My recent experience with my daughter’s apartment rental company – tip for your students that plan to live off campus

My daughter is currently finishing up her last year of school at a public University in Texas. She lived on campus her first two years, took an internship for one semester, and has lived off campus her final two years.

I recently was made aware of a trick the local apartments use to get students (and their parents) on the hook for more rent. Her lease was expiring in July so she talked to the rental company about extending it from August-December to cover her last semester. The apartment company representative then told her they only do August-July leases with no exceptions at the current rate and for short term rentals(if they agree to one) it would be an additional $140 per month. They then told her that most students typically will sign the 12 month lease and then sublease the apartment for the months they don’t need. When my daughter told me this I said that can’t be right, so I called the leasing company and explained the situation, that she had been a good tenant always paying on time, and was there anything that could be done.

They had us over a barrel, knew it and wouldn’t budge. They said if they made an exception with us it could be seen as showing favoritism and they could be sued by other tenants. They also said every apartment company in this small college town had the same policy of only writing 1 year leases for the August-July period. I asked what about those students that don’t go during the summer? I also asked about those that graduated in May (which the majority of students do)? She said that they either pay those months or sublease the apartment for the months they aren’t there. I’m not looking to get in the leasing business and didn’t want to be on the hook for 7 additional months of rent so we begrudgingly agreed to the extra $140 per month.

This is something to be aware of and let your students and their parents know about this practice. Possibly they can negotiate upfront rather than at the end of the lease when they have no other recourse. At the very least they will be aware of it and can plan accordingly.