Michigan State students might see change for the leasing process in the fall

Updated: Jun. 11, 2021 at 5:00 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - If you’re a Michigan State student, you know how difficult it is to find a place to live. Every year apartments and houses around campus are rented very quickly. And that’s why the issue has been brought to the attention of the East Lansing City Council.

The council is considering an ordinance that would give renters more time to decide whether to renew their leases. Students at Michigan State often have to find housing and sign a lease one year prior to when that lease begins.

The MSU student government went to East Lansing City Council wanting to bring change to an issue that’s been around for decades.

This new ordinance is going to be super beneficial to students, not only as they continue to live off campus but when they start living off campus. The ordinance would prevent landlords from renting or showing a unit to somebody else for at least 150 days after a leasing period begins and that’s about 5 months.

“Basically it gives the students a protection, where they can’t be pressured by the landlord to say hey, you have this space right now, but we can sign it off to someone else if you don’t resign for the following year by this particular date,” said Matt Apostle, MSU Student Body VP for Governmental Affairs.

Students like the idea, but property owners don’t especially since houses and apartments have different lease start dates, creating stress on the signing process.

“It’s definitely going to be a problem because we have May to May leases, we have leases that start in early August, and we have leases that start in late August. You’re going to cause a lot of confusion among the students and property owners quite frankly trying to keep all of that stuff straight,” said Matt Hagan, Hagan Realty.

Here’s the trick though, East Lansing made this a three-way vote with Meridian Township and the City of Lansing too. If all 3 don’t vote yes, the ordinance won’t happen.

“Students live in all of those areas, and so making sure that’s it’s not just students that live in East Lansing. We want to make sure that we’re protecting everybody,” said Ellie Bennett, MSU Junior/Student Govt. Community Liaison.

Years ago, the signing period used to be in January and February, now it’s October. As market demand changed, so did the need to sign leases quicker.

“When I had this ordinance in mind, what I was thinking to myself was great, no one is going to be able to push that timeline up because everybody’s going to be held at that same standard,” Aaron Stephens, City of East Lansing Mayor.

Ann Arbor has some similar regulation in place seeing another college town’s success gives East Lansing some hope.

“We get this passed, and we can start pushing back this predatory timeline that has been pushed on our students for too many years,” said Aaron Stephens, City of East Lansing Mayor.

Copyright 2021 WILX. All rights reserved.

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