Hundreds of Penn State students, parents petition for rent relief

"Based on the fact that our children are not living at Penn State right now, can you cut us some kind of break just out of fairness and compassion?”

  • Min Xian/WPSU

 

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(State College) — Mark Naidoff’s daughter is a senior at Penn State. Like most students, she hasn’t returned to her downtown apartment since spring break ended, as the university canceled in-person classes for the rest of the semester. 

But in a letter, her landlord, Associated Realty Property Management, or ARPM, told tenants full payments for April are expected and they are more than welcome to return to their apartments, even though that’s strongly discouraged by the university and state and federal governments.

Naidoff and two other parents, Robin Kusner and Sharon Mayer, started a petition for rent relief.

He said he understands it’s a tough situation for everybody and doesn’t expect major concessions from landlords.

“But based on the fact that our children are not living at Penn State right now, can you cut us some kind of break just out of fairness and compassion?” he said.

Naidoff said the relief could take many forms. He said some landlords are currently working with their tenants, offering either forgiveness of one month’s rent or an overall reduction in rates.

“We’re by no means talking about reneging our legal obligation,” Naidoff said. “This is really about, ‘Hey, if you can afford to help some people who are hurting right now, that would be great.’”

So far, over one thousand parents have signed the petition and nearly two hundred students have done the same on a similar petition. Naidoff said he plans to send the petition to the governor and elected officials.

ARPM could not be immediately reached for comment.

In an open letter, Damon Sims, Penn State’s Vice President for Student Affairs, urged students “who are contemplating a return to Centre County and State College reconsider that choice.”

The state Supreme Court has halted evictions and foreclosures statewide until at least April 3.

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