Breaking UC Rent

With COVID-19 numbers rising, many colleges have decided to continue online education for the upcoming quarter/semester. This means students no longer require housing near campus. Thousands of students have been attempting to exit their leases for months, but landlords are continuing to exploit students for rent for apartments that cannot be filled.
Our families have been impacted by unemployment and are already struggling to pay rent or mortgage at home. It’s worse for students who support themselves. Real estate companies are taking advantage of vulnerable students by threatening damage to credit scores and legal action.
While this page is primarily focused on the efforts of UCR students, we are collaborating with other UC and CSU students in order to eventually form a California coalition. We’d love to hear your story and collaborate on any efforts. Don’t hesitate to reach out- contact us below.


1- Public Awareness and Support

The first step for any successful movement is to create awareness of the problem and gain support from the public.

a. Students are looking to bring media attention to this issue through local news outlets.

b. Students are also encouraging their campus leadership to stand up in support of their students.

2- Lease Leniency

Riverside City Council Member Andy Melendrez has taken charge and is working to negotiate on behalf of students to reach a mutually beneficial agreement between corporate-level real-estate management and students.


Ideally, students would be released from all rent obligations after paying a small lump-sum. Students should not be required to find a replacement tenant; this is an unreasonable request in the midst of a pandemic.

3- Keep fighting

There isn’t just one policy solution to end this problem. There is a massive power disparity between property owners and renters. A massive overhaul of the California Civil Code will likely be required to fix the structural inequality that exists. Renter’s rights are important now and will continue to be important in the future. Keep fighting for what’s right.

About Us

Due to the pandemic, our classes for the next semester are being held online, yet students across the country are trapped in off campus leases regardless of whether they chose to stay there. Campus housing is expensive – and the students most eager to save money on their educational expenses find housing off campus. Nonetheless, this specific population of responsible American students finds itself committed to pay rent for empty apartments. Our families are already impacted economically with lost wages – and having to pay for unutilized housing undermines our livelihood. We cannot afford to pay for an empty apartment when we are already struggling to pay rent or mortgage at home.

This situation is not unique to just UC Riverside students. The latest census data indicates that 25% of college students reside in off-campus housing (not with family). This amounts to well over 3 million students that may be forced by large real estate corporations to pay for leases, while these corporations take subsidies and bailouts from the government and get to pause their payments with their banks.

Many students can no longer afford rent and real estate companies are taking advantage of vulnerable students by threatening damage to credit scores and legal action. Help students fight exploitation. Scroll down to see how you can help!

Recent Updates

September - 11

Vice-Chancellor Haynes releases a letter of support for students trapped in their leases. This letter of support also contained resources for students looking for help.

September - 10

Riverside Legal Aid attorney, Ernie Reguly discusses options for students stuck in their leases in a joint zoom call with over 10 students. Students were also able to meet with organization Young Invincibles. We plan on teaming up with Young Invincibles for social media campaigns alongside a larger coalition of California students.

August - 26

Follow-up meeting with campus leadership to discuss options and ways that UCR can support students impacted by the leasing crisis. This included potentially releasing a letter of support.

August - 19

UCR held an “Off-Campus Housing Meeting” in which UCR Housing Faculty, Legal counsel, government and student representatives reviewed issues surrounding this student crisis. Students were able to voice all primary concerns and potential solutions. UCR is hoping to put out a letter of support alongside government officials soon.

August - 14

The councilman is still working on negotiations. He has mentioned that they are slowly coming to terms and we are making good progress. Depending on your apartment complex, we can provide specific updates. Contact us for more details!

August - 04

Students met with UCR administration/ Campus leadership to discuss the issue and how UCR can support students. Students and staff are working on expanding support for students during this time. The legal services page is linked here.


Main Organizer: Sana Jaffery
Phone: (669) 444-0683