The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

Students leave school, forced to pay rent for empty apartments

Due to the pandemic, some college students have had to face the harsh reality of suddenly becoming unemployed and forced to move back home—having to say goodbye to their apartment, but not to their lease.

Mass amounts of City College students left town to self-isolate with their families when their classes moved online. Now, they’re stuck with the burden of paying rent for spaces they cannot reasonably continue living in as there are limited options for students to exit their leases. 

The coronavirus pandemic has caused high unemployment rates, leaving many struggling to pay rent. 

City College student Chaya Daffner moved back to Oakland, California to self-isolate with her family. 

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Staying in Santa Barbara “didn’t seem feasible or safe,” said Daffner, as it would be difficult for her to get the things she needs on her own.  She also said that it would be difficult to fight the temptation to hang out with her friends who were in the area.

Milla Corajoria, also a student at City College, regularly works two jobs during the school year to afford to pay her rent. 

“The only way I was allowed to go to Santa Barbara City College was if I paid my own rent,” Corajoria said. 

Although student relief programs have been put in place, such as the SBCC Foundation and CARES Act emergency grants, the toughest obstacle is dealing with management companies that are not being very helpful. Some students have dealt with landlords that are aggressive and defensive towards any student inquiries.

“I feel like there could be a happy medium; this isn’t the right time to be selfish,” Daffner said. 

City College student Kiley McClure was managing to fulfill her rent payments with both her paycheck and tips, but when COVID-19 hit,  she reached out to her building management asking for help and received no response.

“I don’t think they [property management] care that much,” Corajoria said. 

Icon Apartments in Isla Vista stated in an email that they are still open to “working with residents and their families by setting up payment plans,” to relieve some of the financial burdens, but during a time where many are unemployed or losing income, finding the funds to pay rent for an unoccupied space is challenging.

Another option for students is to sublet their living space; McClure is one of the lucky students who managed to find a sublessee.

“I found a solution myself and put someone else in my spot so I could get out of my expensive lease,” McClure said.

The only source of income she has at the moment is her unemployment check, which she has yet to receive.

“I don’t know what I would be doing right now if I was stuck in that spot still,” she said. 

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