The Student Government Association is working with the City of Stevens Point to create a voluntary housing inspection. SGA is hopeful that there will be implementation of this plan by June 1 of this year.
Other campuses in Wisconsin have already created an inspection process for off-campus housing, and the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point will be the next.
This idea originated from looking at UW-Eau Claire’s and UW-Oshkosh’s off-campus housing inspections. Deaken Boggs, UWSP alumnus, was the student that made the change, and that’s why some call him the “champion of housing.”
This inspection process will involve landlords agreeing to have their housing units inspected by the city to ensure that the house is livable and safe for those leasing the property.
Currently, houses are only inspected by the city if a complaint has been made, but that occurs after someone has already left the premises. This way, housing can be inspected before anyone resides there, creating a safer housing unit.
Nicholas Kositzke, Legislative Affairs Director for SGA, said, “The inspection is only for safety, not aesthetics or technical violations, those are done by the city as it seems fit.”
This will hopefully encourage renters to update and renovate their units for the benefit of those leasing the property. SGA is asking that the landlords pay the inspection payment, but Koistzke said, “in return [they] will receive preferential advertising at the student housing fair that we hold every semester.”
Mark Kordus, Neighborhood Improvement Coordinator for the City of Stevens Point, visited with SGA to discuss the program and explained to the members exactly what the city saw for the program. This allowed the city to get a student viewpoint on the project and what should be considered.
Mayor Wiza met with Boggs and Dyllan Griepentrog, Speaker Pro Tempore for SGA, to discuss that this project was one that he was excited for. Griepentrog said, “this is one of the first things on the Mayor’s agenda that he wants to push through the city council this year.”
Molly Hoffman, Dietetics major, said, “I’ve never rented a house that had safety issues, but I would be more likely to look for houses that are a part of the inspection program.”
The City of Stevens Point and the students here at UWSP are hoping that this creates safer homes for students choosing to live off-campus. Kositzke said, “I don’t expect much to change for the vast majority of housing units, but the landlords who sign on and have substandard housing, I would hope that this program changes that.”
Along with the off-campus housing inspection, SGA is in the process of creating a housing education program to inform students about moving off-campus. SGA has been working with Katie Munck, student lawyer on campus, along with the student legal society. Griepentrog said, “This program will teach students about renting houses, signing leases and looking for properties to rent.”
Anna Juppe, pre-nursing student at UWSP, said, “It was super confusing the first time I signed a lease, so I think this program would be beneficial to students.”
Griepentrog hopes that the education program will give students the chance to learn more about living off-campus. Kositzke said, “I hope it helps the student body in general, we’re here to work for them and anytime we can score a win for the students, it’s a win for us.”