City Attacks Rental Rights

landlord helpStudents at Northwestern University are being told to move farther away from campus as its host city implements an anti-student housing measure this summer.

The city of Evanston, Illinois has decided to resurrect an archaic law designed to curb brothels in order to quell partying students who annoy the good folk.  It has issued a city-wide prohibition against three or more unrelated persons occupying the same home.

According to news reports, about 500 students came out last week to protest the measure.  Students had called upon their university administration to protect them, but university officials say they will not ask the city to reconsider.

Students expressed concerns that the new restrictions place them in physical danger as they make their way on foot or by bike farther and farther from campus.

Others fear they will no longer be able to afford off-campus housing.  One student complained she can’t enjoy the comfort and security of living with other people because she has no relatives.

Landlords will be forced to lower occupancy, or look to families or professionals to rent units surrounding the campus.

It is not known how the change in the rental market will affect other sectors of the housing market, or how it might affect neighboring businesses.  City officials have said impacts to the housing market are of no concern to them.

As one might expect, students took their beefs to Twitter, where one suggested staging a protest where they are photographed living in boxes on the street, and another that they start a few real-to-goodness brothels, although it’s hard to imagine how that might help the situation.

But students are not the only people affected by this law. Landlords across the city face the financial consequences of having to evict or turn away what may be thousands of student tenants as of July 1 when the law takes effect, and will have to adjust their leasing practices – and possibly rents, accordingly, in rental properties that may have been purchased with student housing in mind.

And while city officials contend that limiting the number of roommates in a rental property is likely to end conflicts with adjoining property owners over student parties in neighborhoods surrounding the campus, they may find this measure alone is not enough.

See Fair Housing “Zero-Tolerance Policy” Netting Huge Awards Against Landlords.

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