UC Davis undergraduates currently comprise 40 percent of the Davis population, which is why ASUCD Senator Adam Thongsavat feels it is of the utmost importance to educate undergraduates on housing via a Renters’ Rights Committee.
Last month, Thongsavat and ASUCD established the Renters’ Rights Committee to serve as a research tool in gathering information – with the idea that future renters will be able to use the information gathered to make better decisions.
“This is us trying to get our foot in the door and say to the city of Davis that we are going to be educated on this issue,” Thongsavat said.
Currently the only piece of legislation regarding student leases is the Davis Model Lease, a sample document meant to encourage property owners and managements to adhere to a certain set of rules. Thongsavat plans for the Renters’ Rights Committee to update this document and work with it periodically, hopefully getting more property and building owners to agree to use the same model.
“The committee will work to give a comprehensive report in the same way a government commission works to find data and then relay it back to the president,” Thongsavat said. “From there we will find out what’s wrong, give objectives and make recommendations.”
The committee members have a long task ahead of them, as the information will take a year to collect and another year to be implemented.
“We’ve never done anything like this because it’s a complicated, policy-based project and issue,” Thongsavat said. “We’ll have to find the [committee members] who are willing and motivated to do the tough work so that other students can benefit. I believe that’s what ASUCD’s main goal is all about.”
The committee, once established, will be housed under the ASUCD Office of City and County Affairs, which is one of three ASUCD advocacy units.
Among the group’s main goals is to educate students on what a good lease entails.
“We want to teach people how to talk to property owners, make sure people know how to handle a security deposit and deal with roommate issues,” Thongsavat said. “Most freshmen have no idea what a good lease looks like, and that’s definitely a problem.”
The new committee comes just in time for Housing Day, which will take place tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Freeborn Hall. Housing Day coordinator Sabrina Dias encourages everyone to come by, even if you think you already know where you want to live next year.
“Not only does Housing Day offer possible housing options for the next year, but we also have several tables that provide important renters’ rights information every person should know,” Dias said in an e-mail interview.
Housing Day will feature many special promotions for apartment complexes such as first month free rent and reduced security deposits.
“Last year we had about 1,200 students and we are expecting a similar turnout,” said Jeanna Gindi, assistant director of projects for the Office of City and County Affairs. “We want Housing Day to be the kickoff event that gets students to start thinking about housing for the following year.”
As the Housing Day coordinator, Dias is also excited for the new Renters’ Rights Committee.
“The establishment of the committee will be a great resource. The Renters’ Rights Committee, in conjunction with the Office of City and County Affairs and several other groups, will be able to finally produce results the housing community has been waiting for,” Dias said.
ANDY VERDEROSA can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.