Council members look into offering cancellation option for rental leases

Unfortunately for Hoshal, he could still have to front the bill for it.

The end of the semester brings with it the annual stress-induced period of students looking for a place to live for the summer or trying to get out of their current living situation.

“It’s kind of frustrating right now,” Hoshal said. “There aren’t a lot of people who are looking to sublease a place for only a few months.”

Two East Lansing City Council members have shown interest in trying to eliminate the frustration.

Ruth Beier and Kathleen Boyle have had preliminary talks with ASMSU, MSU’s undergraduate student government, about what a new housing ordinance addressing 12-month leases could mean.

For students who sign leases early, the idea could provide a clause in their lease allowing them to opt out of the contract for a small fee, should they decide to opt out by a certain day.

Although the proposed ordinance is still in preliminary stages, Beier and Boyle both said they would be interested in moving it forward if there is interest.

“The ordinance would say you can cancel a lease if you signed it way in advance,” Boyle said. “The cancellation fee would be modest.”

Beier said the ordinance could protect students who are moving off campus for the first time.

“If they (first-time off-campus residents) want to live off campus next year, they have to get a lease in October,” she said. “Most of them have only been in town for a month and don’t know the area.”

Beier said the rental companies aren’t to blame for the early signing date, but still thinks students can run into difficult situations when deciding where to live a year before they live there.

“They aren’t at fault here, the demand is there,” she said. “It’s a great example of a market working perfectly.”

Matt Hagan, an agent at Hagan Realty, said he would prefer if local government stayed out of the rental business.

“I’m in favor of having no government restrictions to determine when I can and can’t rent my property,” he said. “We’ve had very, very few issues with people trying to break leases.”

Graduate student Destinee Sadler has been trying to sublease her four-bedroom, four-bathroom apartment in Block 36 near Chandler Crossings since January.

“It’s been tedious,” she said. “People haven’t been sure if they are staying in East Lansing, and that has caused me to lower my price a few times.”

Sadler said being able to opt out of her lease would save her a lot of stress.

“I would prefer to just opt out,” she said. “On a scale of one to 10, I would say my stress level is at an eight right now.”

Staff writer Kary Askew Garcia contributed to this report.

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