associated with renting the property, and he recommends getting a list of things for which the landlord can deduct from the security deposit.

    “(After you move out), you can go back and look at it if someone charges you,” he said. “It’s like renting a car.”

    DeRosa said that becoming informed and knowing your rights is not only essential to making the whole renting process easier, it’s good for business.

    “Our stance is an educated tenant is a good tenant,” he said. I’d much rather have happy customers. Then everyone makes money, and everyone has a good place to live.”

    Leave a Comment
    More to Discover

    Comments (0)

    The Spectator intends for this area to be used to foster healthy, thought-provoking discussion. Comments are expected to adhere to our standards and to be respectful and constructive. As such, we do not permit the use of profanity, foul language, personal attacks or the use of language that might be interpreted as libelous. The Spectator does not allow anonymous comments and requires a valid email address. The email address will not be displayed but will be used to confirm your comments.
    All The Spectator Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    Activate Search
    Making the Move