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Are you a student having problems related to off-campus living? Potential problems might include:

  • Maintenance concerns or other complaints about your housing
  • Difficulty contacting or talking with your landlord about concerns
  • Conflict with roommates making your living arrangement uncomfortable
  • Trouble understanding the terms of your lease agreement and your rights and responsibilities as a tenant
  • Stress in finding off-campus housing or roommates
  • Concern with other areas of the transition process to off-campus living, such as spending strategies, affording groceries, making meals, finding transportation to campus, etc.

Please contact our office to see what we can do to help! Visit: The Union 205 Monday ‑ Friday, 8:00 a.m. ‑ 5:00 p.m., email us at, or call us at (540) 568-6071!

Another issue that our office would like you to be aware of is sexual harassment in housing. The Department of Justice has an initiative focused on helping residents or applicants of housing who may have experienced sex discrimination under the Fair Housing Act in the form of sexual harassment. Below is some information on what sexual harassment in housing might look like and behaviors that could indicate this harassment:

What does sexual harassment in housing look like?

Who might be a victim?

  • Housing Applicants
  • Tenants
  • Housing Benefit Applicants or Recipients
  • Loan Applicants or Recipients

 Who might be a harasser?

  • Landlords
  • Building or property managers
  • Maintenance workers
  • Housing authority employees
  • Building security guards
  • Loan officers

What are typical behaviors that might indicate sexual harassment in housing?

  • Commenting on the victim’s body or looks
  • Sending sexually suggestive text messages to the victim
  • Lurking or spying on the victim
  • Exposing self to the victim, showing the victim pornography, talking about set with the victim
  • Touching the victim without consent
  • Conditioning certain housing benefits, for example, renting to the victim, making repairs, excusing a late rent payment on the receipt of sexual favors, including engaging in sexual acts and taking pictures of the victim
  • Threatening to evict the victim if they do not engage in sexual acts or favors

If you have experienced sexual harassment in housing, you can contact the Department of Justice to report this by filling out this form or by calling the Sexual Harassment in Housing Initiative at 1-844-380-6178.

For more information on sexual harassment in housing, you can view/download the flyers below:

Sometimes, even with pre-planning and taking your time before you sign a lease, situations arise that make it impossible to adhere to the terms of the lease agreement.

Examples of reasons for wanting to break a lease include medical emergencies requiring a student to return home from JMU, being released from JMU for academic or other reasons, or transferring to a different school. You might be unable to live with your current roommates or work out conflict and would prefer to leave your current lease to move to a different housing location.

No matter the reason, leases are legally binding agreements with no early-out clause despite these unforeseen circumstances. The only way to get out of a lease is to find someone to take over your lease through the subletting or re-letting processes. There are different policies at each apartment complex or rental agency regarding lease takeovers. Contact your landlord or property management company first to discuss any specific rules or regulations.

If you can sublease/re-let, you will need to advertise your available unit to other students. Contact our office to learn more about the available options for advertising, including through our partner listings website. 

While most property managers and landlords will have specific forms you will need to fill out if you’re planning on subleasing, if they do not, we recommend using your own Subleasing Agreement Form to ensure everything is in writing.

Conflict is inevitable in any close relationship, but it can often be hard to know how to navigate, and it can certainly make a living situation uncomfortable if it arises with roommates. If you are having a conflict with your roommates, visit us or contact our office by phone or email to schedule a meeting with our Assistant Director to chat through your concerns. We'll help you identify resources that could help the situation, such as roommate mediation or restorative justice through the Office of Student Accountability and Restorative Practices at JMU.

Off-campus living can, at times, involve conflict with a landlord. These conflicts can be related to misunderstanding the terms and conditions of a lease, maintenance issues, safety concerns, or disagreements related to payments or responsibilities.

Off-Campus Life can provide you with some assistance related to navigating these conflicts and knowing what steps to take should your landlord violate your lease. For help with these concerns, please contact our office by phone, email, or in person to schedule a meeting with the Assistant Director of Off-Campus Life. You can also check out these links for more information on addressing the conflict:

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