UCF students stuck in off-campus leases still looking for answers

University of Central Florida students are still having trouble getting out of their off-campus leases and say they are struggling to pay rent.

UCF Student Pricilla Orena rents from an off-campus student housing complex affiliated with UCF, Mercury 3100. She left campus when classes went online and she is staying with family in Tampa. She's struggling to pay rent and is unable to get out of her off-campus lease. 

"A lot of us, our college jobs are gone," Orena said. "We're expected to pay rent on time without any deferrals or anything." 

Sara Goldstein is a graduate student who also went back to her permanent home. Goldstein is renting at another off-campus housing unit, The Retreat at Orlando. She lost her waitressing job and wasn't able to pay April rent and is worried about what's next. 

"May 1 is quickly approaching and I still don't have the money and it's really worrisome," said Goldstein. 

The University of Central Florida advised their students to go back to their permanent homes when classes were moved online. The school refunded students who lived on-campus. UCF sent a letter to off-campus managers asking them to consider letting students end their leases early and work on payment plans with them. Representative Anna Eskamani said she reached out to 20 off-campus housing complexes requesting they help students. 

"Is it right to make students have to pay rent to an empty apartment?" Rep. Eskamani said. 

Two weeks ago, Rep. Eskamani and Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith asked Gov. DeSantis for an executive order that would let college students end their leases early. Rep. Eskamani said she spoke with the governor's office this week. 

"They did not give us a confirmation on what they would do, but they know the issue and we’re hopeful the governor will take action," Rep. Eskamani said. 

However, students are worried about being evicted in the future if help doesn't come soon.  

"I didn’t think I would be graduating college and have to worry about an eviction when I apply for jobs," Priscilla said.  "It’s definitely terrifying." 

FOX 35 Orlando reached out to Mercury 3100 and The Retreat at Orlando but did not get a response back Thursday night.