Off-campus leasing agents pressure students to sign for fall 2021

Students are hesitant to sign up, university says ‘no decision’ made on in-person semester

With spring just around the corner, many USC students are feeling the heat as leasing deadlines for off-campus housing are quickly approaching. Many students are still unsure about their plans for the fall semester due to the uncertainty of on-campus living and in-person classes.

Because of this, many apartment complexes near campus are pressuring their current tenants to resign their leases by offering cheaper rent and extraordinary deals. Ironically, many of the same complexes are simultaneously claiming to have few spots left, leaving students anxious to find a place to live as fast as they can.

Charlotte Stiplosek, a freshman business major currently living in University Gateway Luxury Apartment Homes, said if Gateway— a place that she claims has struggled with maintenance in the past— is filling up quickly, “it makes me think that all the other houses are filling up too, especially affordable ones.”

Off-campus living has always been an option for students wanting more freedom in their living situation. Without the supervision of RAs and strict guest policies, students are able to live like adults on their own. However, with the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic, off-campus living has become the only option for students wanting to live near campus. Hence, students across all grades have gravitated to the apartment complexes around campus.

As the end of the school year looms, these off-campus housing options are eager to fill up their units, and their main target is their current tenants.

“We will always encourage students to renew their lease,” Tuscany Apartment leasing professional Karina Rayo said. “We also started pre-leasing for the next semester, and we’re giving specials to the people who renew.”

Apartment complexes like Tuscany normally use special deals to attract their current tenants to resign their leases, but students feel some complexes are crossing the line. Students are getting annoyed and frustrated with the number of emails and promotional phone calls they’re receiving from their student living locations.

Molly Mcall, another freshman living in Gateway Apartments, is tired of being asked to renew her lease. “I get emails from Gateway at least once a week. They are constantly offering new deals trying to get us to re-sign,” Mcall said. “I remember one said, ‘Re-sign your lease now and you’ll get the first month free.’”

Another student living in Gateway, Josh Mora, added, “There was, I would say, a little bit of pressure to kind of get the ball rolling from them. I remember there was one day, I don’t know if it was the same person or two different people from the Gateway complex, but they called all of our roommates. On the same day, within a couple of minutes.”

University Gateway did not respond to a request for comment before publication

Freshman, upperclassmen or otherwise, the constant badgering is beginning to become a bit much for students, who with classes, internships, and extracurricular activities, already have a lot flooding their email inboxes and voicemails.

“I get an email like every other day about it,” Stiplosek affirmed, “It makes me super overwhelmed.”

USC housing has yet to announce its plan for the fall and declined to comment on the situation as of now. But, whatever the decision is—to reopen campus or not— many current freshmen including Stiplosek still do not plan on living on campus. “Because so many freshmen have already experienced their first year living in off-campus housing, they experienced the freedom and aren’t going to want to give it up next year, with having an R.A and abiding by a more parental rule,” Stiplosek said.

For these students, being forced to live-off campus has been a taste of freedom they aren’t willing to trade for prime on-campus amenities. But they say they could do without the constant badgering.