University Gateway Lease Waived/Rent Waived/Rent Reduced/Financial Relief due to COVID-19
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University Gateway by Peak Campus is a convenient choice for USC students for off-campus housing. Located right across the street from the entrance to USC, decent price, many amenities, and more. However, it is no surprise that COVID-19 created a lot of financial difficulties for the students of USC. Many students have been forced to return home across the world. Despite the fact that students are trying to sustain themselves during summer as it is, University Gateway is making it nearly impossible for students to find a financially sustainable way to live as they are stuck in their leases. Let it be known, many of these students are out-of-state and even international students. There are obvious complications with the ability to travel right now and even threats from our government to prevent International students from staying to continue their education. Students are juggling their personal health, safety, financial stability, and education during these times.
University Gateway, though not controlled by USC, is home to many USC students, but they have not released a SINGLE email to their residents about future plans and safety measures they are going to take. Their COVID-19 updates on the site were last updated on May 8, 2020. As far as we know, these amenities are probably not even available to those who will live there next semester. In fact, while USC Housing is making an effort to provide single living spaces to social distance, the rooms will continue to be in full capacity. Emails are sent to different students with different information, like one that provided 13 days ago with little to no hope. The email generalized “working on solutions” fo residents from recent news from USC. ONLY to email another student, “We are operating as before.” Communication with the service is slow and difficult to reach (COVID is definitely a factor, but it was bad before the shutdown). There is just silence all around.
The fear that surrounds COVID is real. The safety of students and employees that will be jeopardized is real. Many students who were proactive and hopeful are now being punished by the binding to the lease. The students from the last school year were kicked out from their apartments during the first wave of COVID, but were still bound to the lease and expected to pay the full price. There was no relief from Gateway in any form even though the City of Los Angeles provided renter's protection. These are the Early Termination agreement:
"Resident acknowledges there is no right to early termination of the Lease Contract and Resident will not be released from this Lease Contract for any reason, including, but not limited to, voluntary or involuntary school withdrawal or transfer, voluntary or involuntary job transfer, marriage, separation, divorce, reconciliation, loss of Permitted Occupants, loss of employment, bad health, or property purchase. However, residents may have the right under California law to terminate the Lease Contract in certain situations involving family violence, human trafficking, sexual assault, military service, elder or dependent adult abuse or stalking by providing the required proof per state law and Peak Campus’ policy. In the event of Resident’s death, all Rent, charges, removal and storage costs, and damages to the Premises are due until the Premises are vacated."
In other words, COVID-19 is not a reason for a lease to end, involuntary job transfer (or in this case, involuntary moving back home wherever that may be), loss of employment, and more-- all of which are heavily impacting students. Even if a student dies from COVID, all payments are due until they are vacated. The ONLY way for students to actually get out of the lease for Gateway is to find someone to take over, but there are
1. students who are back at their homes (out of the city/out of state/out of the country)
2. A great financial impact on students and guarantors that may inhibit their ability to have the 2 months worth of payment necessary (USC is also increasing their tuition by 3.5%)
3. the very small number of students who are searching for a place to live (many who already had a place before because they were proactive like many of us were OR there is no need to live near campus and waste money if all classes are online OR are taking a Leave of Absence).
Students are desperately trying to find people to sublet/sublease/take over their lease on Facebook pages/groups, Reddit, Craigslist, and more. Please sign this petition to help students from USC off-campus housing out of their lease, waive the rent, or reduce due to COVID-19. Stay safe everyone.
Contact information for University Gateway:
Really, really unhelpful COVID response:
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