Rental obligations pose issue for seniors

Where have the last four years gone?

Imagine being a graduating senior, all classes completed, with nowhere to live or a lease that ends months after your graduation.

What is one to do?

Graduating seniors all over the country have to ask themselves these questions day-in and day-out when the graduation clock begins to tick and the 12-month-lease blues begin.

“I couldn’t tell you how many times students call, when it is close to graduation, asking if there is any way they could terminate their lease early because they want to leave for the summer,” said Passion Tolson, 23, leasing manager at Campus Lodge Apartments. “Either you stay and pay or leave…and pay.”

Having the desire to leave, but the responsibility to stay is a dilemma many seniors face, but not all have the problem of the graduation-glory-day’s gloom.

“I used to live on campus, but for my senior year I moved back home. My apartment in Buckhead was way too much money,” said Andrea Moore, 21, a senior fashion design & merchandising student at Clark-Atlanta University.

“Now I am going to study abroad in London for my last semester, and I am so glad I do not have to worry about a lease when I come back for graduation.”

The Webster’s Universal College Dictionary defines sublease as a lease granted to another person by the lessee of a property.

But in less complicated terms, it is handing over your credit and faith to an individual you may or may not trust.

Although subleasing is an option at most housing complexes, actually finding a reliable person to sublease is as challenging as terminating a lease.

Nivia Wilcox, the leasing manager at College Club Apartments, said subleasing is risky.

“That is why it is so important that you select someone who is responsible and can ensure a smooth transition,” she said.

Not only are you signing over your apartment, but you are also signing over a huge responsibility.

“I can’t trust anyone to pay rent, so I do not want to bother with a sublease, so I am moving in with my friend,” said Diana Scott, 21, a psychology major at Spelman College.




For those students who do not have to worry about housing contracts and leases, choosing where to live is the second biggest decision after choosing a major.

Many students, who have been independent for four years or more, do not have the “back-home-with-mom” option; therefore, where one decides to live is often a choice based on short-term goals and job placement.

“I plan on moving to New York soon,” said Adrienne Cheatham, 23, a graduating public relations student from Chicago. “I kind of like Florida, so I want to get my work experience here before I move back up north.”

On the other hand, some students are not too keen on the idea of staying in Florida.

Alia Lacey, a 22-year-old graduating senior from Miami said she is ready to get out of Tallahassee.

“I am going to go back home for a little while but by March, I will have moved to New York,” Lacey said. “That is all after visiting first to find a job.”

Contact Chinaka Young at