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Expo covers off-campus questions

BY JORDAN FRIES | NOVEMBER 06, 2009 7:20 AM

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When UI senior Jacqueline Lauder’s heat and oven stopped working in her off-campus apartment, she was unsure if her landlord was responsible.

After learning the answer, it still took more than a month before workers came to fix things, she said.
Lauder and a few friends brought her concern to the UI’s second Off-Campus Living Expo Thursday at the IMU.

“I came here today to see what a landlord has to do when broken items need to be fixed,” Lauder said.

Students shuffled in and out between classes with questions for 25 representatives from various city and university organizations involved in living outside the dorms.

Over free bowls of popcorn, stacks of beverages, and raffle prizes, the parties discussed how to solve issues with off-campus housing.

“Our biggest emphasis is preventing something like this from happening in the first place,” said Nick Kron, who represented the UI’s Off-Campus Housing Service & Tenant Landlord Information.

Kron said many students at the expo were worried about getting back their security deposits, when they can move into their apartments at the start of the school year, and how to decipher the befuddling rhetoric of housing leases.

Penny Kaelber, the manager of the Campus Information Center, said it’s not only important for students to know their legal rights, but also how to get involved in organizations and meet people outside of the dorms.

“We have the recreational services, cultural centers, and other student organizations here as well,” said Kaelber, who organized the event. “There are students out there who want to move out of the dorms, but they want to maintain relationships with their floor. We want to help them stay connected.”

Some other students were worried about issues with roommates, how long a lease lasts, and determining the difference between a good and bad lease, she said.

Employees from UI parking, Iowa City Animal Care & Adoption Center, and Health Iowa also attended, providing different information beyond the legal aspects of moving off campus.

As the day drew to a close, and the last remaining students left the IMU Main Lounge, Lauder said she was satisfied with the answers to her housing questions.

“I received some great advice today from the vendors,” she said. “I have a lot of resources I can now look into. Hopefully, I can get my landlord to fix that oven a lot sooner next time.”


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