Should Off-Campus Housing Still Charge Rent During the Pandemic?

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Due to the coronavirus, all Penn State classes have been cancelled for the rest of the semester and through the summer. As a result, the majority of students are unable to reside in their off-campus housing, but are still having to pay rent for the units. This has raised a debate in the community: should properties still be charging rent during a pandemic?

Maddie McKinley, a sophomore studying information sciences and technology, said that her off-campus housing is still making residents pay their rent, and is not offering any sort of compensation.

“I don’t think it’s right considering most residents are not currently residing there,” says McKinley. “Penn State wanted all students to evacuate, so that’s exactly what I, alongside the majority of us did. I think that my building should at least be offering some sort of discount since they shut down all of the common areas and amenities. And if I were to be living there right now, I wouldn’t have access to them.”

McKinley also expressed her frustration towards the electric bill she is still receiving.

“To me, the biggest mystery in all of this is the electric bill,” says McKinley. “None of us are there, so I don’t understand where these charges are coming from. It’s only right that the building voids these bills.”

McKinley’s building is not the only building that has closed off their common areas to stop the spread of the virus. Caroline DeCarlo, a senior majoring in communications, said that her building has shut down its amenities as well, but are giving residents compensation for it.

“I live at the Edge, and they decided to decrease our monthly rent by 10% because of our gym and study rooms being closed — not that anyone is in there to use them anyway,” says DeCarlo. “Having this 10% discount is nice considering they didn’t have to do anything at all. I understand that ARPM is still a business that has to make money, so I feel like this situation is fair.”

Alexa Garcia, a sophomore majoring in communication sciences and disorders, lived in a building that did not offer bonus amenities and is not giving any money back for the time lost.

“I lived off-campus in an apartment this year. I still have to pay for everything, including electric, which wasn’t included in our rent,” says Garcia. “I feel like it’s unfair that they won’t at least give us a discount, because this is something no one can control, and people shouldn’t have to pay for an apartment they aren’t even able to live in.”

Is your apartment offering tenants reduced rent rates? Tweet us at @VALLEYmag and let us know.

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