Unfinished buildings for fall 08 semester



By Ebonique Wool

Living close to campus has always been desirable for college students, and with new apartment developments in the area it seems more people may be able to realize this dream. Before students rush into signing a lease, however, they should make sure they read the fine print.

“Too many tenants sign a lease without reading it or without reading it carefully,” said Esther Patt, coordinator of the Tenant Union at the University.

One worry in signing a lease with a building that is still under construction is that it will not be finished in time for move in.

“We think (finishing on time) is important,” said Theresa Kamerer, property manager for Burnham 310. “Some landlords have ruined it for others coming.”

Burnham 310, 310 E. Springfield Ave., is still under construction, and is set to be finished in July. About half of their apartments have been rented for fall semester of 2008, Kamerer said.

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“We have a guarantee letter from the Pickus Company that guarantees students housing,” Kamerer said.

The Pickus Companies are responsible for the construction of Burnham 310.

“What (students) can do if the building is not finished in time depends on their lease,” Patt said. “With the Village of Colbert, the lease said the building may not be finished in time. The lease gave the landlord a 14-day grace period. Campus management gives the landlord 30 days.”

Some landlords gave students double the daily rent for the time they were not in their apartments, though the cost of living in a hotel can be more than the money you receive, Patt said.

“Double the daily rent will only buy them so much hotel room, and they’re not going to be close to campus probably,” Patt said. “The important thing is people have to realize they agreed to this.”

The new apartments being built at 621-23 E. Green St. by Bankier Apartments will also have a completion guarantee. In the event of the apartment not being ready at the lease start date, they will provide the lessee with two hotel rooms and twice the amount of daily rent, said Miriam Booth, managing banker of Bankier Apartments.

“Our completion date is the end of February,” said Booth. “We (arranged) our leases so we have months of cushioning.”

Of the four apartments being built, three have already been rented for the upcoming fall semester. The apartments will be located above a retail space slotted for restaurants.

It is also important to review the lease before you sign, to ensure you are aware of everything you are agreeing to, Patt said.

“In some apartments, the lease didn’t have any part that guaranteed appliances,” Patt said. “They had to wait until the landlord supplied them.”

Burnham 310 apartments have a furniture addendum included in the lease that ensures the furniture will be there, Kamerer said.

It is important to do a walk-through when you first move in to the apartment and document anything that is not perfect, Patt said.

“They should report everything in writing that’s wrong,” she added. “Don’t leave it up to a conversation.”

If students have any questions about moving in and rights as a tenant, they can visit the Tenant Union, located in the Illini Union, or visit their Web site at www.tenantunion.uiuc.edu.