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September 09, 1977 - Image 4

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1977-09-09

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"Page 4-Friday, September 9, 1977-The Michigan Daily

Eighty-Eiglit Years o
420 Maynard St., Ar
Vol. LXXXVIII, No. 2
Edited and managed by student
It's good to b4
NN ARBOR is an easy town to take
fo rgranted.
After spending a few years here, one
becomes an expert at moaning about
everything from obscene rents and as-
tronomical tuition rates to the condition
of the streets and the dearth of parking
spaces. And yet, we all return each fall,
drawn like lemmings to this city.
The fact is, deep-down, we all love this
Vlace, and after a summer in the real
world, it's a relief to return to our cozy
,:little pseudoreality:
* Where you can dress and act any
RKway you choose since there's always
:.someone much weirder than you just
=o around the corner.
S*Where you can see 50 different
:-movies a week, (quite a relief after a
summer diet of Monkey and the Bandit
':,nd Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo), and
jnost of them at a cost of only $1.50.
" Where you can come home from a
,tough day and turn the stereo, on just as'
=loud as you like without any complaints
:'from the elderly couple next door.
*Where you can always find someone
*o talk to who is an expert in whatever
,new subject in which you've suddenly,
developed an interest.
* Where you can join a group or or-
.ganization that shares your values,
- whether your goal is to burn the Admin-
istration Building, and depose Robben
Fleming, or to crusade for psychoan-

f Editorial F
nn Arbor, MI 481C

News Phone: 764-0552

Welcome to Ann Arbor

ts c 'the University of Michigan
e back home
alytic counseling for plants.
* Where you can wait in line on Sun-
day mornings for omlettes at Steve's
Lunch, and you know they'll be better
than Mom used to make.
" Where you can play pinball until 3
a.m. and not be alone.
" Where you can smoke and drink
yourself into oblivion and have no one
to answer to the next morning but
* Where you can sit in a booth from
your parents' era, eating Drake's famed
toasted pecan rolls and sipping darjee-
ling tea.
* Where a man named Shakey Jake
will sing you a song if you buy a paper
from him and jeer and hiss at you if you
dare to pass him by.
* And where you can watch top-ranked
football and basketball and hockey
teams, eat fragels from the Bagel Fac-
tory, buy hardback books at discount
from Borders', devour all-natural ice
cream at Mountain High, eat the best
crab you've ever tasted and not pay an
arm and a claw for it at the appropriate-
ly named Cracked Crab, where you can
buy every comic book ever made at the
Eye of Aggamotto, and read one of the
nation's finest college newspapers de-
livered to your home each morning for
a paltry $12 a year (sorry about that).
Gee, ain't it good to be back home

TT'S SEPTEMBER, and after that
wonderful summer vacation you're
ready to come back to Ann Arbor for the
;annual autumn frolic, the first day of
school. You're smiling, youruggage is
1i the back of the car, your parents are
feeling a glow in their hearts for you,
their College Student; and you ponder
thoughts of days that you'll remember
Ul your life.
Then you hit town.
19 And you discover that it took you less
:time to drive from Cleveland to Ann Ar-
bor than from Washtenaw to Geddes.
You discover that the city of Ann Ar-
bor, in all its wisdom, has seen fit during
the summer to widen the street and
you've been widened right out of a
parking space. -
. You learn that two of your professors
have died, one'was denied tenure and
left town, and the other's department
was dismantled; you have no courses
left and must re-register through
CRISP. Do not pass Go.
e You find that the money you made as
a bank teller during the summer buys a
lot less, even from the People's Food Co-
op, than you expected, and you're going
to eat a lot of Tube Steaks au Celery this
YOU CAN'T call your friends because
..LMa Bell won't install until October,
the Student Directory doesn't come out
until December, and the phone book
won't be published until April. And the
Student Locator's phone is always off
the hook.
You find there's less to do at night sin-
ce the film co-ops have started their
stampede to bankruptcy; but it doesn't


ris it?

matter, you wouldn't go out anyway,
rapes and assaults of all kinds are up
* And if'that wasn't enough, you go to
Olga's for some well-earned solace and
find that their souvlaki is cold and the
sauce is served from a squeeze bottle.
Welcome back, Kotter.

