The tight rental housing market has come down especially hard on Southern Oregon University students, who often encounter ads for rentals saying, "no students." While that's unreasonably restrictive, landlords didn't dream it up just to be mean to students.
College students living off campus can pose a problem for landlords and neighbors if they throw loud parties into the wee hours. Those gatherings also can result in damage to the landlord's property.
Not all students are partiers, and a blanket prohibition against renting to students does pose a hardship for many. With Ashland's rental vacancy rate at 1 percent, finding a place can be a challenge even if you're not turned away just for being a student.
Still, there are reasons landlords are leery. One anonymous student told the Daily Tidings he has sub-let his couch or his garage without telling his landlord. Five or six students occupying two- or three-bedroom houses are not unheard of. Besides likely violating the terms of the rental agreement, overcrowding can lead to property damage, not to mention extra vehicles taking up space on residential streets.
The SOU students plan to make their case to the City Council at the Feb. 16 meeting.
In addition to presenting evidence supporting their claims of discrimination, they should be prepared to offer something to the landlords. Property owners should be able to promptly evict tenants who violate rules of conduct, and should be able to reject applicants based on unfavorable reports from previous landlords.