News | April 30th, 2020
Students Are Paying Rent For Vacant Apartments
By: Dejania Oliver
Many students have left Tallahassee for their homes, and for those with rent still due, they are struggling with the fact that they still have to pay.
Since schools have resorted to online instruction, many students have decided to return home. For the students that are renting apartments in Tallahassee, this means paying rent for a place they are not currently living in.
Sarah Williams, a sophomore at Florida A&M University, lives in a complex called Redpoint. She says her parents pay for her rent, but it has gotten more difficult financially since this pandemic began.
“My mom also lost her job due to this pandemic,” Williams said. “So it is hard trying to support two households off of no income.”
Rent in Tallahassee can be expensive. Williams pays $750 a month for her apartment. For students that do not have a job or consistent income, it is very stressful trying to find ways to pay rent in these times.
Leslie Bradwell, a renter at Social 2700, says she usually pays her rent through loans and she is not currently employed. The complex costs around $500 a month, according to Bradwell. She believes people should not be expected to pay rent since COVID-19 has left many students financially unstable.
“We should be able to break the lease,” Bradwell said. “Most people went home and shouldn’t be paying for an apartment they’re not living in.”
The government issued a 120-day moratorium on evictions from federally subsidized housing or from a property with a federally backed mortgage. Many apartments also anticipated financial struggles and have taken measures to allow their residents to still make their payments.
Raegan Hamilton, a resident at Redpoint Apartments, says her complex is giving all residents an extension for their rent payments.
“These kinds of situations are not specified in anyone’s lease when they sign up to live somewhere,” Hamilton said. “They have given us up until May 15th for the month of May’s rent.”
This dilemma many students are now facing has affected them mentally, not just financially. Worrying about school, work, and now how the rent will get paid has caused fear and anxiety among them. Hamilton says she feels overwhelmed by the sudden difficulty she is facing.
“Sadly, my family was touched by the virus, taking my godfather from us and leaving my godmother in a coma,” Hamilton said. “The pandemic has definitely left me a bit overwhelmed.”
Currently, the state of Tallahassee is under a stay-at-home order mandated by Gov. Ron DeSantis on April 1. Florida, along with 42 other states, has ordered its residents to stay in their homes unless doing an essential activity. This means that many of the people living in apartments in Tallahassee reside in states where they are being told to stay home. Most of the students never officially moved out, and most of their belongings are still in the capital city.
“My family wasn’t comfortable with me driving back and forth with the state that we were all in and thought it best I stay with them,” Hamilton said. “So, unfortunately, I’ve had to live off of the spring break luggage that I brought with me.”
Students feel discouraged with all of this change going on. Many have had to adapt to a situation they do not want to be in, and they have had to learn how to navigate being back home. Add the problem that some people do not have home environments conducive to being successful and it can cause the students to feel stress in a whole new way.
“I liked the independent living I had,” Williams said. “I feel that I put my life on pause to help try to eliminate this problem, which everyone should be doing, but it still sucks nonetheless.”