Students should demand fair housing regulations

This is in response to the Kernel’s coverage on the recently proposed housing regulations that left students out.

If there are going to be restrictions placed on student renters, then we, as students, should demand regulations also be placed on landlords.

Although students are not always the best tenants, negative behaviors from a small minority of student renters appear to be the only issue that is viewed as a problem by those who formed the committee on housing regulations in the university area.

I suggest we organize a student renters union and rally support for ordinances that are more fair-minded in regard to renting.

For example, the proposed ordinance prohibiting more than three non-related students from living together and separating student-rented units by 180 feet could be countered by an ordinance proposed and agreed upon by a majority of student renters.

Perhaps we should propose an equally harsh ordinance demanding that no landlord be allowed to rent out more than three student-rental properties or that a landlord must reside within a certain distance of the properties that they rent to students.

This ordinance would work to prevent absentee landlords from allowing the neighborhoods where they own multiple properties to decline into the conditions that the committee was formed to address. In my opinion, this could form a better relationship between landlords and tenants, and quite possibly lead to a stronger community.

I hope that we as students do not squander this opportunity to make our voices heard and to have a discussion among our friends, roommates and neighbors. I also urge students to read up on the history of renting in America: the harsh laws against squatting — the occupation of abandoned buildings or land by the homeless — in our country and the massive rent strikes of the past that successfully forced landlords to concede certain rights to tenants.

This present opportunity affords us the ability to learn from the past and create a better future for student renters in Lexington.

Mark Wetherington

Journalism freshman