Home sweet home OR NOT?

Todd Vanderwerff

Todd Vanderwerff

Most SDSU students have driven past them many a time. They sit on street corners, looking a bit lonely, their paint jobs chipping at the edges, their shutters hanging from their hinges.

These are the places where no one wants to live. They’re the houses that stopped being up-to-date in the 1950s. They’re the apartments with huge piles of mess laying in the hallway.

But according to SDSU legal aid attorney Pat Lyon, things have gotten a lot better.

“The condition of the premise problems are not as serious or as common as they used to be,” Lyon said.

Lyon usually gets 70 to 80 inquiries a semester about housing situations but he says that there is little students can do if the lease is signed.

“The sad thing is, if you sign a lease, you can’t even get out of it by dying,” Lyon said.

The only way to get out of a property is if it is deemed to not follow Brookings fire codes by the code enforcement officers of the Brookings city office. All living spaces are inspected regularly to see if they comply with the code.

“If you spot any problems, even if it’s a maintenance issue you should discuss that with your landlord,” said Kathy Vrchota, a Brookings code enforcement officer.

Lyon said that if you see something you are concerned about in your initial visit to a house or apartment, it should be discussed with the landlord before the lease is signed.

He also said he has heard the fewest complaints in his years with SDSU with Mills Property Rentals and Moriarty Rentals.

“They own the huge majority of rental property in Brookings. … I rarely hear anybody talk to me about places that are owned by Mr. Moriarty or Mr. Mills,” Lyon said.

Numbers to call if you run into troubleBrookings city office to talk to housing code enforcement officers:692-6281Student legal aid to set up an appointment with Pat Lyon: 688-5181