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LEARN LEASE

THE INS AND OUTS OF LEASING FIND THE BEST APARTMENT WITH THESE HELPFUL TIPS YOUR SOURCE FOR APARTMENTS, HOME ACCESSORIES & MORE 1

FREE TUTORING LAS

Learning Support Services Room N109 Cougar Village (Building # 563) Schedule available at www.las.uh.edu 9 a.m. - 9 p.m. Mon - Thurs 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. Friday 1 p.m. - 5 p.m. Saturday 1 p.m. - 7 p.m. Sunday

All Students Welcome

NATIONAL SURVEY OF STUDENT ENGAGEMENT If you receive an invitation from NSSE (National Survey of Student Engagement), please use the Login Code in the e-mail to complete this important survey @www.nssesurvey.org

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Villages

at Meyerland

8900 CHIMNEY ROCK ROAD, HOUSTON, TX 77096–2529

• No application and administrative fee with this ad • Student discounts • Cyber cafe with WiFi and 27-inch iMacs • Roommate-style floor plans • Guarantors accepted • Reserved covered parking • Resident fitness center with Bose Bluetooth audio and latest workout videos • Convenient call-in or online bill payment • Electricity already set up • Resort–style pool FOR MORE INFORMATION:

713.666.3024

leasing@villagesatmeyerlandliving.com 3

2014 Look, Learn, Lease!

CONTENTS

6 MANAGING MAINTENANCE RULES FOR ROOMMATES STAYING SAFE SUCCEEDING AS A COMMUTER

8 14 20

STAFF

ABOUT LLL!

Editor

On the cover

Javi Salazar

Left to right: Javi Salazar, Angela Ho and Peter Ly.

Design Jose Cruz Center for Student Media

Cover Photo

Advertising

Cover Design

Gabriela Padilla

Jose Cruz

Dayana Rodriguez

Look, Learn, Lease! is a production of the Center for Student Media at the University of Houston. Š 2014 University of Houston Center for Student Media. No part of this magazine may be reprinted without the permission of the Director of Student Media.

Phone: 713-743-5350 E-mail: csm@uh.edu Web: www.uh.edu/csm To Advertise Call: 713-743-5340

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2014 Look, Learn, Lease!

KEEPING UP WITH UPKEEP BY JAVI SALAZAR

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common issue for renters is in discerning the items the landlord must fix when something falls into disrepair.

The terms of your lease define which repairs are and are not up to the landlord and the circumstances for each situation. State law mandates that any damages risking or harming the wellbeing and/or security of the main residents must be repaired by the owner.

“Reasonable time” is defined as 30 days, but it is objective. For example, if the water utility is faulty, then reasonable time is more akin to two days because it is used daily and falls under “health and safety.” Legal action requires specific and at times lengthy and costly measures. Contact a city building inspector or county health department official before enacting legal procedures; it is their job to know and spot any damage violating health statutes and local housing laws.

Repairs related to comfort, convenience or aesthetics are rarely the landlord’s responsibility, unless stated otherwise in the lease’s terms.

If the landlord remains inactive in making repairs, mail a second notice to the property manager. This will result in either the landlord caving or in solid proof during legal procedures.

Take the first step toward a repair by contacting the apartment or property manager in writing. If you do not receive a response in ”reasonable time” as the Texas Apartment Association states, you have the right to place legal pressure on the owners in the forms of early lease termination, mandatory repairs, legal penalties and attorney’s fees.

Look, Learn, Lease! 2014

If something needs repair — know your rights. Identify whether the damage is covered in your lease’s terms, report it to the landlord or manager and then contact an inspector if needed.

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2014 Look, Learn, Lease!

ROOMMATE RELATIONSHIPS BY KAYLA WATTERS AVOIDING THESE NO-NOS WILL KEEP PEACE WHEN SHARING A LIVING SPACE

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haring a room with a stranger can be scary. Living with others requires respect of the other person, or an unpleasant experience might be in store. Violating the following rules means you run the risk of being a terrible roommate.

