Yes. Your lease is a legal, binding contract independent of the University. You are responsible to fulfill the terms of your lease.

  • No, you cannot break a legal, binding contract.
  • Our recommendation is that students first discuss their situation with the landlord to see what options may be available (will they release the student from their lease? Do they permit subleasing? Reduced rent?).
  • A student can have their lease reviewed by Rutgers Student Legal Services.  They can schedule an appointment by emailing This review can let the student know whether or not per the lease agreement they have any legal basis to get out of contract.
  • Additional resources for communicating with the landlord, particularly if students are struggling with paying rent are:

You will only need to pay back your security deposit if you will be renewing your lease. However, if there are any damages or unpaid charges at the end of your lease you are still liable to the landlord for payment even if your security was used for rent.

  • You may have the option to find someone to sublet the space.  Check your lease to see if there is a clause regarding subletting. You would need to speak to your landlord- we suggest via text or email so that everything is in writing.  If in fact your lease does say that you can sublet with your landlord’s approval we suggest posting on Social Media closed groups (ex. Rutgers class of 2021, or your major).
  • Keep in mind that even if your landlord consents to you subletting, you as the tenant are still liable under the lease to the landlord.
  • You can email Student Legal Services, which is a free service for Rutgers students.  You as the student will need to email to request a Skype Meeting.  You will need to have your lease and any conversation you have had with your landlord pertaining to the termination of your lease.


Rutgers University Student Legal Services (RUSLS) provides eligible Rutgers University–New Brunswick students with professional legal advice and assistance at no cost by attorneys licensed to practice in the State of New Jersey. Their mission is to give students a place to go to have their questions answered so that their legal issues do not interfere with their academic pursuits.

Services Include:

  • *Legal Consultation
  • Notary Services
  • Attorney Referral
  • Community Outreach & Education
  • Pre-Law Advising

*Legal Consultation for matters that might involve the following: arrests; landlord/tenant; civil suits; municipal court; traffic violations; criminal/quasi-criminal; domestic violence; family matters; immigration/INS/DACA; business/intellectual property or any legal issue you or a family member may need assistance with.

If you have signed one lease with other people, you are all jointly and individually liable under the lease and responsible for the full rent payment. If one person walks away from the lease and full payment is not received by the landlord, you could all be taken to court and possibly evicted, as well as face a civil suit for damages filed against you. The one roommate that leaves is the person responsible for communicating with the landlord and finding someone to sublet to alleviate any burden to co-tenants

No, landlords cannot refuse to do repairs. Pandemic or not, your landlord is obligated to ensure your unit is habitable.

  • No, they are not required to do a COVID cleaning. They have a duty under New Jersey landlord-tenant law to maintain their rental property in a safe and decent condition. This duty applies to all leases, whether written or oral. The duty to keep rental units safe and decent is called the warranty of habitability.
  • You can be charged for a cleaning as long as the fee is a set amount and disclosed to you ahead of time, and you signed it, that should be perfectly legal. It is equivalent to them charging you the fee upfront.


Students that live in recognized fraternity/sorority housing are encouraged to communicate directly with their Chapter Advisor, the local House Corporation or the National House Corporation.


Here are some recommended conversation starters for students living together during this time:

Roommate Questions

  • If the roommate is a student of Rutgers University please encourage them to call Rutgers Student Health Services at 848-932-7402.  Rutgers Student Health Services will help them and will schedule an appointment to speak to a clinician, answer questions and arrange testing.
  • We would ask that roommate to:
    • self-isolate
    • wash their hands frequently
    • wear a mask;
    • and, if at all possible- it would be best to have them stay in the bedroom until the results of the test comes back (usually within two days).
  • If the roommate isn’t a student here at RU, they should be urged to go get testing at any urgent care center or Middlesex county.
  • If you are worried and not sure if you should get tested, call Hurtado Health center at 848-932-7402 and they will help you.
  • As for self-isolation, if at all possible it is a good idea to avoid sleeping in the same room. Frequent handwashing (20 seconds) is a must, as is wearing a mask while in the presence of someone who may be positive or waiting for their test to come back.

No, you are not legally obligated to disclose a health condition, but it is recommended to have open lines of communication with housemates and landlord to ensure proper safety measures are taken by others (isolating, social distancing, washing hands, etc.).

  • The Code of Conduct applies to students on and off-campus.
  • Any person(s) intentionally or recklessly endangering the health and safety of others may be subject to the student conduct process.
  • We ask that you abide by all social distancing guidelines when in public and adhere to state mandated guidelines and Executive Orders. Much of this will require you to monitor yourselves and your peers in your private residence —to demonstrate social responsibility and commitment to your community. We are confident you will follow the right course. For those who don’t, please understand the potential health risks associated with COVID-19.


  • The Rutgers Student Food Pantry is operational. You can find information on hours, scheduling an appointment and what’s available at
  • Dean of Students can assist with academic issues, financial aid and other circumstances. It is best to contact them through emails at Students will receive a same-day response.