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Monday, March 04, 2024

Summer housing crisis leaves students temporarily homeless

Many students get resourceful for the last two weeks in the semester

UF student Taylor Bornstein left his apartment at The Standard for the last time July 31. The 21-year-old UF political science senior packed most of his things and was left with just the essentials to get him through the day. 

He dropped off his keys at the leasing office and went to class. 

Bornstein had a few days to find a couch to sleep on or a room to stay in. He had no luck. 

With nowhere else to go, Taylor drove two and a half hours to his parents’ house in Orlando. 

He was fortunate to have a teacher who understood his situation and allowed him to continue his five credit course virtually. He will commute this Tuesday for a major assignment, but the rest of his assignments will not be in person. The class relies on face-to-face communication, so his grades have suffered since he left Gainesville, he said. 

“It would be nice to see if the university could offer some support,” he said. 

Students whose yearlong leases ended are now displaced, and many still have Summer B courses until Friday. Most leases end July 31, and the dates for move-in vary. 

Circa Properties residents can move in Aug. 10. Residents of The Hub apartments and Lyons Corner cannot move in until Aug. 18. They have the possibility for early move-in, but the available dates are after classes have ended. 

Newly constructed complex UFORA pushed its move-in date as late as Sept. 15.

In addition to not having somewhere to live, many students and parents have expressed frustration over being charged for a full month of rent when the move-in date is midway through the month. 

Ava Lucke, a 21-year-old manager at 2nd Avenue Centre, said most student housing in Gainesville is done on an installment basis. The overall price of renting the apartment for the year is divided into equal payments, she said. As a result, tenants are required to pay the entire cost of the first month’s rent.

The complex needs a full three weeks between leases because each apartment takes about five days to be inspected, painted and deep cleaned, Lucke said. There are about 300 apartments at 2nd Avenue Centre. 

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“We do understand that people have classes, and they’re coming from different properties to ours,” Lucke said. “We have early move-in options and then we also have transfer-in options for people who are coming from other properties that our company owns.”

The transfer-in process is a one-day move-in window Aug. 7 for residents of 2nd Avenue Centre, Royal Village and University Club Apartments to move to any of the other locations. 

Some students found that new housing opportunities have been beneficial.

Forest Weiss, a 19-year-old UF business sophomore, decided to move out of his dorm and into a friend’s room. He lived in Beaty Towers and considered moving into Hume Hall for the summer, but he grew tired of dorming and wanted something different. He moved into a house with a full kitchen, living room and porch. 

“It felt more like a homey experience rather than the college dorm feeling,” he said. 

He will be moving into his fraternity house next year, so this is his only time to live in a house during his first half of college. 

Some students enjoyed this time between houses. Others were left with no choice but to leave. The issue is not easily resolved since apartment complexes need time to prepare and students need a place to live. 

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