A push for standards

In an effort to improve housing for students living in University City, the Office of Off-Campus Living and nearly 40 local landlords have been working since September to promote better housing standards.

"Off-Campus Living will implement a new process of listing which will ask the listers to comply to the new set of standards," said Mihaela Farcas, director of Off-Campus Living. Until now, Off-Campus Living has listed any local properties landlords submitted.

The planned standards include the use of plain-language leases, a rider that would spell out landlords' responsibilities to follow housing codes, and mechanisms for dispute resolution that would allow tenants and landlords to use Penn offices.

The standards evolved from a series of meetings involving landlords, Penn and community officials. From the initial focus on safety and security, the landlords expanded their scope to include lighting, maintenance and landlord-tenant issues.

A final agreement between Off-Campus Living and landlords is expected soon, Farcas said.

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Originally published on January 14, 1999