- It is important to read and understand your lease or rental agreement before signing. It is a binding legal contract. Contact the Center for Student Legal Services to review your lease before signing it.
- It is illegal for a landlord not to rent to you based on your race of nationality. Read your lease (housing contract).
- If you pay your rent in cash MAKE SURE you get and retain your receipts.
- To increase the chances of getting your security deposit back, photograph, video tape and/or document your apartment when you first move in and again when you move out.
- Contact your landlord at the first sign of a problem with the condition of your residence. Write a letter to your landlord listing the problems that need to be fixed and KEEP A COPY of the letter. If you are having difficulty getting your landlord to make repairs, contact the Center for Student Legal Service for guidance.
- Recycle paper, cans and bottles.
- Landlords must give you notice before coming into your home.
- Know where the fire extinguishers are and make sure they are in working order. Check the smoke detectors monthly.
- Know how to contact Housing Code Enforcement (740-592-3306)
- Follow all rules in the lease, especially rules about visitors, pets and other rules that affect everyone in the residence.
- Do not drive any car unless you have a valid United States driver’s license and car insurance. If you are caught driving without a license you will be charged with a crime and have to pay heavy fines.
- If you buy a car, purchase it locally. It something goes wrong and you need legal help, The Center For Student Legal Services can help you. However, it will make it more difficult to help you if you bought the car outside of Athens.
- Do not buy a used car from anyone before having it checked by a reputable mechanic. Have the mechanic give you a written list of any problems with the vehicle.
- Always get the seller to sign the title over to you in front of a notary when purchasing a used car from a private owner.
- Do not purchase a vehicle just because it seems like a good price or the seller is pressuring you. A vehicle is a large purchase that requires research, time and comparison shopping.
- If you own a car that needs repairs, you have the right to w written estimate from the repair shop if the repair is over $25.00 USD.
- A car title that has a “salvage title” means that the vehicle has been severely damaged and/or deemed a total loss by an insurance company that paid a claim on it. Some car sellers will try to conceal this, so make sure that you find out before purchasing the vehicle. A car that has a salvage title is usually not worth purchasing.
- NEVER give bank account numbers or other confidential information to people over the phone. If you must release this information, it is best to do it in person.
- Make sure your household knows which long distance phone company is handling your international phone calls. Be cautious of changing your long distance carrier.
- Read and understand all documents in any circumstances before you sign them. ALWAYS GET COPIES of all papers you sign. Never sign a contract with blank spaces. Make sure all oral promises are written into the agreement. If you have to sign something that you don’t completely understand, bring it to our office and an attorney will help you.
- Beware of lending money to friend. If you lend money to someone, get a contract written to specify the details of repayment. An attorney at our office can help with this. Keep in mind that it can still be very hard to recover your money even if you sue someone in court and win.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE STOPPED BY THE POLICE:
- Be polite and respectful. Stay calm and in control of your words. Don’t get into an argument with the police. Don’t resist verbally or physically even if you believe you’ve done nothing wrong.
- Do not make any statements regarding the incident. It is not against the law to refuse to answer questions.
- Write down everything you remember about the incident that leads to police involvement in case you are asked to be a witness.
- You must show your driver’s license, proof of insurance, and registration when stopped while driving a car.
- You do not have to consent to any search of yourself, your car or your home. If you feel your rights have been violated, file a written complaint with the police department’s internal affairs division. Contact The Center for Student Legal Services for assistance with this.
- Domestic violence is against the law in the United States: no person shall cause or attempt to case physical harm to a family or household member. If you are the victim of domestic violence or know someone who is, please contact our office immediately.
http://www.ohio.edu/isfs/ : Ohio University International Student Services
http://www.nolo.com : A Self Help Law Center
http://www.lawguru.com : General Legal Information, includes an Internet Law Library
http://www.immigration-usa.com/is.html : Immigration Resources