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September 05, 1986 - Image 4

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Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1986-09-05

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4

OPINION

U P U~ *WS5~5 ~ S ~~**

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Friday, September 5, 1986

The Michiaen Deity

Even new student tenants have rights

4

This is a busy time of year in the
landlord tenant business. Forastudents
it is the time to return to Ann Arbor or
move within. For landlords that means
an opportunity to pick up some extra
money in the midst of the confusion.
For the Tenants Union it is time to help
students get an equitable housing
situation.
STUDENT TENANTS
Most students rent housing in the
campus area some time during their
careers as students at the University.
This. is desirable in many ways.
Students report they like everything
about off campus living except the
landlord. If this becomes your
situation, the Ann Arbor Tenants
Union is available to help.
Landlords and housing bureaucrats
perpetuate myths that students are not
good tenants. This is untrue. Students
pay top dollar for apartments. This
high price is based more on location
than upkeep, so maintenance costs of
student apartments are often lower than
for other apartments. Landlord profits
on student apartments have been
reported to be 20 to 30 percent per year.
Rent increases of $50 to $150 are not
uncommon around campus.
Do not believe the landlord who tells
you that students are bad tenants or the
building is not profitable. These are
common false statements. Do not
believe the housing bureaucrats who
keep these myths circulating.
In the future the Tenants Union will
report on bureaucratic favoritism to
landlords and the results for tenants.
Today's report is designed to help you
deal with some of the common problems
of moving in to a new apartment.
CLEAN APARTMENT UPON MOVE-
IN
Ann Arbor city law says that
dwellings:are to be clean upon move-
in. A 1,sie state law which applies to
all landlords says that the basic duties

of the landlord to maintain and repair
all rental properties cannot be waived
in a lease of less than a year.
Ann Arbor city law has defined a
clean apartment upon move-in as part
of the basic standard for the city. The
right to a clean apartment cannot be
waived.
Only campus landlords believe a year
is shorter than 12 months/52 weeks/365
days. Landlords near campus often
start leases on or after the first day of
school and end the lease the third week
of August. This creates numerous
problems for students. Students who
want to move-in on a reasonable date
get problems from the landlord. Some
landlords, such as Campus
Management, demand that the ten~ants
waive the right to a clean apartment.
Faced with a need to move-in most
people sign the "waiver."
This practice is coercive. The fact
that it occurs with great frequency near
campus and little in other places
suggests collusion on the part of campus
landlords.
If you have signed the waiver, do not
worry. Coercion is not proper in
contracts and you should be able to get
your money back. Make an
appointment with Student Legal
Services or the Tenatits Union and
let's see what can be done.
Over the past few years the Michigan
court system has agreed with tenants
and tenants' attorneys that "dirt is not
damage." This is a simple fact that
most people can agree with. For
example, if you wash your blue jeans
that is different, than repairing them by
sewing.
To get around the court decisions some
landlords charge cleaning fees. These
fees are an attempt to pass on to tenants
the cost of cleaning the apartment
between tenants. Many tenants report
that their new apartment is not clean
upon move-in.

Cleaning fees which are refundable
are not legal. Baker Management for
example has a detailed list of charges
which it plans on taking out of your
money if you don't clean as you leave.
These are improper charges.
Cleaning fees which are held for the
length of your stay and then used to
clean up after you are more properly
called security deposits. As security
deposits, the money cannot be used for
cleaning.
MOST FEES ARE NOT LEGAL
Most fees charged by landlords are not
enforceable in court. Landlords may
know that a fee is not allowed by law.
The landlord may bet that many people
don't know their rights or how to get
them enforced. This bet is popular as
judged by the large number of
unenforceable fees which appear in
leases.
Some of the unenforceable fees which
appear in leases include:
*Late fees over the
real cost of the money's being late,
generally less than five dollars.
*The Ann Arbor
campus landlord who blocks tenants'
cars into the driveway and demands
$25 or he'll have the\city tow the car for
being, in the "wrong place."
*The Ypsilanti camp-
us landlord who only rents to women
students and demands to be informed
each time a tenant has an overnight
guest. He tries to charge five dollars
per night for guests who stay more than
two times in a month.
*Liquidated damages
charges for leaving a lease early.
ACCESS TO HELP
Landlords take advantage of tenants
who do not know their rights. Most
tenant rights are less than twenty years
old and there are few organizations
wailable to consistently give accurate

advice to tenants. Students at the U,
Ann Arbor are fortunate to have Student
Legal Services and the Ann Arbor
Tenants Union available to help. Both
these organizations were founded by
students and have grown and matured
through the support of students.
Student Legal Services (SLS) can be
reached at 763-9920. SLS is a pre-paid
legal plan for U, AA students.
Appointments are required and you

must be currently enrolled.
The Ann Arbor Tenants Union does
phone counseling Monday, Tuesday
and Thursday afternoons and offers in
person tenants clinics every
Wednesday at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m.. Other
hours are available by appointment.
By the Ann Arbor Tenants
Union