1. Invasion of Privacy Discussing personal space is crucial. Definitions of personal space can vary greatly. Entering bedrooms and “borrowing” items may be an annoyance, but if this has not been discussed, a roommate may not realize that is causes a problem.

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2. Lack of Communication “No communication! No clear guidelines are set about the important things like visitors, cleaning schedules and sleeping schedules,” says student Candace Caruthers when asked to describe a terrible roommate.

3. Not Cleaning Up After Yourself If clear standards for cleanliness have been set, make sure to uphold them. No one wants to come home from school or work to see a mess. Roommates do not double as maids.

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4. Taking Over the Thermostat Many people sleeping at a certain temperature. Discuss with your roommate what temperature you each like the room so you can compromise.

5. Bringing the Party Home College students have a reputation for partying. Being under the influence likely means being louder (and perhaps smellier) than usual. When planning on a late night out, inform roommates. No one wants to be disturbed when sleeping, especially when tests are coming up that morning.

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2014 Look, Learn, Lease!

FRESH FINDS BY JAVI SALAZAR

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enters usually have access to a kitchen with at least a basic fridge and a stove. When you’re a student, that means you have an easier time skipping out on a meal plan than their on-campus peers.

Before cruising to Wal-Mart or riding to a Metro stop near a grocery store, consider a farmers market. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, a “farmers market” is an area where local farmers or their workers sell produce, potentially including meat, dairy, and grains. A quick Google search of “farmers market” on the UH campus yields dozens of results. One such market near UH is the Canino Produce Company. Canino focuses on fruit, Latin American products and locally or nearlocally grown produce, although there is a section with assorted standard-issue groceries.

Look, Learn, Lease! 2014

“Produce from a farmers market is better than a regular groceries store because new produce is sold every day,” said shopkeeper Mitzy Vigueras of Canino Produce Company’s nopalito (cactus) and fruit stand, Chilango & Gloria. “It’s always fresh and supports local, usually small businesses.” The most important aspect to know about any farmers market is the business hours. For example, the farmers market at Rice University is open from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Tuesdays only. Other farmers markets have specific days of the year on which they are open, and some have websites that list their hours. Farmers markets can also have different atmospheres. Canino, for example, has a vibrant, old-country feel to it, brimming with activity and traditional Mexican products. Choose a farmers market based on your tastes and needs and enjoy all it has to offer!

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2014 Look, Learn, Lease!

LEGAL LINGO BY AMANDA HILOW READING AND UNDERSTAND THE LEASE REPRESENTS A PRIMARY RESPONSIBILITY

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he first thing to keep in mind while searching for an apartment is that as a tenant, there are rules and expectations to meet. Fully understanding responsibilities in the tenant-landlord relationship is essential to life after leaving the nest. However, it is no easy feat and cannot be taken lightly. According to professor Richard Alderman, interim dean of the UH Law Center and often known as the “People’s Lawyer,” the most important part of any landlord-tenant relationship is the lease. “You have to read the lease because regardless of any law,

Look, Learn, Lease! 2014

a lot of your rights and responsibilities depends on what the lease says,” he said. Alderman said it is necessary to read the lease carefully before signing, and if a tenant does not like something in the contract, they should not sign the document until the landlord agrees to remove it. “It’s a contract, and you’re bound,” Alderman said. “You might be thinking you might get married, or you might have to move, so you have to make sure to put something in the lease in case of this. Otherwise, you might be liable for substantial damages when you move out. You may owe the

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amount of rented lease until someone else moves in.” Acting against the lease agreement can seriously affect an individual’s financial or living situation for years afterward. “If you miss a payment, you break the lease,” Alderman said. “If you do anything that costs the landlord money, it will be on your credit report, and it will affect you negatively for seven years. And for seven years, it will affect your trying to rent another apartment.” The bottom line, Alderman said, is to fully understand what you are agreeing to before signing anything.

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2014 Look, Learn, Lease!

SAFE AND SOUND BY JAVI SALAZAR

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egardless of where you live, safety is a concern. UH Police Department officer Lt. Bret Collier shares his top tips.

If you commute via personal vehicle, try to park in well-lit or attended parking lots. For example, UH’s lots 12A, 9C and 4A contain kiosks manned by security 24/7.

doors, windows, etc.