and the
If you're like most students at the Uni-
versity, you've just moved into your new
house or apartment for the coming school
year, and you're not too happy with it. It took
you a lot of trouble to find it when you went
home-hunting last year. And you're paying
more rent for it than it seems to be worth. And
it has its share of shortcomings as a home.
And after spending the past couple of days in
your new palace, you may feel that putting
your John Hancock on the lease wasn't the
smartest thing you've ever done.
If this sounds like your situation, welcome
to the Ann Arbor housing crisis.
Don't despair - do something to keep your
situation as a tenant from getting any worse
than it already is. You should get familiar
with your rights, and you should know how
you can legally defend your rightskagainst a
landlord who may try to violate them.
FIRST OFF, you should know that your
landlord is required by law to give you a free
copy of the tenants' rights booklet published
by the city government. Your landlord is also
obligated to include a clause in your lease in-
forming you of his obligation to offer you a
copy of the booklet. If you don't have a copy,
you can ask your landlord to get you one, or
you canpick one up yourself by going to the
second floor of City Hall. You may be in-
terested to know that your landlord can be
fined $500 for not offering you the booklet, and
you can report him or her by calling the city
prosecutor at 994-2380.
For a more detailed description of tenants'
rights than the city's booklet offers, you can
purchase the book How to Evict Your Lan-
dlord, which is on sale at local book stores.
One of the more common ways in which
landlords infringe upon tenants' rights, is by
demandinglarger security deposits than they
are allowed by law to collect. The total se-
curity deposit cannot be larger than one and
one-half times a month's rent. If you paid the
last month's rent in advance, that amount is
legally part of the seurity deposit. If your
total security deposit is more than the land-
lord is permitted to require, you may deduct
the excess from the first month's rent you
pay. You can call Campus Legal Aid, at 763-
9920, for advice on doing this.
WHEN YOU MOVED in to your new place,
the landlord should have given you a damage
inventory list, so that you can make a record
of what things in your home were damaged'
before you moved in. Keeping such a record
protects you from the possibility of the land-
lord holding you responsible for damage done
before you arrived. If you haven't filed a rec-
ord of the damage done before you arrived. If
you haven't filed a record of the damages in
your new home, you should do so as soon as
As a tenant, you have a right to a dwelling
that meets the minimum health and safety
standards established by law in the city and
state housing codes. If your home violates the
housing codes in any way, your landlord has
an obligation to do any work necessary to
bring the place into conformity with the code.
A list of housing code requirements is in-
cluded in How to Evict Your Landlord. Some
of the requirements are:.
" dwellings must be in good repair;
" floors, ceilings and roofs must be rea-
sonably water-tight;
" heating facilities must be capable of
heating dwellings to 70 degrees when the out-
side temperature is as low as 10 degrees be-
low zero (this applies to all rooms except
laundries, pantries, foyers, corridors, closets
and storage spaces ;
* every plumbing fixture must work free of
leaks and defects; and
" walls, floors and ceilings must be
capable of affording privacy by being
reasonably soundproof.
If your home has any code violations which
your landlord won't attend to, you have the
right to withhold your rent until the necessary

repairs are made. For information on
withholding rent, call Campus Legal Aid, or
telephone the Ann Arbor Tenants Union (TU
at 761-1225. Incidentally, about 90 per cent of
the student off-campus housing in the city has
some sort of housing code violation.
IT IS OFTEN SAID that the housing situa-
tion in Ann Arbor is a crisis. Is that fair to
say? Judge for yourself, considering the fac-
The city's median rent is 72 per cent higher
than the national median, according to the
U.S. Census. And the Department of Housing
-m Prv'oA) F4','oA4-

