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Charging 12 months rent for nine months occupancy

Photo source: KRCA

By John Troidl

The majority of off campus and some of the on-campus housing targeting UC Davis students requires applicants for residence to sign a 12 month lease.  When I first came to Davis and some students told me about this practice, I was astonished and asked them if they were sure this was true:  Maybe they misunderstood the terms of the standard lease because after all these were young people without a lot of experiences with real estate and leasing. 

They were correct, it turns out, and they told me about the "Summer Scramble" of trying to sublet their places (with/without landlord permission) to recoup at least some of the lost cash they spent for rent on apartments that they did not need for the Summer.  Unbelievable!

It is true that the University has tried numerous strategies to entice students to attend Summer Session and I applaud them for that.  However, only about a third of students undertake any type of Summer education at UC Davis.  The great majority of students do NOT attend Summer School at UCD.  So, the fact remains that the University does not provide nearly enough housing for students that meets their needs for on-campus, no car required, nine month occupancy housing.

In a time when combined student debt now exceeds the total sum of mortgage debt in the United States, this is unconscionable. The University and the off campus landlords who perpetuate this harmful business practice on students and their families should apologize to the students and their families and immediately begin to offer 9 month leases.  The University needs to "make a market" for 9 month housing for students so that the "norm in the dorm" becomes a more affordable 9 month lease rather than an overly expensive 12 month lease.  Not only would this be a huge economic benefit to students and their families but it might ultimately help raise the shockingly low alumni giving rate that the University suffers from.


sarah tetcher

I would be interested to see if you can show examples of anywhere in the United States where a 12 month lease is not standard practice.

Nancy Price

If the University does charge on-campus students or students in off-campus apartments that are master-leased by the university for the 12 months even though that student is only occupying for 9 months that's unfortunate in the first place.
Second, having run a national conference during the summer with over 150 attending at UCD a number of years ago, with attendees staying in UCD on-campus dorms, then is it fair to say there's a bit of double-dipping going on? Can we put a list of the UCD dorms and apartments and off-campus master-lease apartments that charge 12-month rates? At most campuses nationwide, huge income is from summer conferences.

sarah tetcher

No one assigns 12 month leases and then kicks people out for the summer. The article is referring to places that only allow 12 month leases, despite the fact that students don't want to live in Davis over the summer and must find a subletter or pay for the apartment to sit empty.

Roberta L. Millstein

Sarah wrote: "I would be interested to see if you can show examples of anywhere in the United States where a 12 month lease is not standard practice."

The dorms are only 9 months. I take it that one of the points of John's article is to say that all on-campus housing can and should be for 9 months too, for students who will only be taking classes for 9 months.

John Troidl

My comment, rather straightforwardly, is that the "norm for the dorm" is a nine month lease. Because UC Davis has abdicated responsibility for housing its students (particularly undergraduates), the students and their families are forced to sign 12 month leases in a high cost housing market in Davis, inflating their cost of attending college and also making things bad also for young adults and young families who are crowded out by the students desperate to find housing. There is a really, really simple fix to this problem for so many people: UCD... step up and house your students. :)

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