Discover your rights and responsibilities as a tenant in Wayne


Aubreanna Miller, News Editor

Civic Leadership at Wayne State (CLAWS) will hold a Q&A forum regarding the rights and responsibilities that stem from off-campus living on Wednesday, Oct. 27 at 7 p.m. in the Gardner Hall Auditorium.

The City of Wayne’s Public Relations Team, or PRT, board will present students with a comprehensive background to everything dealing with off campus living. They will also answer any questions that students have to dispel uncertainty regarding the move from campus to the community. Additionally, Trisha Peters, owner and realtor of the local firm White Farmhouse Realty, will give a presentation introducing the inherit duties of landlords, what to look for while signing a contract and so much more vital information.

The presenters will also give out handouts so attendees have tangible material that they can refer back to in the case of conflict or questionings. One of them includes the Legal Aid handbook for tenant and landlords in Nebraska. Other significant paperwork consists of an official complaint form for tenants if they absolutely need to complain to the PRT board and parts of the Landlord Tenant Act of Nebraska which acts as a comprehensive list of all laws and statues regarding that relationship.

Another prominent face from the community, Wayne’s city inspector, will give insight into legal building codes and what to do when faced with illegal systems. All notices of failures to follow code are directed to him, where he will then inspect the problems and make recommendations accordingly.

“This is beneficial because if students don’t know what the code is, how are they supposed to make improvements?” CLAWS President Rylee Smith said. “This is going to just be showing them the basis of that and where they can go when they do have complaints.”

Elias Reiter, Vice-President of CLAWS, also would like to encourage students to share their grievances with the organization through email or by attending meetings, which occur on the first and third Wednesday of every month at 6 p.m. in room 114 of Humanities.

CLAWS’ mission aims to bridge the gap between WSC and the surrounding Wayne community. They attend city council meetings and converse with various other institutions in the area to highlight the needs of the college and its students and faculty.

The intended outcome of the forum looks to equip students with the tools and knowledge to deal with current problems and those that may arise in the future.

“Our main focus right now has been the landlord and tenant issues because students do become a part of the community when they move off-campus,” Smith said. “We think it is important for them to know their rights as a tenant, but also that they have responsibilities to their landlords.”

Students should bring questions about their experiences to the forum. This could include confusion about repair responsibilities, how to approach your landlord with requests, what to look for in a contract, fair prices for rent in the area, how to avoid a scam, what landlords should provide and more. Questions only provide students with a better understanding into the world of renting. This information will continue to be applicable for years to come, even after graduation.

Tenants should also use this opportunity to learn the steps they should take before sending complaints to the PRT board, according to Reiter. Solving issues with communication first, often acts as the optimum first step. However, if nothing changes, the further actions discussed during the forum may serve desired results.

After Wednesday’s event, CLAWS will continue to bring complaints to the PRT board for students. In the future, they plan to also shrink the divide between WSC and the community by working with local businesses and organizations to bring new opportunities to students such as internships.

“The relations with the college are built on things outside of Wayne,” Reiter said. “In Norfolk, we have that new business program, and there is a lot of stuff with the University of Lincoln like the RHOP and the RLOP, but we don’t have a lot of relations within Wayne itself.”

If students would like to grow their involvement in their school and community to combat issues such as tenant/landlord relations, CLAWS has a program called Leadership Wayne which sponsors two students to represent WSC while working with the Wayne City Council. Students can apply for this program currently by emailing the advisor, Teresa Morales, at [email protected]

“It’s a great opportunity for leadership,” Reiter said. “The whole club is based on how to become a leader within the community. It also looks good on resumes.”