U of M students launch landlord accountability campaign

U of M file photo

A list of landlords who violate housing policies will soon be available to students at the University of Minnesota. 

The university's student association plans to launch a landlord accountability campaign in November to inform students of housing issues and increase awareness of troublesome landlords, Minnesota Daily reported. 

"Last spring, this was a top issue on our platform. It's something almost every single student can relate to, especially considering that the vast majority of students live off campus," said Trish Palermo, the university's student body president. 

University Student Legal Services and Off-Campus Living have compiled a list of landlords who have repeatedly violated students' rights. 

About a third of the cases the legal services department reviews deal with landlords. The office hopes the increased availability of resources will decrease future cases, said Hunter Pederson, student chair of USLS. 

"I'm really excited that USLS and MSA are working together on this because this is one of the issue areas where we have a ton of overlap and a lot of common interest," Pederson said. 

The student association is also working with Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minneapolis to make legislative changes. 

"Students recognize that there's only so much that the university themselves can do," Palermo said. 

Omar's drafted legislation addresses three issues the student association identified: short-end leases, limiting mandatory arbitration clauses and requiring leases to be unit-specific. 

The legislation seeks to prevent students from signing confusing leases and getting stuck in restrictive housing situations. 

Omar is looking for bill co-sponsors and hopes to bring it before the Legislature in the spring, Palermo said.