Back from the dead

The NIU Student Association is heading down the right track with a proposal for a well-needed revival of the student tenant union.

Anyone who has lived through the process of finding suitable living quarters at a reasonable price with reliable management knows that any help sorting all the correct and incorrect information concerning off-campus housing is a wonderful thing.

Renting an apartment or home can become a bit intimidating for first-time renters as many college students are.

During its last meeting the SA voted to revive one of its dormant organizations, the NIU tenant union. The original NIU tenant union was abandoned back in 1989 and although there was always talk about reinstating it, attempts to revive it were unsuccessful until this year.

The union would look out for students living in off-campus housing. It will be a type of “consumer’s report” organization that will assess off-campus living conditions including quality of service, living conditions, safety and adherence to lease agreements.

The two major goals of the union are to give students reliable information and a little negotiating power. The union also plans on keeping track of available housing, mediating disputes between landlords and tenants as well as sponsoring an annual housing bazaar.

Proposals to enter the duties of the union into the SA’s bylaws shows a commitment by the SA to keeping this organization going and make it a permanent part of the many SA student organizations.

This student tenant union has great potential to help the many students who live in off-campus housing. It will give students a place to turn in times of trouble and allow students to help inform others about the many living facilities here in DeKalb for college students.

Many times a student trying to deal with an uncooperative landlord may feel as if he or she has nowhere to turn, but with this organization things may change.

Not all landlords are ogres who try to cheat unsuspecting college renters, but having the tenant union keeping its eyes and ears open the ones that do can be exposed and dealt with.

The student tenant union could be a very valuable and practical resource for a good percentage of NIU students living off-campus.