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Indiana University Bloomington

Student Student Legal Services

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GET LEGAL! AN OFF-CAMPUS RENTING QUIZ FOR IU STUDENTS

  1. Violation of Bloomington’s noise ordinance may subject you to a:

    • a. $50 Fine
    • b. $100 Fine
    • c. $500 Fine
    • d. a, b, and c
    • e. Round of applause from the cops who really admire your taste in music.

    The correct answer is:

    (d). Noise violations start at $50 but increase with subsequent offenses in the same 12-month period. The cops may like your taste, but they’ll ticket you for volume.

  2. You and three friends sign a lease for an apartment providing for rent of $1,000 a month and joint and several liability. Your friends leave town and form a boy band. You are responsible for:

    • a. Paying $1,000 a month
    • b. Paying $250 a month
    • c. Choreographing your friends’ next video.

    The correct answer is:

    (a). Joint and several liability means that you all agree to cover the whole amount if you have to, whether your roomies bail, go broke, or pretend to be asleep when you collect the rent. Review the annotated sample lease on the website to learn more.

  3. You paid your landlord a $500 damage deposit then tore up the new shag carpet practicing to become an Ultimate Fighter. The landlord wants $2,000 to replace the carpet. You can be sued for:

    • a. $2,000—your deposit plus the $1,500 balance to replace the carpet.
    • b. Only your $500 damage deposit
    • c. The $58.03 left in your checking account.
    • d. Nothing—no one would be foolish enough to sue an Ultimate Fighter.

    The correct answer is:

    (a). Your deposit is just a floor, not a ceiling—your landlord may seek damages over and above it if you trash your apartment. So, take care of your floor, your ceiling, and everything else.

  4. Your roommate hatches the brilliant plan of cranking the thermostat to 90 during your party to encourage guests to shed their winter layers; your old furnace barely hits 70. How high does the law say your heat must go?

    • a. No minimum—this ain’t the Ritz Carlton.
    • b. A brisk 62 degrees—Can you say Snuggie Party?
    • c. An invigorating 65 degrees—Soiree in a sweater, what could be better?
    • d. A comfortable 72 degrees—perfect for dignified entertaining.
    • e. Try the mid-80s, grab your tank tops, lovely ladies.

    The correct answer is:

    (c). Bloomington’s Housing Code requires landlords to maintain a heating system which can warm your apartment to 65 degrees. No more. No less.

  5. Money gets tight around your three-bedroom apartment, so your three roommates and you decide to rent the living room to a truck driver you meet on Craigslist. Does this carry a financial risk?

    • a. Only because it’s one more roommate to steal your Ramen Noodles.
    • b. Yes. Your landlord can find out and raise your rent and deposit to reflect a new tenant.
    • c. Yes, because the county may assess a one-time $500 fee for extra utilities and road use by his big rig.
    • d. Yes, because the city can fine you daily, with fines amounting to hundreds or thousands of dollars.

    The correct answer is:

    (d). Properties in Bloomington are zoned for certain numbers of unrelated occupants. That means, unless you’re a family, you often can’t have more than three unrelated people in a dwelling. Check your lease, check with the city, and don’t allow tenants who aren’t on the lease to live with you.

  6. You hold a Little 500 party, serving only Big Red and ice cream sandwiches, but your friends, the Doobie Brothers, see nothing wrong with a few hits from their bong. Who is at risk when the cops come?

    • a. Only the Doobie Brothers will need bail from their mothers.
    • b. All of you. You did a bad deed, hosting friends and their weed.

    The correct answer is:

    (b). If you allow illegal drug use on your property, you run the risk of maintaining a common nuisance. You might also be evicted, as most leases prohibit illegal activity.

  7. If you’re an IU student and you need legal advice on issues like these, expect to pay:

    • a. An arm, a leg, and maybe the gold fillings in your teeth. Lawyers ain’t cheap!
    • b. Nothing, if you visit Student Legal Services, the law office you already paid for.

    The correct answer is:

    (b). If you missed this one, you might be better off in the dorms.