Quarters Complex Residents Displaced by Renovations
By Brynne Herzfeld
Reporting Texas TV
AUSTIN, Texas – Renovations to the privately-owned Quarters apartment complexes have removed students from their units, leaving the students struggling to receive answers from the complex management.
Though renovations began in early 2020, UT student and resident Jennifer Tran was not informed of the planned renovations when she signed her lease. She learned about the renovations when a friend’s apartment in a different Quarters building was renovated during the summer.
Tran and her roommate decided to contact management when contractors began entering their apartment in late December of 2020 to take measurements.
“That’s when we started thinking that oh, we need to get a move on this before they renovate our apartment and we’re forced out,” Tran said. “They basically told us that ‘you’ll know when it’s time.’”
Tran’s lease states that an order from the landlord to vacate must allow at least five days advance notice, but the notification she received provided only two days. Her notice came during the winter storm and she had to move out on the same day the university reopened.
“We used that two day notice as leverage to get the process accelerated, because we had already reached out to them prior,” Tran said.
In an email, Quarters leasing manager Jeremy Courtney said that Quarters was committed to open communication with residents, sending emails two weeks in advance and another email one week before beginning renovations. However, communication broke down because of the winter storm.
“For one week in February, we fell short of maintaining that commitment to our residents while we were being challenged by the winter freeze,” Courtney said.
“Upon realizing the issue, we addressed it and reached out immediately to the residents affected.”
Quarters gave displaced students the option of staying in the Moxy Hotel on Guadalupe Street, all expenses paid, or staying in a newly-renovated unit.
Resident Eloise Jewett said she opted for a renovated unit because she was unsure about the logistics of staying at the Moxy.
“It was too much to deal with,” Jewett said. “The Moxy wouldn’t even have a microwave or minifridge. It was literally just bare bones.”
Tran also chose to stay in a renovated unit, but said even it still needs work.
“We were able to get a two bedroom and two bathroom unit at the same rate as our one bedroom and one bathroom unit, but the apartment we moved to isn’t even fully renovated because we still have some missing floorboards. They also still need to fix some electrical stuff,” Tran said.
Ashleigh Osborn lives in a Quarters building that is fully renovated. When she and her roommate signed their lease in the spring of 2020, they were told that the building would receive new amenities like a coffee bar and gym by August. However, the amenities were not completed until November and are still inaccessible.
“I don’t feel safe running outside around West Campus. I’d rather have a gym that is fully secured, but we don’t have that,” Osborn said. “I wish we had a study lounge that is actually open, and we don’t have that.”
Courtney said residents are welcome to contact the leasing office regarding any concerns about the renovations.