Students question WVU as landlord
Published: Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, October 30, 2012 08:10
Following last week’s West Virginia University announcement of its $14.6 million Sunnyside land purchase, many residents have been left confused and angered.
As of Oct. 26, tenants in the purchased properties are no longer subject to a landlord, but rather to the University.
"Now we have to report to the University for everything. They’re our landlord now. So, now we have to report to the University police and all that," said Najeen Guest, a WVU junior and Grant Avenue resident.
Student residents said they were disappointed with the apparent lack of transparency and poor communication between landlords, the University and tenants of the properties.
"All my landlord said was ‘the University will be in touch with you.’ And that’s it, and he’s not talking to us about anything else," Guest said.
Sophomore civil engineering student Greg Pais said since the announcement he hasn’t heard from his landlord regarding the matter.
"My friend sent us the article from the West Virginia legislature page that had the whole document. I was kind of confused," he said. "Our landlord still hasn’t even told us. He has still not said anything. Our landlord still hasn’t said a word."
Sophomore criminology student Chris McConaghia said he wishes the University went public about the plans to residents earlier.
"I feel like maybe they should have told us this in the beginning of the year that this had a chance of happening instead of a month before. I don’t see the difference between moving out now or in May. You’re not going to get that much built," he said. "My landlord just sent us an email saying they sold our property. That was it."
University spokesperson Becky Lofstead said since WVU now owns the lease for the properties, it assumes the responsibilities of the properties.
"This does mean that the University is, more or less, the landlord at this stage," she said.
Lofstead said until construction begins, University resources will be utilized in the area.
"Also, our University Police will be patrolling the area as well," she said. "Since the University is responsible now for the leases and the housing, our University Police will have a larger
Lofstead said following the announcement Friday, University Police and
officials went door to door to explain the situation and what the University could help.
"We just have to have a presence over there," Lofstead said. "I don’t think it’s going to be anything really stringent. It’s just that they’ll see more of a University presence there to offer assistance more than anything."They’re not going to go inside houses; it’s not going to be like a residence hall situation."
Guest said despite the University’s efforts to offer assistance, she and her roommates are still left with questions.
"When our fire alarm goes off, you need a key to turn it off. Our landlord has that key."
"So, I’m confused. Who do I even go to? Who do I call?" she said. "It’s like really, I’m going to have to call the University at 2 in the morning when it goes off? Are they even going to be reliable?" Guest said.