and Urban Development says a healthy hous-
ing market requires that five to seven per
cent of the rental units in a community be va-
cant at any given time, so that tenants have
an adequate supply to choose from. But Ann
Arbor doesn't even come close to having five
per cent vacancies; the local vacancy rate is
0.7 per cent.
The reasons for the crisis are complex. One
of the more crucial factors is simply the
shortage of housing. Because of the shortage,
tenants are often forced to crowd into existing
buildings, and they have to race to find a
place to rent at all. And because people are
beating down the landlord' doors to rent
whatever they can get, the landlords don't
have to offer good deals - they can steadily
jack up the rents and still be assured of find-
ing customers. For the same reason they
don't. have to offer good services to their
tenants. A management company with a
reputation for poor maintenance won't lose
business because of its reputation. There is so
little available housing in the city that most
people don't have much choice in deciding
from whom they'll rent.
The University does its share in contribu-
ting to thethousing shortage. About half the
tenants in town are students, and the Univer-
sity's enrollment has been increasing
regularly in recent years. But no new dor-
mitories have been built since 1968, and no
new married student housing has been built
since 1972. There aren't enough dorm rooms
to go around, so the. University uses the
"dorm lottery" system to decide which
students get what rooms there are, and which
are forced to enter the dog-eat-dog private
housing market. Clearly, the University
ought to build more student housing, both to
accommodate those students who want to live
in University housing, and to take some of the
pressure off the tight housing market.
RENT INFLATION is perhaps the housing
problem which hurts tenants most. The par-
ticularly high rate of rent inflation in Ann Ar-
bor is one of the signs that thescity's housing
market is a bad system. As the housing
market is set up, constant rent increases are
almost inevitable. The largest property rental
companies in the city buy and sell their build-
ings like speculators. They'll buy a building at
the going price, and ther sell the building
some years later at a much higher price.
While they owned the building, they used it as
a tax shelter, saving themselves lots of money
at the taxpayer's expense.
Since they earn a large profit on the sale of
ithe building, they almost force thesjw
buyer to raise the rents, because the new
buyer, who's paying a higher price for the
building,ewill have to make higher monthly
mortgage payments. The tenant and the tax-
payer give the landlord his profit, and the
landlord comes out on top. The system is de-
signed to generate profits, not to supply good

housing.-The profits do get generated, but the
secondary goal of providing good housing
never gets achieved.
Local tenants who want to want to improve
their position in the housing tangle should join
TU. TU has done much useful work in recent
years in helping tenants to exert their rights
- the union has helped to keep tenants infor-
med by providing over-the-telephone counsel-
ing for tenants having disputes with their
landlords, and has organized mass rent
strikes, rallying tenants with common
grievances to fight their problems collective-
ly. To continue in its work, and to show the
community that local tenants are still serious
about wanting a fair housing system, the TU
needs new members annually. People who
live in dorms as well as tenants in privately-
owned housing should feel welcome to join the
TU; alter all, dorm residents are tenants, too
- their landlord is the University. And most
dorm residents will leave the dorms before
they graduate. Anyone interested in joining
the TU should call its office or attend the
meeting on Sept.12 at 8p.m. in the Union.
ANOTHER LOCAL pro-tenant group is the
Michigan Student Assembly Housing Law Re-
form Project, which works together with the
TU. The Project is the publisher of How to
Evict Your Landlord, and is theproducer of a
video program on the city's housing problem
entitled, "It Just Ain't Right: The Ann Arbor
Housing Crisis." The program is regularly
shown free in dorms and around the commu-
nity, accompanied by lecture and discussion
sessions about tenants' rights. In addition to
its community education work, the Project
employs housing attorneys to analyze infor-
mation on the local housing situation collec-
ted by the U.S. Census and the University's
Institute for Social Research (IRS-,
publicizing pertinent aspects of the data and
using them to aid in the design of proposals to
east the local housing crisis.
If you're a student at the University and you
don't earn a high income, you can get legal
help in landlord-tenant matters from Campus
Legal Aid.
Remember, as a tenant in Ann Arbor,
you're paying top dollar for housing, and
you're entitled to a decent place to live.
Tenants all around the city are fighting for
their rights through the TV and Legal Aid. If
you feel you're not getting your due as a ten-
ant, join with them to protect your rights. And
you can help fund the TU and the MSA
Housing Law Reform Project by opting to pay
the voluntary MSA fee, which you can do by
checking off the appropriate box on the card
enclosed with your-tuition bill.
Stephen Hersh is a former Daily editor
who now works for the MSA Housing
Law Reform Project. This is the first of
his weekly Friday columns on tenants.

