Strangled by the lease

Students must realize they have bargaining power and can push back.

One of the biggest dampers on summer excitement for students is the need to find a subletter. Students are poor and itching to travel but find themselves throttled by a signed contract.

Let’s face it. Landlords and rental agencies know students really need to be around campus for only nine months of the year. And to guarantee themselves summer profit, they require students sign yearlong leases. The practice of yearlong leases ends up being one of the biggest pains and scams college students face.

Some landlords and rental agencies even resort to the practice of refusing to accept subletters. For students strangled by a lease, there are a few options available that will make things a little easier, or even mean freedom.

Landlords are only as powerful as renters’ debts to them and their renters’ willingness to pay their debts. Despite all forms of intimidation, students have bargaining power in the form of unpaid rent. Renters have the right to withhold their rent. Lawsuits are expensive and time-consuming. No landlord or rental agency would prefer working things out in the courtroom to one-on-one terms.

Faced with not getting rent for the summer months or getting rent from a subletter, landlords and rental agencies would be smart to accept subletters.

Is rent too high during the summer compared with other rates? Renters should talk to their landlords or rental agencies and demand a lower price or threaten withholding rent. If that summer lease is too hard to unload, they should try to strike a deal with their landlords or rental agencies.

Throughout this quest to unload that summer lease, students must remember to document their steps. Keep paperwork and notes on what has been done or not done. Most importantly, they should remember that any fight with the landlord is probably worth evading the alternative of being forced to work the summer just to pay for a sublease.