Peter Loganbill, Collegian news editor: “What do you do when a junior or senior just calls you up and is like, ‘Hey, my landlord isn’t listening to me, they’re not coming to fix this thing. What do I do?'”
Zach Perez, student director of Off-Campus Housing Support and sophomore in journalism: “Well, the main thing for my office is that I need specifics of the situation. So if I got a call like that, I would be like, ‘Well, why don’t we sit down and talk through the situation?’
“I’m absolutely fine with talking over email or the phone, but I personally just prefer sitting down with a person, someone in-person and talking through a situation just because I think I get a lot more detail that way. But really, I would say probably about 80 percent of the students I meet with or the students that email me or any contact I have with students fall into like four issues. It’s either they’re having problems getting a security deposit back, their landlord is not complying or like their landlord’s being kind of slow to do something or just not complying with something they want.
“They’re having roommate issues or they have like something in their house that they feel is unsafe. So that’s like mold or a hole in the wall or something. And for the most common issues that I see in the office, there is really simple fixes.
“Granted, they might take like, they vary in how much time and work they would take to fix. Say you’re in a house that has mold, there’s a form you can fill out and give to your landlord that can resolve the issue within, that’s supposed to resolve the issue, within 30 days.”
Loganbill: “Has anyone ever asked you a question that had an absurdly simple answer?”
Perez: “Almost every time I meet with somebody. You’d be surprised. Granted, I completely understand why students are stressed out when they come to see me. For the most part, dealing with stuff like this, there’s usually you know, landlords trying to like fine you for something for large amounts of money.
“But, you know, the other thing that I’ve noticed with a lot of these situations is students get into a situation where they feel overwhelmed. They get scared, and then I come in. I’m like, ‘All right, this is all you need to do. You’re not going to need to pay anything. People are just trying to either like scare you or you misunderstood.’
“But yeah, I would say that happens probably at least, like, once every time I meet with a student is there’s just some big thing where they’re like, ‘I can’t believe this is happening. Like I feel so in over my head, how do I fix this?’ And I’m like, ‘I can print off a form right now, and we can get this resolved.'”
Interested in learning more about what Zach Perez does in this Q&A? Check out the “Collegian Kultivate” podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts.