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Editorial: Student apartment complexes should ease up on rent during a pandemic

There was an uproar on social media during the summer of 2020 when people were receiving eviction notices after they had been advised to quarantine during the pandemic. One thing many landlords failed to realize was that quarantining meant less job opportunities, and less job opportunities meant financial dead-ends.

Unfortunately, eviction during a pandemic isn’t just a problem in the “real world” but something that students living in student apartment complexes are suffering through too.

During the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021 it is possible for a student living in VSU’s Student Quarters to be evicted after a 25-day notice to get the rest of the debt paid off. Those who do not or cannot comply with these terms will be evicted and sentenced to a court hearing with Lowndes County.

Under regular circumstances, this is very appropriate. However, because of the financial situations that this pandemic has put a lot of students through, the situation of late rent payments should be handled differently. Not to mention, the late fees added to original rent due should be taken away altogether.

According to Market Watch, “The economy shed a record 22.2 million jobs in March and April after large swaths of the U.S. were shut down to curb the spread of Covid-19, according the Labor Department’s survey of business establishments. The survey is considered the most accurate measure of U.S. employment.”

As of Aug. 7, Market Watch says the U.S. has only regained 42% of the 22 million jobs lost in the pandemic.

A number of jobs lost belonged to college students. Jobs such as waiting tables, babysitting, working as a cashier or in fast food are just a handful of opportunities that students lost.

“My hours continue to fluctuate because my job does not necessarily have hours to give to employees due to the pandemic,” Aarian Causey, a senior psychology major said. “Therefore, I had to get another job to make sure I’m able to pay rent.”

The pandemic has been hard on everyone, students especially. Holding a full-time position as a student while job hunting, trying to keep food on the table and keep up with rent can be nearly impossible for some. It is important that student apartment complexes are aware of this situation and make decisions accordingly.

Some feel that it is inappropriate to evict students during this time.

“I think it’s extremely cruel for them to do so (evict) during these times,” Causey said. “Especially towards students who are trying to put themselves through college.”

Students should be able to communicate with apartment complexes and receive an extended time frame to get their rent paid in full. A part of working with VSU students is to understand that we are constantly trying and putting in effort to do one thing— be successful. There is already so much pressure being put on students constantly and worrying about where they will sleep at night should not be a part of that stress. A student’s priority first should be school and their education. VSU students come to Valdosta to be educated and receive their degree, not be put in financial crises.

In the event that student apartment complexes may not ease up on late fees or extended time to pay rent, students will be forced to either move to campus or back home and continue remotely. In this situation, student apartment complexes could lose a lot of business in the long run.

This editorial reflects the general opinion of The Spectator staff.

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