Students in between leases must look out for early move-ins or couch surf

Marisa Huerta, News Reporter

Some students who must be in Austin during the summer face a unique challenge of finding a place to stay in early August when leases from the previous year end and new ones do not begin for weeks.

While most UT students return home after classes end in May, those who choose to stay for summer classes or work obligations can struggle to find housing because they cannot move into their new apartment until the standard move-in date, often 2-3 weeks after their previous lease ends, according to West Campus leasing managers.

“What’s typical with student housing is you have lease terms that run from August to the end of the summer in July, and then there is the odd gap, anywhere from two, three weeks from when your lease can end on one property to when your next lease at another property starts,” said Madison Rosenow, the leasing manager at The Nine on Leon.

Summertime is known as “turning season” for apartments in West Campus, Rosenow said. This timeframe includes preparing each unit for new tenants planning to move in on August 20, the standard move-in date at The Nine. Previous tenants’ contracts end in July.

McCombs graduate student Sophia Scott said she was essentially houseless the two weeks after her old lease ended and her new one began in the summer before her sophomore year.

Scott said even if she had moved in a week early, she would have still been out of housing for at least a week. Instead, she relied on close friends to provide housing for her in between lease dates and kept her belongings in her car.

“I had to reach out to three different friends to spend about, like, four to five days on their couches,” Scott said. “It put me in a position where I was living out of a suitcase … I felt it put my friends in a difficult position, but I think that everybody is super understanding in West Campus when it comes to these situations because it happens all the time.”

Rosenow recommends students stay with friends if they are able, especially since finding a hotel room or renting out a storage unit to keep belongings in is not financially feasible for most.

Derek Vansickle, leasing and marketing team lead at The Ruckus and Corner Apartments, said the standard move-in day for their properties is August 19th, which gives them time to ensure units are in proper condition.

“The reason we have everybody moved out on the 31st is because we have to have every unit repainted and cleaned,” Vansickle said. “We also fog because of COVID, so we make sure that we’re spraying everything down with sanitizing solution and things like that. We also had a lot of odd projects going on this year like reinstalling locks on our doors.”

Vansickle said the properties tend to offer early move-in deals where students can move in as early as August 8.

“Early move-in is only offered at each community for only 20 or so units,” Vansickle said. “Once we hit that 20-unit mark, we put people on a waitlist because we can only really guarantee getting so many units done before the eighth.”