Off-Campus Housing: COVID-19 Resources

As the University of Maryland, Baltimore prepares for the fall 2020 semester, UMB’s Division of Student Affairs provides this guidance to students regarding off-campus housing during COVID-19.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Should I sign a lease now for the 2020-2021 academic year?

Students are advised to exercise caution before entering a lease due to uncertainties regarding the start of in-person classes and other on-campus academic experiences due to COVID-19. Individuals uncertain about committing to a 12-month lease should carefully consider the consequences of a year-long contract at this time of uncertainty. If a student decides they wish to pursue off-campus housing, they should consider asking the following questions of the landlord/property management company:

  • What are your lease and cancellation policies?
  • Do you have a pause/freeze policy?
  • Can you offer a flexible lease option in case my campus switches to virtual classes?
  • What is your application fee?
  • Is there an option for a short-term lease? What is the length of a short-term lease?
  • What fees are assessed if a lease is breached?
  • What are you doing to clean and sanitize in between tenants?
  • Can apartments be placed on hold? Are there options to defer the deposit for a later date?
  • How much money would I forfeit by not fulfilling my lease?
  • What is the security deposit?
  • How long can I hold an apartment? Is a payment or deposit required?
  • Do you have a satisfaction guarantee policy? For example, can I break the lease within 30 days without penalty if I’m not happy?
  • Do you have any special deals right now for students? For example, one-month free rent with proof of student status.
  • What charges will I be responsible for if I cannot fulfill my lease due to COVID-19? For example, needing to move out due to becoming ill and/or hospitalized.
  • How much advance notice do I need to provide the landlord/agent if I choose not to move to Baltimore or my designated location?

Remember: A lease is a legally binding document. Therefore, when you sign a lease you are agreeing to abide by all terms and conditions. Ultimately, it is your responsibility to understand what can happen if you end up not meeting the terms of the lease.

What are my chances of finding housing in Baltimore for the fall semester?

The University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) offers two housing options on campus: Fayette Square and Pascault Row. For additional information, please visit

The University cannot not say for certain what will happen in the future.  Currently, there has been no noticeable shortage of rental units in the Baltimore area due to COVID-19. This suggests that students will be able to find apartments at the start of the fall 2020 semester and throughout the academic year. Students may also be able to find subleases.

Students are urged to prioritize living arrangements that promote their health and safety, which includes:

  • Scheduling virtual tours instead of visiting properties in-person.
  • Students who plan to live with roommates:
    • Determine how rent and utility bills will be paid if someone needs to move out early.
    • Discuss plans if someone in the residence contracts COVID-19 symptoms or is diagnosed with COVID-19. Per CDC guidelines, individuals with COVID-19 symptoms and their roommates will need to self-isolate and reduce their use of shared spaces.
  • Students who are experiencing symptoms of, believe they have been exposed to, or have been diagnosed with COVID-19 should contact their health care provider and the UMB Student Health Center at 667-214-1899 to receive guidance. Students should also contact their School’s Student Affairs Dean to receive support.