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ALL in person Student Association and Student Association Club activities, events and meetings are canceled until further notice.

We are still offering Student Legal Consultations through our legal website portal. Feel free to contact our Club Representatives via E-Mail. E-Mail addresses can be found on our club directory.

If you need assistance, please reach out to our staff via E-Mail. A list of our staff can be found at sa.buffalo.edu/sa-staff

For more information, please visit the UB COVID-19 website: www.buffalo.edu/coronavirus

 

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UNIVERSITY AT BUFFALO STUDENT ASSOCIATION STATEMENT ON RECENT ICE RESTRICTIONS ON NON-IMMIGRANT STUDENTS

The University at Buffalo Student Association stands in solidarity with our international student community which is currently under attack by the Federal Government and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The new direction sent out by ICE instructs international students whose campuses have moved lectures entirely online for the upcoming school year to return to their native countries.

UB international students make up roughly 20.7% of our campus population, representing 107 different countries; there is no doubt that UB is a major hub for international students in NYS  and across the country. International students as of 2017-2018 had a total economic impact of $39 billion supporting 455,622 jobs. International students also pay an excessive amount in tuition and fees, with the national average for public four-year universities being around $26,290 per annul with barely any grants or access to loans. Despite the financial struggle, international students are also victims of a lot of mental struggles such as homesickness, lack of job availability due to immigration restrictions and language barriers as well as social injustices stemming from racism and xenophobia. It is inherent our international student population is protected and supported, especially in the middle of a pandemic where these struggles become more prominent. Unfortunately, ICE has chosen to do the absolute opposite by adding to the burden by forcing students to return home. These actions are quite frankly repugnant, disgusting, and hateful.

Furthermore, these actions are displeasing because it of the push on higher education institutions to risk the health of international students by disallowing students to complete their programs within the United States. With the pandemic and many borders being closed to the U.S. due to it being a hot-spot for the virus that has plagued our world, many students wouldn’t even be able to return home but still potentially face the consequences for remaining in the country. Even more so, it will be logistically grim and awful for some students to complete their coursework from their home countries either through technological difficulties and time difference gaps. There are so many points to be made as to why international students should be allowed to stay; unfortunately, we still see the constant maltreatment prevail even in the middle of a global pandemic.

I want to reassure all international students that SA stands with you, and we will make sure we do what we can to advocate against this injustice. We are working with the University to make sure the necessary steps are taken to protect our international student community should this rule persist. As an international student myself, I understand the frustration that many of you might be feeling, and I empathize with you all during this time. While we do wait and hope adjustments are made to these policies, there are ways we as a UB community as a whole can play our part in getting through these unwarranted inconveniences, most notably our U.S. citizen population. The link in our Instagram bio will contain petitions, phone calls, and email scripts to send to your congress reps. I strongly urge our non-international students to serve as allies and stand firmly with our international student community as we are a campus that thrives and excels through its diversity in culture. When any one of our communities is under attack, we are ALL attacked.

With Sincere Empathy,

 

Yousouf Amolegbe

2019 - 2020 UB Student Association President

Click here to download a copy of the SA General Condition Rental Checklist

 

Dear Students:

As the end of the school year is upon us, many students are preparing to move out of their off campus apartments and many are searching for accommodations for the upcoming school year. SA Student Legal Services is providing you with this helpful information on how to navigate and protect yourself through the process of leasing an apartment.

The college years are when many people rent their first apartment.  Most landlords are honest business people that have reputable practices.  Unfortunately there are also those landlords that seek to take advantage of students and not respect the law and the student’s rights.

SA Student Legal Services are here to offer consultation to students who may have legal issues or concerns concerning their leased apartment or landlord.  Please reach out to our office and schedule an appointment if you should need assistance.

FINDING THE APARTMENT

Finding the right apartment can sometimes be a long process, because you want the place you choose to live to be more than just shelter.   You need to be safe and comfortable in  your new place, and be able to call it home.  Finding a good place to live doesn’t ever really boil down to luck, but instead to being resourceful and diligent in doing your research and knowing your rights.  Have a clear idea of what it is you are looking for in an apartment, so that you can narrow your search.

