STOCKTON (CBS13) — As college students are adjusting to the new school year, some are locked in leases for empty apartments.

Jayde Cayenne of Stockton says three months into last school year, her landlord near CSU Fullerton kept sending emails saying rent for this school year would go up if she didn’t lock in a lease then. She did, extending it through next July, but now she’s distance learning from Stockton and is on the hook for more than $3,000 for an apartment she isn’t using.

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“If I have to pay this lease it would leave me with absolutely nothing,” she said.

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The management company tells us they won’t let her out of the lease but agreed to slide it to start in October, but CSU Fullerton says there will be no in-person class until at least next year.

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Here’s some advice for college students stuck in leases for their empty apartments:

  • Apply for a grant through their school under the federal CARES act, which helps with pandemic emergency expenses.
  • Check if you can break your lease by paying a fee.
  • Ask if you can find a new tenant yourself to take over the lease.
  • Ask if you can slide the lease to a later date when in-person classes resume.
  • But first, start by writing a short letter with a polite request. Show some heart explaining how holding you to the lease could ruin you financially at the start of your adult life.