GUSA’s GSTA will help protect student rights off campus

summer goosaGUSA announced yesterday that its newest organization, the Georgetown Student Tenant Association, will be up and running in time for the 2013-2014 school year.

As a response to recent events like the enactment of stringent off-campus parking rules, GUSA has taken an unprecedented step of creating an organization that will be able to help uphold off-campus students’ rights. According to GUSA’s press release, its “tenant advocates can review leases, answer general questions about off campus issues, and refer students to legal counsel.”

GSTA will be comprised of trained undergraduate student advocates who can counsel students by “reviewing potential leases for problematic clauses, referring students to legal counsel and filing complaints with appropriate D.C. agencies.” Advocates will also be available to discuss other various concerns about housing, including the new parking restrictions and guidelines, as well as counsel students when they are deciding upon a future landlord. And finally, these trained advocates will have the ability to “refer students to counsel to help challenge landlord abuses and can also request housing inspections on behalf of students to ensure properties are safe, among other duties.”

GSTA is also taking its own action on students’ behalf to identify landlords who are illegally renting to students or failing to meet D.C.’s standards for housing. For students who are interested to learn more about their rights as tenants, GSTA will also offer educational seminars on the general topic.

GUSA acknowledges that poor housing quality reduces overall quality of life for students living off campus, and seeks to empower students to stand up for their rights as D.C. tenants by giving them the counsel and information they need to do so. They want students to know that they should never settle for unsafe or dirty housing. (Involuntarily, that is. Vox has seen some nasty dorm rooms.) All D.C .residents are entitled to safety and cleanliness in their living spaces, regardless of age. It is understandable that confrontation with landlords about these poor conditions might be stressful and a bit awkward for students, so the new organization will both counsel and support students through any difficulties they may face.

GUSA urges students to use the newly available and free resources for all difficulties they may have with landlords, whether that maybe be leaky roofs, broken locks, trash issues, or payment disputes. It also acknowledges that the extremely high housing prices in West Georgetown and Burleith have caused serious problems for student leases, with which GSTA will be able to counsel students through as well.

For more information, visit the Tenant Association’s webpage. Be sure to schedule a free appointment through the GUSA website to learn more about tenant rights or receive counsel.

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