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Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

LETTERS:
Promote justice through education

Vol. XCVII, No. 2

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MV48109

Unsigned editorials represent a majority of the Daily's Editorial Board
All other cartoons, signed articles, and letters do not necessarily represent the opinion of the Daily.
Back to school

Welcome September 1986.
Leaves are still green on the
trees and crisp in new books
lined up on shelves, unpacked
from boxes, scattered over
bedroom floors around campus.
Dusty Ann Arbor heat trickles
like sweat through fresh
clothes; tough feet cram into
uncomfortable shoes. Remains
of summer are snapshots on the
wall, salt air scented letters,
fading tans, unchewed pencils.
Bells ring in Burton Tower
signaling change of class.
School again.
School for many students
can be too much like new shoes:
uncomfortable, expensive, for-
mal. But education isn'tl t
limited to note-taking corn -
pleting problem sets, and
writing papers. At the Uni-
versity, it's a whole way of life
that tuition doesn't include. It's
getting comfortable in Ann
Arbor again, or for the first
time. Hanging out with friends,
teaing at Drakes, playing in the
Diag. It means making
decisions about how to spend
time: at a jazz concert or a
movie, going to the library or the
football game, drinking at Old
Town or listening to a speaker at

important. They are a channel
to the bigger picture, to an
enormous amount of
information from which to
expand d basic understanding
of the material.
Though not every class has
immediate practical appli-
cation, each one offers a
different way of thinking.
Sometimes it's frustrating to
focus on something completely
new. Often it's hard to
acknowledge other points of
view. Deciphering what makes
sense and choosing sources of
reference for personal projects
are real means of challenging
self and professors.
Questioning authority is key
to that constant challenge,
though sifting through "facts"
in textbooks, newspaper
articles, and political rhetoric
can be tedious, it is crucial. In
the process, you learn to criticize
everything; from Preacher Jim,
to your best friend, to yourself.
It is a long and difficult journey,
especially in uncomfortable
shoes. But after a while
walking around Ann Arbor, the
pain begins to subside and you
find there are places you want to
explore and others you would

To the Daily:
Are you furious--or
scared--at the state of the
world? Do you have some
ideas about public education
on peace and justice that you
have never carried out? Do
you have questions about
recent events?
The Michigan Alli -
ance for Disarmament is a
five year old group working
for peace and social justice
through education and
action. Our office is in the
Performance Network at 410
W. Washington, (two blocks
west of ,Main Street). In past
years we have sponsored The
Connection, a monthly
journal; an Ann Arbor
Nuclear Free Zone
campaign; monthly educati-
onal talks by speakers from
in and out of the area;

demonstrations at Williams
International in nearby
Walled Lake, where Cruise
Missile Engines are made; a
series of pamphlets... This
year, we will be taking up the
ideas you bring to our general
meeting and continuing
some. ongoing projects. Cur -
rent plans include local
coordination of the national
boycott of General Electric
(third largest nuclear
weapons contractor), work
against military research on
campus and in town, writing
and publishing of The
Connection and our pamphlet
series, and much more.
What can we do? A
speaker from Berkeley, CA
will do a slide show on
effective political actions that
can be taken by small groups.
Get in touch with what is

happening in other parts of,
the country, Friday, Sept-
ember 12, 7:30 p.m in Angell
Hall.
Journalists, writers ,
graphic artists--join the staff
of The Connection, a joirnal
covering local and inter -
national affairs. There will
be Connection organizing
meetings at the Michigan
Union on Wed. September 17
and 24, 7:30 p.m. Other weeks
the committee meets every
Wed. at the MAD offices, 7:30.
p.m.
What's happening
in the Philippines?' Dr.
Walden Bello, a leading
expert on the Philippines,
author of several works, will
speak on September 19, 11
a.m.-1:30 p.m., at the Center
for South and Southeast Asian
studies, Lane Hall.

MAD's general
meeting for the fall will be
Thursday, September 25 ,
Michigan Union, 7:30 p.m.
Physics prof. Daniel Axelrod
and Janis Michael, MAD's
chairman, will give keynote
talks and we will discuss
activities for the fall.
There will be a MAD
fundraiser book sale on
Saturday, September 27. We
will be selling books of all
shapes, sizes, and sorts,
really cheap in the
Wolverine room, Michigan
Union, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Call.
995-0183 to contribute books or
help with the sale.
If you are interested
in helping, but can't make a
meeting, be sure to call us at
995-0183 or 995-5871. See you
soon. --Janis Michael

IN 198; Ti &J)o 6TP PAL &
PAT PROFERTSON iTO RUN WITI4 AL NMG-

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