By Velena Jones

DAVIS (CBS 13) — Some students at UC Davis could be forced to live in the college town when school starts next month, even though classes are being held online. While that’s good news for businesses that have been left empty, it’s turning into a burden for many students.

“It’s like there is no way out,” said UC Davis student Kanika Sharma. “I just don’t see any point in paying for a lease if I’m not going to be living there.”

Last quarter Sharma spent $3,600 in rent while her apartment was vacant. Other students believe landlords should be more understanding.

“We don’t make money to pay for this, so it’s hard. I don’t think they need it as much as we do,” said student Brandon Jamison.

Students living on-campus will be able to cancel their housing and receive a full refund, according to the university.

But despite efforts from the university and the City of Davis to work with private landlords, a majority of students renting off-campus will not be able to cancel their lease without a fine. Councilmember Dan Carson said the city has no legal right to order cancellations of leases.

“In this situation, you put yourself at risk if you say ‘Alright, you’re off the hook you don’t have to pay your landlord the next year of rent’ that puts our taxpayers at risk of having to pick up the bill and that could be millions of dollars per month,” said Carson.

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UC Davis has expanded its financial aid package for qualifying students to help. They are also providing more legal resources for students. The city is looking at ways to match students who lose a roommate, so they will not have to front the entire cost of the rent. Davis is also providing resources online to help students and the greater community.

“We really understand this is not the fault of the students, it’s not the fault of the landlords, it’s just a terrible situation we are all caught in and we are doing everything we can to help,” said Carson.

More students mean more business for the college town that has struggled since students went to online courses during the spring quarter. Carson believes the city’s economy will not see significant increases until students are fully back on campus and the rest of the city sees more of a sense of normalcy.

Velena Jones

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