As students settled into their homes for the new school year, some tenants found themselves unsatisfied with their rooms at Skyloft, a newly constructed 18-story building on the corner of Nueces and 23rd Streets in West Campus.
Residents have expressed discontent with malfunctioning electricity and pipes, as well as misleading floor plans. A handful of rooms have large concrete pillars that take up space in living areas and bedrooms. These pillars were not included in the floor plans shown to prospective residents. Biology sophomore Lexus Wilson, a Skyloft resident, said the pillar in her bedroom makes it impossible to
“The pillar takes up about a quarter of my room,” Wilson said. “I can’t move any furniture around, it’s literally in the middle of everything.”
Wilson said she was never told about the pillar before she moved in and plans to talk to someone about the issue later this week. Skyloft has not yet responded to The Daily Texan’s request for comment.
Business sophomore Madeleine Stokes, a former Skyloft staff member and current resident of the complex, described other resident complaints, including sewage water leaking through floors, closets with no racks in place and electricity that was not working in some rooms during move in.
Stokes said although she’s paying $40 to $50 more per month in rent for a higher room with better views, her room faces a small dark courtyard and the rooms across the way.
“I live on one of the upper floors and I face the courtyard. I get no natural light but I’m still paying the money just to be higher up,” Stokes said. “It really makes no sense.”
Stokes said Skyloft claims to have a waiting list for switching to other vacant rooms and a possible discount for those who are unsatisfied with the size of their rooms. However, Stokes said she doesn’t think this is a possibility.
“I feel like they’re scamming them,” Stokes said. “I haven’t seen any waitlist or them giving any discounts.”
Juliana Gonzales, executive director of the Austin Tenant’s Council, said she advises those with issues with their rental property to submit a repair form in writing. Gonzales also said the council is there for anyone who is having issues with their rooms or landlord.
“We have a repair mediation process,” Gonzales said. “This is a good option to those who are frustrated that the process (is) not going forward, or are worried about retaliation from the landlord.”
In Austin, students are protected by a local ordinance from housing discrimination. Gonzales said those who feel as if they are experiencing discrimination to contact the City of Austin’s Equal Opportunity Office to determine if their situation is legally protected.
“It tends to happen with repair issues in West Campus,” Gonzales said. “The landlords are aware that their tenants are mostly students who may not be able to move locations or find other affordable housing close to campus.”
To prevent unpleasant surprises, Gonzales said students should tour their apartment units before signing.
“Definitely take a tour of the exact room you are looking to lease,” Gonzales said. “Never sign until you know what you’re getting, and read your lease carefully.”