  • Don’t rush into a decision. If the landlord is pressuring you to sign a lease be sure that you have taken time to research the area prior to your visit.  Take time, before your scheduled appointment,  to drive by the apartment during evening hours.  This step will give you a better idea of what night time activity is like in the area, which is directly related to your safety.

SIGNING THE LEASE

Before you sign a lease, it is always a good idea to have it reviewed by an attorney.  If consulting an attorney isn’t an option, then having someone that has experience in leasing an apartment look over the lease would be a good idea.  An experienced person may catch something in the lease that you would not.  Request, in writing, from the landlord a copy of the proposed lease agreement for you to review before signing.  Below are some things to look for in a standard lease:.

  • The lease may not limit or waive any of your rights under the law.
  • Late penalties can not exceed a fee higher than 5% of the amount owed.
  • The lease can not allow the landlord to evict or take possession of your personal property without first gaining an order/judgement from a court.
  • The lease can not give less than 30 days notice for any termination of your lease.

SECURITY DEPOSITS

Security deposits are for the purpose of protecting the landlord against any damages that may happen to the property, outside of any normal wear and tear.  Typically, the security deposit is equal to one month’s rent and you must receive a receipt of payment of the security deposit.  The security deposit is to be placed in an escrow account that bears interest.  When the deposit is returned, the landlord is required to include the accrued interest at 3% per year. 

Prior to moving in, you should do a full walk through of the apartment, preferably with the landlord.  Be sure to use a move-in condition checklist to note the condition of the property at the time you sign the lease.  You should provide the landlord with a copy of your move in checklist. You should also ask the landlord, in writing,  for a written list of any damages or defects that he/she is aware of.  The landlord must supply a list of known defects or damages within 15 days of you taking occupancy.

KEYS TO BEING A GOOD TENANT

As much as you want an honest and good landlord, landlords also want honest and good tenants.  Sometimes students get a bad rap for being difficult tenants.  Below are some tips for you to consider and try to adhere to.  These tips can help make sure that you are keeping up your end of a good landlord tenant relationship.

  • Pay your rent on time.
  • Take care of the property and avoid damaging it.
  • Let the landlord know when repairs are needed and put the request in writing ( keep copies of all correspondence).
  • Inform the landlord of your intent to move within 30 days of your anticipated move out date, or whatever time is stipulated in the lease. Send the notice via certified mail to the address the landlord designates in the lease.
  • Be sure to introduce yourself to your neighbors. Let them know if you plan to have a party.
  • Obey local laws and ordinances.
  • Keep noise levels down.
  • Make sure your guests are respecting the property.
  • Follow neighborhood parking regulations.
  • Don’t be messy. Clean up your trash (in urban areas rodents can be a major issue!).

WARRANT OF HABITABILITY

Every apartment comes with a warrant of habitability, which is an implied warranty, read into the lease as a matter of law. The landlord cannot require the tenant to waive or limit this warranty.  When issues regarding the habitability of a premise arise, sometimes the landlord tenant relationship can become strained.  No one should live in an unsafe environment, and there are laws that protect your right not to.  Below are some of the issues you should be aware of regarding safety and habitability.  Be sure that if any issue arises, that you always notify the landlord in writing.  You will be required to give the landlord access to repair any problem, and the landlord is required to give you proper notice of their intent to enter the premises.  Below are some issues of habitability for you to consider:

