Student apartment complexes take advantage of students and the manipulation needs to stop. An era of honest communication, transparency and adequate housing conditions has been yearned for far too long.
With new apartment complexes built each year and fresh residents hunting for their next home, it is necessary to discuss the disgusting behavior off-campus housing continues to enact.
Students looking for off-campus housing for the first time generally never lived without supervision and are inexperienced on what to look for in lodging. Students are an easy target for apartment complexes to swindle, and management knows that.
Additionally, San Marcos’ lack of landlord-tenant association further alleviates the avenues available for students to find, negotiate and sign favorable leases.
Due to San Marcos’ increasing population, many complexes are constructed quickly in order to house the incoming residents. With promises of luxury and convenience, students quickly sign attractive offers and later pay the consequences.
In late 2017, Pointe San Marcos, 417 N. Comanche St., delayed move-in dates multiple times, leaving hundreds of students misplaced and searching for temporary housing. Last September, Haven on Thorpe Lane, 1351 Thorpe Lane, left hundreds practically homeless after a construction delay and has repeatedly withheld information from students.
Although Haven and Vie Lofts provided temporary housing for the displaced students, their original incompetence should not be forgotten and forgiveness should not be easily bought with temporary fixes.
Signing a lease is a massive commitment for the already strenuous lives of a college student—the last thing complexes should be promising is a home if they are not fully constructed.
Honest communication could have easily prevented these over-strained housing commitments; however, honesty appears to be the most difficult hurdle to clear.
The City of San Marcos requires apartments to receive a Temporary Certificate of Occupancy, which is valid for 90 days, in order to place students in units that are not fully constructed. Haven made promises to move in tenants prior to obtaining this certification.
Regardless of what these predominately student-occupied complexes claim, it is alarmingly clear the students’ wellbeing is the last thing on their priority list. Not only are these complexes unprepared and untrustworthy, they also scam the community with their price points.
It can be extremely difficult for self-supporting students to find affordable housing in this ever-expanding city. Apartment complexes commonly charge upward of $500-600 per bedroom in a multiple bedroom apartment. A one-bedroom apartment at Haven will run $1,225 per month.
This reality provides no financial transition period from home life to financial independence, which makes it difficult to save money and sets students up for failure.
Students are expected to cash-in not only for housing but also parking permits, food, textbooks, school supplies and gas, among other things, even during their first semester away from home. Myriad expenses are immediately added with no transitional period and many students will be overwhelmed. According to College Board, students spend an annual amount of $1,200 on just textbooks and materials per year.
Even students who can afford to live in luxury student living are being sold products that may be falsely marketed as higher quality products.
With an influx of apartment buildings geared toward the wealthier San Marcos community and parents of prospective students, downtown will soon hold more apartments than local landscape. New developments like Aspire, Cheatham Street Flats and The View are all changing the atmosphere of San Marcos and could threaten to increase traffic.
The struggles of a college student are overwhelming enough without adding predatory housing to the mix. The need for more honest, transparent and realistic housing is urgent within the San Marcos community.
Stop taking advantage of us, we are just trying to survive adulthood.