According to Winona State University’s Housing and Residence Life department, over two-thirds of Winona’s student body live off campus. Approximately 80 students who attended an off-campus housing meeting Tuesday now have a better idea of how to do that while staying out of trouble.
“It’s your job to find the home that’s right for you,” said Vicki Englich, Winona State Community Liaison.
Candice Guenther, the associate director of Housing and Residence Life, began the meeting with information for those among the audience still considering on-campus housing for the coming year. Information packets for the East Lake Apartments will be available on October 15, Guenther said. Kirkland Hall and New Center are also options for upperclassmen.
Englich focused on student responsibilities within the tenant-landlord partnership off- campus. Englich encouraged students to check Winona State’s off-campus housing list, which in some cases offers virtual tours of available apartments.
Englich was quick to note, however, that Winona State only hosts these openings on its site; it does not endorse any particular landlord.
She went on to stress that students considering a lease contract should read it, beginning to end, and that if their prospective landlord makes any promises, especially concerned with repairs or improvements, that students “get that in writing.”
Englich encouraged students to handle their lease agreement like they would any class: “Obtain a hard copy of the lease. Put it in a folder. Keep records of any correspondence, even phone calls, complete with date, time, and a summary of what was discussed,” she said.
Many of the houses surrounding Winona State are old, and any prospective tenant of one of these houses should check everything when they move in.
“Take photographs of any damage that might be held against you,”Englich said.“We have a lot of great landlords in Winona, we have some that are really bad, and many more that fall somewhere in between.”
Winona State offers legal help for situations like these on Tuesday nights, when a lawyer is on campus. Students needing legal advice can register ahead of time at the Student Resource Center.
Englich’s message was that if a student could manage his or her housing situation properly, that it would be one less thing to detract from his or her academic performance, but she also emphasized that students living off-campus need to get used to living with non-college neighbors.
“You need to learn to be a good neighbor,” said Englich.
“Welcome to the Neighborhood!: Your Guide to Living Well in Winona” is a brochure students can consult regarding neighborhood life. It contains a list of 10 city ordinances every student should know and helpful tips for getting to know the neighbors. This brochure is available at Englich’s office.
Sara Lentner, a Winona State freshman who attended the meeting, said that she learned a great deal from the speakers about both on and off-campus housing. She plans to live on- campus with several friends next year, but said, “It’s nice to know what our options are.”
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