housing crisis



KEN PARSIGIAN.............. ....... Editorial Director
LOIS JOSIMOVICH........ ............... ........ Art Editor
JAY LEVIN..................................Managing Editor
GEORGE LOBSENZ....... ............ Managing Editor
MIKE NORTON ........................... Managing Editor
MARGARET YAO..................... Managing Editor
Magazine Editors
weather Forecasters
STAFF WRITERS: Gwen Barr, Susan Barry, Brian Blanchard,
Michael Beckman, Phillip Bokovoy, Linda Brenners, Lori Car-
ruthers, Ken Chotiner, Eileen Daley, Ron DeKett, Lisa Fisher,
David Goodman, Marnie Heyn, Robb Helmes, Michael Jones,
Lani Jordan, Janet Klein, Gregg Kruppa, Steve Kursman,
Dobilas Matunonis, Stu McConnell, Tom Meyer, Jenny Miller,
Patti Montemurri, Tom O'Connell, Jon Pansius, Karen Paul,
Stephen Pickover, Kim Potter, Martha Retallick, Keith Rich-
burg, Bob Rosenbaum, Dennis Sabo, Annmarie Schiavi, Eliza-
beth Slowik, Tom Stevens, Jim Stimpson, Mike Taylor, Pauline
Toole, Mark wagner, Sue warner, Shelley Wolson, Mike Yellin,
Laurie Young and Barb Zahs.
KATHY HENNEGHAN ....................,...,.....Sports Editor
TOM CAMERON ....................... Executive Sports Editor
SCOTT LEWIS........ ...........Managing Sports Editor
DON MacLACHLAN.................. Associate Sports Editor
Contributing Editors
NIGHT EDITORS: Ernie Dunbar, Henry Engelhardt, Rick Mad-
dock, Bob Miller, Patrick Rode, Cub Schwartz.
ASST. NIGHT EDITORS: Jeff Frank, Cindy Gatziolis, Mike
Hal pin, Brian Martin, Brian 'Miller, Dave Renbarger, .Errol.
Shifman and Jamie Turner

The Gripes of Wrath

To The Daily:
Last May the

Kent State rally
Board of Trustees at Kent



BRAD BENJAMIN.. ........................ Staff Photographer
JOHN KNOX :.T.NA..... Staff Photographer
CHRISTINA SCHNEIDER .......... Staff Photographer

State University (KSU in Ohio announced
plans to construct a gym on the site where
four students were murdered on May 4, 1970.
Since that time, KSU has been rocked by dem-
onstrations, picket lines, court injunctions,
massive arrests and a 62-day occupation of
the site of the murders. Thousands of students
at Kent and around the country have put the
KSU administration on notice that their ef-
forts to wipe out the memory of May 4 by
building on the'site will not be tolerated.
Nowhere in their worst dreams -had the
authorities thought the battle to halt construc-
tion of the gym would grow so strong and last
so long. Ministers, lawyers, ex-guardsmen
and parents of the slain and wounded students
have joined in to say MOVE THE GYM!
A lot more is at stake here than the
economics of where to build the gym. This
summer the Kent trustees, state and national
courts, and police have pushed hard to try to
stop this fight - arresting more than 300 and
setting bonds of up to $6,000. Even President
Carter got into the act - sending bonds of up
to $6,000. Even President Carter got into the
act - sending a message that he hoped things
wouldn't get "out of hand."
The KSU administration and trustees say
the gym must be built, because if the students
win it will go to their heads. As KSU vice-pres-
ident Sneider put it: 'The issue is, who runs
7W Ov ar Moo Wtrau0!ft",
PcoAM l lv M-
PAeF ,.m09i ,PeAr MWW

this university. If the gym is moved by mold
rule, then you can expect more protests in the
The fight at Kent today is 'dangerous' to
those who rule this country in the same way
the protests at Kent and Jackson State werO
'dangerous' in 1970 - people are standing up
to injustice and getting organized to do some-
thing about it.
We have a real opportunity, now that stu-
dents are returning to campuses all over, to
stop construction once and for all. Rally today
on Regents Plaza at 12:00 noon (by the cube:
to bring the fight to Ann Arbor Sunday, Sept
11 students will leave Ann Arbor from in front
of the Union at 7:00 a.m. to go to a rally
in Kent. Come with us to see what's been
going on!
Thursday, Sept. 15 at 7:30 in the Inter
national Center the Revolutionary Studen
Brigade (RSB is sponsoring a program to'
talk about what has been happening at Kent:
how it fits into building a revolutionary stun:
dent movement, and other issues such as th-
fight against the Bakke case and in support of:
liberation in South Africa. These actions ard-
all building for a big national rally September'
24 in Kent - bringing busloads from cam-
puses all over to stop construction. Join us I
Long live the spirit of Kent and Jackson;
State! Move the gym!
Gail Summerfield;'
Revolutionary Student Brigades
00, 1TRW~
.pawn f ,





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