“As it reached October, I had tried to contact my landlord about fixing the heat because it was getting so cold. I had gone around the house to see what some issues might be and found some windows had been broken. I had mentioned [it] to the landlord, but she didn’t answer me for a while until close to Thanksgiving break, but she assured me she would fix the windows over the break. When I returned, they weren’t fixed and I began getting very angry because it was so cold. Two of my three housemates were also complaining and I even noticed that my one flatmate’s windows had frozen open and we couldn’t close them. I asked my landlord to come to close them and she didn’t respond so at this point I had been going over to other friends’ houses to stay the night and some of my friends gave me space heaters. My other flatmate even stayed the night in the library. Eventually, someone told me to contact the dean of students. I went in there to explain what had been going on. They first told me to call a code inspector and eventually to call the public lawyer’s office, so I had a code inspector come into the house. She listed several violations: no smoke detectors in the rooms — only one in the kitchen and upstairs near the bathroom — windows were broken, mold, no railings in the basement, the temperature was not high enough [and] the front door was not sealed right. The dryer in the basement was not properly hooked up putting us at risk for a lint fire and the house was only permitted for three bedrooms and there were four. The code inspector had contacted the landlord about the violations and finally, in December, the landlord called someone about the heater. They came in and told us it was completely broken and they needed to install a new one. At this point me and my other flatmates were not happy so we called her to come over so we could discuss getting out of our lease because we didn’t want to live there anymore and considered our lease agreements broken when she failed to provide heat and safety. I almost started crying imagining going through colder months with no good insulation in the house. I showed her one of the windows in the kitchen that had just glass missing, so she got up and grabbed duct tape and then proceeded to tape over it. I went to the living room to wait for her to come back but she left. 20 minutes later, she came back and let me and everyone who wanted to leave out of the lease and I moved after winter break.”

— Ciara Cuesta, a senior majoring in linguistics

“The first time I went to look for off-campus housing, the building was falling apart and the shingles were coming off. The entire place reeked of cigarettes, and it was dirty and unkempt. Not to mention the current tenants didn’t know we were visiting, so they weren’t too happy with us. The second time around was a little better, everything was renovated and clean, but the basement and walkway area was sketchy. There was only one washer and dryer for several units though, and they were coin operated. The landlord set up a bucket full of quarters, but apparently ‘People steal them all the time.’ There was also a cute cat and a huge bag of weed on the kitchen table, both of which did not come with the house.”

— Stephanie Caulford, a junior majoring in environmental studies and philosophy, politics and law