So, you and your best friends have decided that this next school year is the year you’re going to live across the street from Cap Centre Market.
Well, first, great decision. You can’t beat a 24-hour supermarket.
But more importantly, it’s imperative you know the pitfalls that student renters fall into.
Director of the Neighborhood Law Clinic, Mitch, said one of the most common issues is that students feel pressure to sign a lease early because of early marketing tactics by management companies.
“As a college student, you’re in a pretty happening time,” he said. “And if you sign a lease, most are for a year, but you’re signing it nine or 10 months or even 11 months before it starts, you’re literally committing to where you’re going to be two years from now.”
Mitch added that this can significantly impact students who sign early and then have roommates who end up leaving school for whatever reason.
He thinks this ultimately has an adverse effect on landlords, because renters who are placed under stress when they have to cover for roommates who leave subsequently have a negative impression about the property.
“The landlord is in a worse position by trying to secure the money early,” he said. “That can come back to bite them because by defacto, nine months is more likely that somebody is going to have something happen that’s going to make them unable to complete their lease.”
However, if a renter can’t complete their lease, Aaron Romens, program director from the Tenant Resource Center, believes that subletting may not always be the best course of action.
Instead, Romens suggests breaking the lease, a process by which a renter notifies their landlord that they’d like to end their contract and move out. While the property is vacant, the owner is responsible for paying the remainder of the lease.
The caveat, often under-advertised to students, is that landlords are required by law to find a new tenant. If the landlord isn’t advertising the property the way they did when it was originally rented, they could be responsible for the rent.
“If they’re not showing that apartment the same way they did when it was originally rented, then they might not be entitled to any money at all because they weren’t trying to mitigate,” Romens said.
Both the Tenant Resource Center and the Neighborhood Law Clinic are local resources available to both established community residents and students.