BATH TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WLNS) — “Disgusting” conditions at off-campus apartments in Bath Township have sparked lots of attention online. Now, legal experts have some advice.
After dozens of parents reached out to 6 News about the conditions their college students are living in at Chandler Crossings, many of their questions to us were “What should they do about it?”
6 News spoke with many Michigan State University students after they moved into The Village, The Landings, and The Club. They said they walked into mold, dirt, trash, leaks, and the list goes on. An attorney says there are legal ways to protect yourself.
Lansing real estate lawyer Brigette Booser said she’s seen this happen to college students time after time.
“Look to that lease,” said Booser. “The lease contains all those important terms and conditions that you and your landlord are bound by.”
Booser said this should be the first thing you do–but what if your apartment looks like these student’s apartments did when they moved in?
“Inform the landlord,” Booser said. “If you have and are experiencing things such as mold, things that are so disruptive to your ability to live there, then that becomes an issue of it being not suitable for you to live there or its habitability.”
This brings her to the next point in the lesson. “It’s called mitigation,” Booser said. “A student is also tasked with making sure they don’t further the damage. If they’re not, then they can potentially be stuck with some of the damages.”
If problems persist, Booser suggests opening an escrow account for rental payments if your unit is inhabitable. But, as most of us have learned, she says reading is fundamental.
“College students need to inform themselves,” Booser said. “Get the city in for an inspection; you can call code enforcement; there is a daily or monthly fine that that landlord would face.”
Booser also said that if students don’t get a response from the city, local resources like the Housing Justice Clinic at MSU are an option for legal guidance.
In addition, there are important steps to take internally. A spokesperson for Chandler Crossings added “The on-site management team has encouraged residents with any concerns or maintenance requests to make them known so they may be addressed in a timely manner. And members of the team will follow up with residents to ensure their concerns are addressed promptly.”