Rate My Landlord program planned for USC students

ccope@thestate.comOctober 13, 2013 

TIM DOMINICK — tdominick@thestate.com Buy Photo

— University of South Carolina student Lindsay Richardson thought about moving off campus last year but had a really hard time figuring out which residence would be best for her lifestyle.

Now, she is working as a part of Student Government to create a forum where students can help others by having a say about their experiences with off-campus housing complexes by completing a “Rate My Landlord” survey. It’s kind of like the website “Rate My Professor” but for apartments.

With a crop of new student apartments planned for downtown and many already in existence close to campus and in the industrial area near Bluff Road, the chance to rate their landlords would empower students and might force complexes to improve their conditions, Student Government members hope.

It also would give students a chance to know how other students feel about where they live.

“Personally, I’m more apt to listen to my peers than I am to listen to an institution,” said Richardson, the president pro tempore of USC’s Student Government’s senate.

The results of a tentatively called “Rate My Landlord” survey could be a catalyst for change and inform communities on how to improve their conditions, Jourdan Simpson, secretary of student services for student government, said in an email.

“Members of the student body have expressed concerns about off-campus living, including issues regarding the quality of their complexes and landlords,” Simpson said.

Student Government is distributing surveys to students across campus. A lot of questions will be a ranking system. For example, a question could read: “How functional are the appliances in your apartment?”

The student could select from options such as “very good, good, neutral, bad, very bad.”

The compilation of raw survey data will be tabulated and then published to students, possibly through a link on the student government website and in booklets, Simpson said.

The results will not sponsor or tout a particular complex as the best place to live, Simpson said.

The survey is currently in pilot mode to ensure it is effective, easily understood and can reflect broad perspectives, he said.

But actual results are planned to be released in November.

Those results will provide feedback on what students value, and help off-campus facilities to attract and retain students as customers, Chase Mizzell, student body president, said in an email.

The Rate My Landlord program will be a great resource for our student body to evaluate the level of service, quality of facilities, and overall experience, Mizzell said.

Off-campus living

Just over 70 percent of all Columbia campus USC students live off campus

66 percent of undergraduate students

95 percent of graduate students

99 percent of professional students

Source: USC

Reach Cope at 803-771-8657 or on Twitter @cassielcope

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