Colorado students struggling with lease agreements during pandemic

DENVER (KDVR) — Many college students are facing the reality of not being able to head back to campus for face-to-face classes. Now, some are fighting with landlords over whether they have the right to get out of their lease.

Young tenants and their parents who signed leases before the onset of the pandemic are finding themselves in an awkward position now that many classes have been canceled due to public health concerns.  

A pandemic addendum can provide an exception if  classes are canceled but there can be confusion over exactly how it is applied.

Renters’ rights attorney Jacob Eppler tells the Problem Solvers communication and a mutual understanding of the agreement is key to preventing issues between landlords and tenants. In some cases, disagreements can end up in court.

“If it is something that’s ambiguous in the contract, then it would be construed against the drafter, which is traditionally usually the landlord,” he said.

Eppler says this is general advice and it is important to remember every contract dispute is different.  

“I always try to advocate for having a cooperative solution with the other side and trying to talk to them about problem solving,” he said.

Legal experts tell FOX31 it is important to consider the “what ifs” before signing any contract.

If there are concerns, ask for another one that spells out in detail exactly what will happen if you feel you need to break the agreement.

For more information on the rights of tenants and landlords, visit the state’s website.