  • You can’t live in all or part of the apartment.
  • No water
  • Water leaks or floods
  • No hot water
  • No heat
  • Problem with pipes
  • Radiator problems (too much heat, broken, exploding, noisy)
  • Electric (broken outlets or light fixtures, exposed or bad wiring)
  • No electricity or only extension cords
  • Mice/Rats/Vermin
  • Roaches/Insects/Bed Bugs
  • Lead Paint
  • Mold
  • Kitchen problems (stove/oven/refrigerator/sink broken)
  • Gas (none or leaking)
  • Bathroom problems (broken toilet/sink/shower/tub, leaks or
  • Floor problems (holes, sagging, etc.)
  • Walls/Ceilings cracks, peeling paint or plaster broken tiles on walls or floors peeling paint or plaster
  • Lead paint (Especially if children are residing in the home)
  • Window problems (bad fit/leaks/drafty, broken glass, don't open or close, locks broken, torn screens)
  • No window guards
  • Bad ventilation
  • Smoke detector missing or it’s no good
  • Carbon monoxide detector missing or it’s no good
  • Garbage not collected
  • Smells or fumes
  • Harassment by landlord or other tenants
  • Excessive Noise
  • Door locks broken
  • Broken intercom or doorbell
  • Fire or smoke damage
  • Asbestos
  • Crime or illegal activity
  • Dirty Hallways (sewage, garbage)
  • Bad lights (indoor or outdoor)
  • Dangerous stairs or railings
  • Broken elevator
  • Mailbox problems (none or no good)
  • Broken Fire Escape
  • Boiler is no good
  • Roof is no good
  • Fire escape is no good
  • Any other condition that is dangerous to life, health, safety, or makes the apartment or building unlivable

FAILURE TO MAKE REPAIRS

Once you have called and provided written notice to the landlord, or an employee of the landlord (an agent), to inform them of an unsafe or unlivable problem in your apartment or building, this is considered actual  and proper notice under the law.  Be sure to keep copies of all correspondence. 

Landlords have a reasonable amount of time to make repairs.  If the landlord fails to make repairs within a reasonable amount of time, after you have provided proper notice, you can report the landlord to local authorities.  At this point, it is advised that you seek the counsel of an Attorney to help you with the situation.  SA Student Legal Services should be your first point of consultation. 

MOVING OUT

Just like you did a walk through when you moved into the apartment, you should also do a walk through when you move out.  It is best to do the walk through after you have removed all of your personal belongings from the property.  You are required by law to leave the property in “broom swept” condition.  Broom swept means, at minimum, that the premise is free of any excess stuff, like personal items and debris, and has been swept or vacuumed.

We have already covered security deposits,  and that they serve to cover any damage that may happen to the premise.  Normal wear and tear, like small holes from hanging pictures are not considered damage, unless there is a provision in the lease specifically prohibiting you from using nails.   However, if significant damage has taken place, like a big hole in the wall or a door is off the hinge, the landlord is entitled to charge you for the repair.  You must notify your landlord, in writing, that you want to be present for the final walk through.  You must notify the landlord  at least 15 days prior to your move out date.  The landlord will then notify you as to the time and date of the final inspection.  If the landlord finds cause to withhold any part of your security deposit for damages, he/she is required to send you a written list of the damages and a statement of the cost to repair the damages.  Absent any offset for damages, if the landlord fails to return your full security deposit, you have the right to sue him/her for it.  If this situation occurs, schedule an appointment for a consultation with one of our Attorneys.

We hope that this information is helpful and informative in the search and procurement of your college apartment.  This is not an exhaustive list, as there are always unique situations that may not fit the situations outlined herein.  If you have issues or concerns that you don’t understand, it is always advisable that you seek advice from an Attorney to assist you.  We hope that you find the right apartment and that you make many happy memories in it!


UB SA  Student Legal Services
Shaqurah G. Zachery, Esq.
William Beck, Esq.

University at Buffalo Student Association Inc.
Whistleblower Policy

NO DIRECTOR, OFFICER, EMPLOYEE OR VOLUNTEER OF A CORPORATION WHO IN GOOD FAITH REPORTS ANY ACTION OR SUSPECTED ACTION TAKEN BY OR WITHIN THE CORPORATION THAT IS ILLEGAL, FRAUDULENT OR IN VIOLATION OF ANY ADOPTED POLICY OF THE CORPORATION SHALL SUFFER INTIMIDATION, HARASSMENT, DISCRIMINATION OR OTHER RETALIATION OR, IN THE CASE OF EMPLOYEES, ADVERSE EMPLOYMENT CONSEQUENCE.