Consider renter’s insurance.

Even if not on a personal basis, know what kind of people your neighbors are, and work out an agreement to watch out for one another.

The following are some general pointers:

If you commute and study in libraries, remind yourself to avoid leaving alone late at night.

Awareness is your best friend, and four or more eyes are far better than just two.

If you ride a bike, use a bicycle rack and lock it with a U-shaped lock. Place the lock through the front tire to prevent tire theft. Register the bike’s serial number with UHPD.

Even a cautious person may inadvertently let vulnerabilities exist in their residence. The following tips ring true for those living alone:

On a last note, be safe, but don’t live your life in fear.

Do not give or lend keys to someone not specifically listed in your lease agreement. If your home is “broken into” with no sign of breaking and entering, then unfortunately, you’re out of luck. This includes leaving a spare key minimally hidden nearby for a friend or guest.

Even if you’re in a hurry, always lock your

Look, Learn, Lease! 2014

When witnessing a crime, make certain to notice every detail as realistically as possible and contact law enforcement ASAP.

“Statistically speaking, college campuses are some of the safest communities in the country,” Collier said. “While we do let students know about the crimes that are occurring, this doesn’t mean there are more crimes than other areas.”

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Find a cool place to live

by reading the Classifieds section in

THE DAILY COUGAR

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2014 Look, Learn, Lease!

EASING TRANSIT TROUBLES BY KAYLA WATTERS

D

riving around Houston can be overwhelming. Driving in unfamiliar areas can not only be frustrating but also dangerous. In addition, numerous students do not have access to private transportation. Metro, the city’s public transportation system, makes traveling easier for commuting college students. “Taking Metro is actually pleasant. For just $0.60, I can get across Houston on local routes and MetroRail with my student discount on my Q-card,” says UH student Barrett Ochoa.

Look, Learn, Lease! 2014

“All of the buses and trains are generally clean and free of trash. The best part about taking Metro is not having to worry about driving or traffic.” A Q-card is a smartcard used on public transportation to pay as by waving the card in front of a machine. “Q-cards with student discount can be obtained at the Metro RideStore located at 1900 Main from Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.” Ochoa says. “Students must fill out an application and provide their Texas driver’s license or ID, class schedule with credit hours

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listed and their fee receipt.” Students unfamiliar with public transportation often wonder where to take the Metro. “The best way to get started on transit is by downloading a couple of apps to your phone,” Ochoa says. “The Metro Trip app gives real-time bus arrival information. It’s really helpful because it lets you know when exactly to walk to the bus stop, shortening the wait.” For busy college students, Metro is a convenient, safe and cheap transportation choice.

All the news you want, straight to your inbox Sign up at thedailycougar.com THE DAILY COUGAR 17

2014 Look, Learn, Lease!

MONTHLY EXPENSE CALCULATOR Rent Telephone Cable/Internet Utilities Car/gas/insurance Groceries Dining/going out Miscellaneous TOTAL

NOTES

Look, Learn, Lease! 2014

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Cornea & Contact Lens Service

A good time to be a contact lens wearer The University Eye Institute (UEI) offers a complete range of daily and extended wear lenses for patients who wish to experience the many advantages of wearing contacts. Our team of renowned experts provide advanced eye care based on your individual needs.

4901 Calhoun • Entrance #2A Open to the public, Monday - Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. To request an appointment please call 713.743.2015 www.uei.uh.edu 19 DC_Hotspots_Contacts 2014_003.indd 1

2014 Look, Learn, Lease! 3/7/14 3:23 PM

SERVICES FOR COMMUTER STUDENTS BY ALLISON WELLS We recognize that commuter students may face unique and different challenges than students who live on campus. Not only do you deal with the daily commute, often you need to balance home, social, and academic responsibilities.

Look, Learn, Lease! 2014

Commuter Student Services’ mission is to provide support services and effective communication to help facilitate commuter students’ success and connection to the UH community. We’re here to help answer

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questions, offer referrals and serve as advocates on your behalf as a commuter student at UH. For more information please visit www.uh.edu/ commuter or contact us at commuter@uh.edu

TIPS FOR COMMUTER STUDENTS 

Get to campus early to beat traffic and to get a good parking spot!

