When South Campus Commons at the University of Maryland, College Park, canceled its apartment leases in March, Julia Kane called it “the right thing to do” during the pandemic.
By June, the university also gave students the option to cancel their fall housing agreements without penalty. But then South Campus Commons and The Courtyards, the public-private apartments owned by the Maryland Economic Development Corporation, told students they were legally bound to their leases.
Capstone On-Campus Management, the entity hired to manage the apartments, told 3,000 students with leases their only options were to re-lease to another student, to pay and live on-campus, or to pay and live at home, Kane said. Kane, a senior studying marketing and operations management and business analytics, managed to cancel her lease cost-free, but it only happened after days of pressure from her father, who is an attorney.
“When I signed this lease back in