Students can learn about landlords, leases and legal issues from local experts at the Isla Vista Town Hall meeting at Embarcadero Hall tonight.

At 7 p.m., representatives from the Isla Vista Tenants’ Union, the Associated Students Legal Resource Center and the UCSB Community Housing Office will join local property owners to answer questions about tenants’ rights and property laws. The Legal Resource Center and the I.V. Town Hall Meeting Committee are sponsoring the event and will be providing free food and prize drawings for attendees, ASLRC member and senior global studies major Rachel Weight said.

Associated Students External Vice President of Local Affairs Kelly Burns said the meeting will focus on ways to solve disputes between property-owners and students. Panel members will also give tips for living with roommates and advice to help renters recover their security deposits at the end of the year.

“These [issues] are important to everyone,” Burns said.

Roane Akchurin, Community Housing Office manager, said on-campus residents that are considering renting in I.V. might find tonight’s forum helpful, especially as they prepare to sign leases for next school year. She said the meeting will also give current renters good advice about ways they can solve and, ideally, avoid common disputes.

“Eighty percent of housing problems can be avoided,” Akchurin said. “This is not a slam on everyone who’s doing everything wrong. … Let’s not talk about the problem; let’s talk about ways to avoid the problem.”

Akchurin said Community Housing Office representatives will focus, in particular, on the videotaping service that is available to local tenants. Through the office, students can have someone film the condition of their apartments before they move in – a service that protects new tenants from false accusations of property damage that could cost them their security deposit money come move-out time.

“There have been a lot of [security] deposit issues,” Akchurin said. “We came up with the video taping service, and it works.”

Weight said ASLRC will also send a lawyer to the meeting so that students can get their legal questions answered.

Burns, a junior global studies and zoology major, said she hopes the town hall meeting helps students learn about the services that are available to help them with their housing questions.

“This is a huge issue in I.V.,” Burns said. “It is important for people to know their resources and just talk about it. I hope people show up and ask a lot of questions.”

Students interested in tenants’ rights and rental issues can also visit an open house hosted by the ASLRC and the I.V. Tenants’ Union at 5 p.m. today. The open house will be at the union’s new location above Grafikart on Pardall Road.