Talk to other students, faculty and staff — UH is a wonderful place to meet people!

Center (it’s free!) to work out or to find out information on intramurals, sport clubs, Outdoor Adventure trips, and more.

If possible, get a job on campus.

Make sure to read the “CoogNews” electronic newsletter, an email you’ll receive every week as it will tell you what’s happening on campus and how to get involved.

 

Get involved in campus life by joining a student organization or club.

Attend lectures, special programs and campus events.

Go to the UH Recreation and Wellness

Utilize study areas on campus such as the library, University Center, or study lounges within the various colleges.

Don’t eat lunch in your car — come to the dining halls.

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Stay on campus after classes — there’s always something going on!

If you’re a new commuter student to UH (under 30 hours), take the Map-Works survey!

2014 Look, Learn, Lease!

Keeping Up With Commuting by Shaniqua Johnson

At Commuter Student Services, we understand the ins and outs of being a commuter. Thus, we’ve put together a collection of tips to help make your commuting experience easier and more productive.

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STAY SOCIAL Make the best of your college years by taking the opportunity to meet, learn and interact with new people. Here are three tips to not only get involved but to develop a sense of belonging and pride for your campus: Take advantage of group projects — These are required in many courses. While fretting over a big assignment, you might as well make friends. Join a student organization (or two) — Each semester, the university hosts several student organizations fair. Get in on the action and find an organization that aligns with your interests. Besides, they give away lots of freebies. Get Involved — This is a web-based tool that connects you with registered UH student organizations. Simply log on to AccessUH, click the Get Involved icon and access a directory containing 500+ student organizations.

MAXIMIZE YOUR TIME Time is precious, and moreso for a commuter student. You may be juggling multiple responsibilities, but it doesn’t have to be a daunting routine. Grab your planners, to-do lists, sticky notes or whatever method works best for you; planning is key! Class Schedule — Plan your schedule around your desires and tendencies. If you don’t like waking up early, register for later classes. Remember, mid-morning and afternoon classes are usually the first to fill up. If you have to sign up for an 8:30 a.m. class, take it all in stride and start planning. Break Time — If you have long breaks in between classes, use this extra time to study, see an adviser, eat lunch or work out. Spend time doing tasks that you can scratch off of your to-do list. Save on gas and make the most of your time on campus while you’re there. Work — Managing work and school might seem impossible at times. However, the good news is that many students do this every day. On-campus jobs are generally more flexible around your schedule. Offcampus jobs may offer more work hours. Either way, plan ahead and talk with your supervisor.

THE COMMUTE Commuting is one of the biggest challenges for commuter students. School zones, gas prices and rush-hour traffic are not your friends; however, your rides don’t have to be bad experiences. You don’t have to “rush” during rush hour. Just plan ahead. Map — Map out alternate routes. It’s best to know other ways to get to campus, especially for days when weather and road closures make getting to class on time nearly impossible. Drivers — Explore campus parking. Drive to campus before the start of the semester to become familiar with parking lots, garages and regulations. Use the UH Parking Lot Tracker to gauge times when parking spaces are most available. Metro Riders — Go on a test ride before classes start. Be sure to note Metro arrival and leave times. Plan your schedule accordingly and include time for possible delays. Note — Take note of your professors’ attendance policies. If possible, dig up any syllabi or word-ofmouth from other students about courses so you can set your morning classes as ones without harsh tardy or absence penalties.

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2014 Look, Learn, Lease!

Cornea & Contact Lens Service

When glasses get in the way ...try contact lenses

The University Eye Institute (UEI) offers a complete range of daily and extended wear lenses for patients who wish to experience the many advantages of wearing contacts. Our team of renowned experts provide advanced eye care based on your individual needs.

4901 Calhoun • Entrance #2A Open to the public, Monday - Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. To request an appointment please call 713.743.2015 www.uei.uh.edu Look, Learn, Lease! 2014 DC_Hotspots_Contacts 2014_004.indd 1

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3/7/14 3:19 PM


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