IOWA CITY, Iowa (KWWL) – As young renters move into new leases this August, some are worried about their landlords taking advantage of their inexperience.
“You don’t know what questions to ask, or when to go to someone,” University of Iowa Senior Clarissa Short said. “It’s not stuff they teach you in school.”
Earlier this summer, concerned residents banded together to start a tenant’s union in Iowa City.
“No one has to do it alone because landlords count on you being isolated. They count on you being naive,” Oliver Weilein, with the Iowa City Tenant’s Union, said.
The union says it’s creating a space for people to learn about their housing rights, and get confident enough to stand up to their property managers if need be.
“Using your own means and collectively coming together to stand with your neighbors,” Weilein said.
It’s not just for students, though. Weilein’s also working with the Inside Out Re-Entry Community to educate people returning from incarceration about their housing rights.
“People with a criminal history have trouble finding housing and sometimes landlords use that against them,” Weilein said.