The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

UI groups eye landlords

Ed Bornstein/The Daily Iowan

Possible unfair housing practices have caught the eye of several organizations on campus.

University of Iowa Student Government President-elect Rachel Zuckerman said she believes there are some landlords who have been manipulating international students looking for off-campus housing.

“It’s not only landlords, but there are a variety of people in the Iowa City area who have seen international students as a group of people to target and exploit,” Zuckerman said. “There’s obviously a language barrier and a lack of comfort people sometimes take advantage of.”

Zuckerman said she plans to address the issue by working with Student Legal Services, the College of Law, and International Students & Scholars Services to raise awareness and expand on resources these organizations already provide, as well as implementing new ones.

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“One of our initiatives is an undergraduate housing task force,” she said. “Part of that is going to be looking at where there might be landlord corruption already in the area and looking at what we can do as a university and government representatives to work with the city and landlords to reduce the taking advantage of students.”

Christopher Malloy, a supervising attorney for Student Legal Services, said he’s aware of the problem international students face and will be more than happy to work with UISG to fix the issue.

“The language barrier and the lack of familiarity with the country and the legal system can present greater challenges,” Malloy said. “I think it’s a big issue, and I hope we can work with the student government, student body, and the local community to just increase awareness.”

Beyond raising awareness, Malloy said, he believes strengthening student’s familiarity with Student Legal Services is a crucial step in solving the problem, because it can address these issues on a case-by-case basis.

Although domestic students don’t face a language barrier, complications with landlords is something the entire UI student body has in common, Malloy said.

“For landlord and tenant issues generally, the students we see are very representative of the University of Iowa student body,” he said. “I think we have approximately 4,000 to 5,000 international students out of the entire student body and roughly the same percentage of the students we see are international students.”

Lee Seedorff, the senior associate director of International Students & Scholars Services, said she believes inter-student communication could play a more vital role in successfully raising awareness.

“We can advertise it numerous times and in numerous ways, but it doesn’t mean students will go read it. They’re bombarded by all sorts of information before and shortly after arrival on campus and can quickly get overwhelmed,” Seerdorff said. “Sometimes, students are more inclined to follow through when something comes from other students vs. the university.”

Zuckerman said she is determined to address this issue.

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