The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, March 22, 2005 - 7
Continued from page 1.
Some landlords in Ann Arbor said they believe
the pressure students feel to sign leases early is
"I like to think that the market - the market being
the residents - sets the pace for the rental season,"
said Tom Clark, a landlord who owns several
apartment buildings in Ann Arbor. "(The housing
rush) gets earlier and earlier every year, to the point
that we're not even ready to lease apartments and we
tell students to call us back later."
Clark said he didn't think the ordinance would
hurt his business, but would make certain times of
the year extremely busy because all students would
be leasing apartments in a short period of time.
Colin Khan, owner of CMB Management in
Ann Arbor - a company that leases apartments
to students - said he was very surprised that the
mayor was proposing such an ordinance, and said he
feels such a law could actually harm students.
"I'm opposed to anything that would hinder the
ability of the residents to secure housing in any
fashion," Khan said. "What if someone is going
away to study abroad second semester? They would
lose the opportunity to secure an apartment for the
Hieftje said he plans to consult ordinances in
other cities while formulating the one for Ann
"We'll have to explore our options," Hieftje
said. "We'll need to go back and to look at
the actual legislation in other places (that) have
ordinances like this."
One university town that has passed such an
ordinance is Madison, Wisconsin.
Madison's original ordinance was passed in 2000
and stipulated that a landlord could not ask a tenant
to re-sign their lease or show a tenant's apartment
until one-third of the lease was up.
Austin King, a member of Madison's Common
Council, said the ordinance was good for tenants but
did present some problems.
The average 12-month lease in Madison begins on
August 15, which meant that the date when landlords
could re-lease and show apartments was December
15, which was during UW's fall exam period.
But prospective tenants could bypass the ordinance
by looking at apartments on their own, without the
help of the landlord.
Another problem stemmed from the fact that since
landlords couldn't show apartments until December
15, students went about looking at apartments on
If they liked an apartment they would go to the
landlord and ask them if they could lease it. But,
because of the ordinance the landlord was unable to
talk to current tenants about re-signing their lease,
but could talk with prospective tenants.
Madison Common Council member Mike Verveer
said these problems were fixed when the ordinance
was revised in the fall of 2004.
The new law now states that a landlord cannot
show an apartment or ask the current renter to
re-sign their lease in the first quarter of the lease
period, which ends on Nov. 15 for most leases.
The revised ordinance also allows tenants to
negotiate in their lease contract a date other than
Nov. 15 for re-signing their lease.
Students at the University of Wisconsin had mixed
feelings on the ordinance.
Eric Varney, a junior at UW, said he feels the Nov.
15 date is still too early.
"You're only a quarter of the way through your
current lease," Varney said.
"I'd say the middle of January or February would
be the ideal time to re-sign leases. At that point
you've already lived in your apartment for five or
six months, and you know if you want to live there
But Grant Collins, a junior at UW, said he thinks
the system works well for students.
"It's a lot more convenient," Grant said. "Most
sophomores who leave university housing don't even
have to worry about finding off-campus housing
the michigan daily
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