The Student Renters Alliance will fight to protect students, often renting for the first time, from absent or exploitative landlords starting this spring.

A student organization at West Virginia University, the group aims to be an invaluable campus resource by providing a resource to name exploitative property owners, recognizing outstanding landlords and offering services to students being treated unfairly.

After the indictment of Copper Beech, a multimillion dollar student housing complex that was found to have collected tens of thousands of dollars in illegal charges from students, Student Government Association Governor Mac McIntyre saw the importance of an organization that would advocate for the rights of individual students.

"The Student Renters Alliance is a student solidarity network to stand up against landlord exploitation and make sure students know their rights and they’re not being taken advantage of," McIntyre, a senior political science student, said.

The new student organization will act as an advocate for the thousands of student renters at WVU, helping to mediate conflicts between landlords and tenants, or directing students toward relevant legal services if necessary.

In addition, the organization will produce publications to inform students about particularly notorious landlords in the area.

"We’ll get the word out and say, ‘Here’s a landlord that’s been very bad historically, here’s a landlord that’s been taking advantage of students, here’s a landlord that won’t fix problems or charges excessive fees,’" McIntyre said. "It’s really about education and information, especially after freshman year where students are moving out of dorms, helping guide them through the minefield of choosing an apartment for the first time."

The Student Renters Alliance will also highlight the specific landlords in Morgantown that go above and beyond to support their student renters, while providing them with a safe environment. Students will be able to better choose who to lease from and where.