For many young people, college represents the first foray into adulthood, and with that inexperience comes a slight hesitance to question the aims of professional entities and service providers. After all, they know what’s best, right?
Wrong. There exist a myriad of businesses that make a dishonest profit by preying on college students. Hallmarks of this style of business practice include an overly friendly presentation and a general attempt to convince prospective clients that not only are their terms generous, but also completely beneficial to customer and company alike. In many cases, this inexperience and willingness to trust often leads to young people blindly agreeing to terms that are illegal and, frankly, predatory.
Generally speaking, these sort of dishonest businesses tend to make promises of flashy and generous amenities, which often make the offer particularly tempting, especially should the overall signing price be low. For example, leasing companies may offer such services as swimming pools, recreation rooms or gym facilities at bargain basement rent prices. Likewise, many readers may be familiar with the torrent of credit card offers that come shortly after high school graduation. However, as generous as either of these offers may seem, it is leases that have the potential to contain flagrantly illegal stipulations and terms prohibited under state tenant protection laws.
At this point, the question of how these sorts of predatory leasing practices can be allowed to go on may be pertinent. It is a matter of inexperience: students may not know or even suspect that they’re being taken advantage of, and just chalk up their woes as an unpleasant, yet necessary experience of adulthood. With the end of spring semester rapidly approaching, many students are in the market for new apartments for the fall, and they should be aware of several invaluable resources for students unsure of the legality or implications of their leases.
An on-campus resource that may be helpful for students unsure of leasing terms is Student Legal Services. Located in Schleman Hall, it is a helpful resource for advice in regard to rental and leasing matters. Though the office does not accept walk-ins, appointments may be scheduled for all Purdue students seeking legal counsel.
Likewise, before signing a lease, it is always a good idea to review its terms and cross-reference points of suspicion with tenant protection codes covered under Title 32, Article 31, Chapters one through nine of the Indiana Code. After researching, it is ultimately the student’s decision if he or she wants to lease from a company that is willing to disregard tenants' rights.
I encourage all Purdue students, whether or not they plan to lease for the fall semester or in future years, to familiarize themselves with the protections offered to them as renters by the state of Indiana. There are many corporate entities out there that are more than willing to take advantage of young people, and despite what they’d have you believe, these companies do not have your interests at heart — only your money.