Communication between landlord, tenant needed to address damages

Morgan Mawn, News Contributor

After Oregon State University first-year students fulfill their live-on requirement in the residence halls, some of these students become first-time renters. When searching for a place to rent, students are confronted with a new financial landscape involving security deposits and tenant’s rights, an environment they may have

never encountered before.

Duane Jager, a landlord of properties in Corvallis, said that good communication between landlord and tenant is crucial for alleviating the tenant’s stress and preventing further harm to the home.  Damages left unattended can worsen over time or even cause new issues. As the issues worsen and multiply, the money necessary to fix them will also increase. Landlords will often not charge tenants for normal wear and tear damage, but damages that occur due to neglect or improper use will lead to losing the money a tenant has put into

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the security deposit. 

“It is important to know about issues right away, especially if they involve water, electrical, heating, or payment of rent. Not only is it important because the landlord want as little damage to the property as possible, but I feel it is also important that the tenants are happy,” Jager said via email. 

Jared McMullen, a second-year OSU student and tenant of Jager, recounted when the toilet in the main bathroom of his home began leaking and required immediate action to prevent water damage to the floor. McMullen said that Jager had someone out to the house within a day or two to alleviate the problem.

“We had no idea how to fix it ourselves, so we were really grateful for our landlord’s

help,” McMullen said.

While the form of communication that works best for tenant and landlord may vary case by case, Jager said that texting is often the best way to get a quick response while email or phone call may be best for a

longer conversation. 

McMullen said that texting his landlord to resolve issues or questions has been the most effective tactic for him and his roommates. Whenever there’s damage in the house or a question about rent, McMullen uses text to communicate questions and concerns to his landlord.

“Our landlord’s response is always really timely, so we never really have to worry about something becoming a long-term

problem,” McMullen said. 

Although many students choose to live off-campus after their first year, some students opt to remain in the dorms as a resident or resident assistant. Unlike living off-campus where it is often optional, it is required to report damages upon move-in to avoid future charges.

Kathryn Magura, assistant director of operations for OSU, said that students living in the dorms are recommended to report damages during move-in because these reports will later be compared with damage found after the tenant has moved out. If there is unreported damage in the room, the tenant will be charged. Magura said that by not reporting damages, students are practically signing up to lose money.