An inconvenient interval

By Brian Mellen

By Brian Mellen

Staff writer

With summer fast-drawing to a close, the Tenant Union said students moving into new apartments this year will be scrambling to find a place to store their belongings. The gap between when their old lease ends and their new lease begins will leave students stranded.

Unless tenants have renewed their previous lease for the upcoming year, landlords usually demand that students move out at least a few days before the new tenants settle into their apartment. These gaps result from sometimes inflexible terms agreed to in leases.

“We have to have time to clean up apartments and repair damages,” said Dustin Neiswender, office manager for Roland Reality.

Neiswender said many times damages are the major concern. He said he has seen it all, from entire walls knocked out to every piece of furniture broken.

“You never know what you’re going to walk into,” Neiswender said.

Esther Patt, coordinator of the Tenant Union at the University, said there are a number of options students have to deal with the gap. She said that a lot of students just pack up and go back home to their parents, but for international and out-of-state students, this option just isn’t possible.

“Some students will find friends who have renewed leases and don’t have a gap,” Patt said.

They will often leave their belongings with a friend and maybe stay for a few days as well. Patt said that renting a storage space is also an alternative to packing up and driving all the way back home.

One of the most common choices is the early move-in option. Students can talk with their landlord and arrange a way to move in earlier than their lease would normally allow. Yet moving in early usually waives certain responsibilities on the landlord’s part. For instance, Neiswender said Roland Reality offers this option but does not guarantee a clean apartment.

Still, although she refrained from naming any companies specifically, Patt said some landlords do not always pull through on their responsibilities even when the tenants opt to not take the early move-in option.

“The worst we see is the landlords who put a big gap between leases and then still give people dirty apartments,” Patt said. “So what are they using the gap for?”

Patt said it is especially ridiculous when some landlords have up to a two week gap to take care of cleaning and repairs.

Patt encouraged students with any questions to call the Tenant Union at (217) 333-0112 or come in to the Tenant Union offices at the Illini Union in room 326.