A recent survey found 76% of Kansas State University students and staff were unaware of free, voluntary rental inspections offered in Manhattan.

This survey and responsibilities of landlords and tenants were among the topics discussed Tuesday at the Manhattan Rental Housing Forum held at K-State. Twenty to 30 people attended the forum.

The Manhattan City Commission requested this forum to understand issues surrounding rentals in Manhattan, said Dennis Marstall, assistant city manager.

The survey, filled out by 143 respondents comprised mostly of K-State students, faculty and staff, found that price and condition of rentals are the most important aspects when selecting a rental in Manhattan.

From the survey, 48% said they would recommend their current unit and landlord, but 25% said they have witnessed or experienced situations of “landlord retaliation.”

Ryan Courtright, assistant chief of the Manhattan Fire Department, talked about voluntary rental code inspections offered by the Code Services Office. The inspections aren’t required.

People can request a rental inspection by filling out a form on the city’s website.

The city also sent out a survey to landlords earlier this month. Of the 129 landlords who took the survey, 66% said they are concerned with the rental market in Manhattan.

The survey allowed landlords to give feedback about the rental housing market as well. Many expressed that they wanted the city to allow more than four unrelated tenants to live together in a single-family home. Landlords also said they think there are too many apartments in Manhattan.

Approximately 70% have not evicted a tenant over the past two years. For those that had to issue an eviction, it was because of failure to pay rent.

Teresa Baker, Rental Housing Program Manager at Housing and Credit Counseling, Inc., discussed tenant responsibilities and how to react to certain situations if a landlord does not fix something in a rental.

“I just want you to know you don’t have to put up with a lack of maintenance,” Baker said.

She said both landlords and tenants can use the 14/30 day lease violation notice method. This notice gives 14 days to correct the issue, whether it is on the landlord or tenant, and then either the landlord can evict the tenant or the tenant can vacate in 30 days.

This notice can be used by a landlord if a tenant is violating their lease, or a tenant can use the notice if the landlord does not follow through with something such as providing necessary maintenance within the rental property.