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Students struggle with rent payments during pandemic

 LCC student Teresa Bissonette moved home with her parents because of the pandemic.
LCC student Teresa Bissonette moved home with her parents because of the pandemic. (WILX)
Published: Apr. 8, 2020 at 7:16 PM EDT
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Many students have already moved out and returned home to their parents during the pandemic, but are still expected to pay rent at their off-campus apartments. It's proving to be a huge problem for some who say they just don't have the money.

Like many students across the state, as classes moved online Lansing Community College student Teresa Bissonette moved back home.

"I just feel a lot safer here," said Bissonette.

But rent at her off-campus apartment is still due.

"I wake up every morning with a gut-wrenching feeling of like, how am I going to pay for this?" said Bissonette.

Bissonette say she can no longer work her babysitting job and won't be getting the federal stimulus check. She tried to work things out with her property manager but is still at a loss for what to do.

"I just wish they were more understanding of it or willing to listen instead of being like 'congrats rent is due April 1 pay it online," said Bissonette.

Rawley Van Fossen, Executive Director of the Capital Area Housing Partnership says when considering options, the leasing agreement is key.

"What guides whether or not rent should or shouldn't be paid is your lease. So it's important to make sure that you have a copy of your lease on hand. If you are trying to get out of your lease early there may be some provisions on how to do that," said Van Fossen

Parents like Michael Isenberg, whose son also goes to Lansing Community College says he too has been trying to work things out with his leasing office to no avail.

"He's not at his apartment and we're still paying the lease and everybody else is doing the same thing and it just doesn't seem right to me," said Isenberg. "The question that we're asking is why are we paying for something that we're not able to utilize?"

Van Fossen suggests anyone with concerns about their housing reach out to the Capital Area Housing Partnership for counseling and guidance.

For resources on COVID-19 relief for college students click here.

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