UF students: It's 'morally wrong' for landlords to charge full rent in these 'trying times'

The University of Florida urged students to return home and leave campus because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Now, many students are petitioning off-campus housing complexes to provide "rent relief."

University of Florida students are petitioning off-campus housing complexes for rent relief after the university urged students to return home during the coronavirus pandemic.

The petition, which has more than 7,000 signatures, calls for landlords to be “proven morally wrong for not helping students” with rent. 

“Due to COVID-19, these landlords have refused to offer any rent relief and/ or changes to leases and lease renewals to University of Florida students after the University told us to leave Gainesville and go HOME,” petition author Sarah Lobo wrote. 

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The author also cited economic uncertainty as reasons for rent relief. 

“The loss of student’s jobs, the economic stress that families have been put under, and the underlying uncertainties that lie ahead have made our lives turn upside down,” Lobo added. “We, as students, need help financially to get through the next couple of months. Our families need your help.”

Lobo said without rent relief, students would violate leases and “could possibly be taken to court.” 

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The petition also includes a list of more than 100 apartment complexes and their management companies in the Gainesville, Florida area that are allegedly not offering any form of rent relief. 

Lobo, who recently lost her job as a volleyball coach because of the virus, told The Tampa Bay Times that the apartment complexes “need to do the right thing.” 

“Morally, I think they need to do the right thing and understand if it wasn’t for UF and its students, they wouldn’t even exist,” Lobo said. 

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