This Whistleblower Policy is not an employment contract, nor does it change the fact that any employee of the University at Buffalo Student Association Inc. (the “Corporation”) is an employee at will.

Procedures for the Reporting of Violations or Suspected Violations of Laws or Corporate Policies:

  1. Any violation or suspected violation of a law or corporate policy shall be reported (orally or in writing) to the Corporation’s President and to the Corporation’s Administrative Director at 350 Student Union, UB North Campus, Buffalo, NY 14260, (716) 645-2950.
  2. If the President is the subject of such report, the report shall be made to the Chairperson of the Board of Directors instead of the President. If the Administrative Director is the subject of such report, the report shall be made to the Associate Administrative Director instead of the Administrative Director.
  3. It is required that an employee, officer or director of the Corporation be designated to administer the Whistleblower Policy and to report to the Audit Committee or other committee of independent directors or, if there are no such committees, to the Board. The President of the Corporation is so designated to administer the Whistleblower Policy and to report to the appropriate body listed above. Directors who are employees may not participate in any board or committee deliberations or voting relating to administration of the whistleblower policy.
  4. All reports received will be treated confidentially or anonymously, as applicable, to the extent reasonable and practicable under the circumstances, if and to the extent allowed for under law and State University of New York at Buffalo policy(ies).
  5. The person who is the subject of a whistleblower complaint shall not be present at or participate in board or committee deliberations or vote on the matter relating to such complaint, provided that nothing in this paragraph shall prohibit the board or committee from requesting that the person who is subject to the complaint present information as background or answer questions at a committee or board meeting prior to the commencement of deliberations or voting relating thereto.
  6. The President (or Chairperson of the Board of Directors, if the report relates to the President) may delegate the responsibility to investigate the report to any other individual(s), including person(s) who are not employed by the Corporation; provided, however, that such responsibility may not be delegated to any person(s) who is/are the subject of such report.

Policy Distribution

A copy of this Whistleblower Policy shall be distributed to all directors, officers, employees and volunteers who provide substantial services to the Corporation. Posting the policy on the Corporation’s website or at the Corporation’s offices in a conspicuous location accessible to employees and volunteers are among the methods the Corporation may use to satisfy the distribution requirement.

 

Initially adopted May 17, 2019; including amendments adopted 2/11/2020

 

Below you can download or view the University at Buffalo Student Association Inc. By-Laws.

Download the University at Buffalo Student Association Inc. By-Laws


 

Effective immediately, due to the recent developments with the COVID-19 pandemic, Legal Consultations will be provided remotely only (usually by telephone). All other aspects of the program, including terms and hours of operation, remain the same. If you are a UB student interested in a legal consultation, please sign up for one below. Make sure to include your phone number in the appropriate field. One of the two attorneys affiliated with this program, Shaqurah Zachery and William Beck, will email you at your UB email address prior to the appointment with important information.

 

Attorneys are available to provide free legal consultations to UB students as follows.

Make your appointment with the link at the bottom of this page.

Who Is Eligible to Use This Service:

Only current University at Buffalo students are eligible to use this service. This includes undergraduate and graduate/professional students. Services are free to eligible students.

 

Office Hours:

During fall and spring semesters:  Monday – Friday  1:00 pm. until 5:00 p.m. (closed Thanksgiving week)

During exam periods, summer session and winter session:  Monday and Thursday 1:00 pm. until 5:00 p.m.

Students can register for appointments on this website.

 

What Sort of Consultations Are Available:

Consultations are available regarding the following matters:

  • landlord/tenant issues
  • residential lease review
  • traffic
  • criminal
  • student disciplinary
  • estate administration
  • start up business basics
  • family law
  • immigration
  • small claims
  • other civil matters.

These consultations are limited to 1-3 hours per matter. The goal of the program is to provide short and basic free consultations for students (particularly at times of significant need in their lives), and not to provide long-term representation.

Each attorney is also a notary public.

 

Conflicts Rules

There are some matters this program does not handle, including but not limited to:

  • UB student vs. UB student
  • Student vs. the University (other than student disciplinary)
  • Student vs. any UB student association

 

 

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