Seniors living off campus in Campus Hill or Ethos spaces had to make the decision about whether to return to their homes during the coronavirus pandemic, or continue living in their rented off-campus housing.
Maggie Gross, ‘20, said she still has a lease with Campus Hill, but chose to go home to quarantine. This was decided before Lehigh announced that it would go online for the rest of the semester.
Remi Ziff, ‘20, said she also went home instead of staying in her leased apartment.
Both Ziff and Gross lived in Campus Hill apartments and Ethos houses during their time at Lehigh. After they moved their personal belongings out, Ziff and Gross asked Campus Hill if they could be compensated because their senior year was cut short.
“We asked if we could get money back from May to August but, realistically, it was a sunk cost anyway,” Gross said. “If this coronavirus thing didn’t happen, we would have to pay it anyway, so it was an unreasonable request. We could live there if we wanted to — we are just making the decision not to. It sucks, but there is nothing we can really do about it.”
Ziff said she had a similar experience and was not upset when Campus Hill told her they could not give her any money.
“I think it’s reasonable,” Ziff said. “Landlords have to pay to keep operations going, and we signed a contract going in, and I think it’s fair.”
Gifford Duncan, ‘20, worked for Campus Hill during her junior and senior year. Duncan said Campus Hill did not ask anyone to move out once Lehigh went online, and leases vary from house to house — some going from May 2019 to May 2020, while others stretch into the summer and August.
Campus Hill has an average rent of $900/month across their properties, Duncan said. Both Ziff and Gross will be losing around $3000-$4000 each, they said.
“(Campus Hill) is pretty flexible,” Duncan said. “They can be short-term (leases), and it changes from house to house.”
Because Campus Hill did not ask anyone to move out, some seniors remained in Bethlehem to finish out their leases.
Ziff said she enjoyed her experience with Campus Hill more than she did with Ethos, because she lived in close proximity to all of her friends. She lived in the same apartment complex as her friend group, and said she found Campus Hill helpful when her apartment was broken into over winter break.
“Campus Hill management was awesome and helped us figure everything out,” Ziff said. “They were very much a resource and always checking in on us.”
Gross, meanwhile, said she recommends Ethos over Campus Hill. She said the rent was cheaper, and the houses came with furniture, which saved money.
Both Ziff and Gross agreed the management was good across both companies.
Ethos was not available to comment on the matter at this time.