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The University Star




The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

Haven residents share experiences months after tumultuous opening

Months+after+its+summer+opening%2C+Haven+at+Thorpe+Lane+residents%2C+located+at+1351+Thorpe+Ln+in+San+Marcos%2C+and+others+are+reflecting+on+their+experiences+with+construction+delays+and+inconsistent+communication+with+the+apartments+management.

Months after its summer opening, Haven at Thorpe Lane residents, located at 1351 Thorpe Ln in San Marcos, and others are reflecting on their experiences with construction delays and inconsistent communication with the apartment’s management.

Editor’s Note: Haven at Thorpe Lane was contacted multiple times via phone and email for this story; the complex either did not respond or representatives stated they were unable to speak to the media. 
Months after its opening, Haven at Thorpe Lane residents and others are reflecting on their experiences with the complex’s management and the effects of construction setbacks.
Haven was set to open in fall 2019, but as a result of various construction difficulties, the complex’s official move-in date did not arrive until summer 2020. During the time of construction, some residents were provided temporary housing and, later, refunds.
Fabian Castel, a construction science major at Texas State and a past resident of the apartment, says he signed his leasing agreement for a one-bedroom apartment in September 2019 after being told he could expect to move in the same month. However, that ended up not being the case.
“I was a late transfer; I was just going to look around for a one-bedroom and then when I signed with them in September, they told me it was gonna be done mid-September. So, I figured, you know, two weeks, my parents lived in North Austin, so I’ll just stay there a bit—not that long of a drive, but [construction] wasn’t done,” Castel said. “All that semester for fall 2019 I just kind of commuted. I ended up having to miss a bunch of [my 8 a.m. classes], and my grades kind of reflected that. I ended up staying in a bunch of hotels.”
In November 2019, the complex was issued its first stop-work order by the City of San Marcos, halting construction until the complex presented permits to continue work. In January 2020, Haven was issued a second stop-work order by Chief Building Official Paul Hinrichs after furniture was illegally moved into the building. The second work order was later removed.
After the fall semester, Haven was still incomplete, and Castel says he was given the option to live in temporary housing at the Villagio Apartments.
“I was rooming with another guy who was in the same situation as me,” Castel said. “It was a normal apartment other than that one time I think they missed the electric bill, and the city came, and they actually put a lock on the electric thing—that was the only issue.”
Castel says he was informed in May that his temporary housing contract had ended, and he could move into Haven. His lease was set to end in July.
“They came and told me: ‘We’re going to put you in a two-bedroom; you’re gonna have to pay the two-bedroom price for both rooms,’ which was actually more expensive. They gave [me] a $3,000 gift card, so when it came out it was $1,500 I think; I just had to pay the last month which I already had a deposit down for. The gift card paid May and June, but in June I had already paid that difference,” Castel said.
Keegan Lorenz-Ochoa, a Texas State senior and former Haven resident, signed a lease with Haven in 2019 despite the construction not yet completed. He assumed the apartment complex would be completed soon due to the time it had been under construction. Additionally, Lorenz-Ochoa says the promise of being able to break his lease if construction was not completed by the move-in date encouraged him to sign.
“A couple of days before move-in day we’re looking at the place, and it’s not finished yet. They sent out an email saying you have two options: ‘You can either find your own place to live, and we’ll not make you pay five months’ rent, or we’ll find you a place to live, and you won’t have to pay three months’ rent,’” Lorenz-Ochoa said.
Lorenz-Ochoa says he did not choose either of the options offered to him by Haven and decided to independently find a place to live. He says he did not want to interact with the apartment anymore due to them violating agreements.
“We didn’t sign anything; we had to pay the first month’s rent and actually found an RV park to live in for a couple months,” Lorenz-Ochoa said.
Lorenz-Ochoa says temporary housing was not a good option because of the uncertainty surrounding it.
“I had a friend who decided to go through the waiting of [the apartment construction to be completed] and [he responded] like, ‘I [will] live in the place you guys want me to live in and wait it out,'” Lorenz-Ochoa said. “Turns out, he waited until like the end of the last semester around May, and they forcefully moved him in for the last part of his lease.”
After his experience with Haven, Lorenz-Ochoa says he has become more cautious of what he signs and remembers to read beforehand due to how easy he says it is for apartment complex corporations to take advantage of young apartment leasers.
“I’m pretty certain that corporations have their hands all over the apartments here, and they feel they can just walk over all of us young 20-year-olds who are looking for places to live,” Lorenz-Ochoa said.
Some residents who signed leases after the building was complete have a positive outlook on the complex, such as Cristyl O’Neal, a pre-med wildlife major at Texas State. O’Neal moved to Haven at the end of August and says she loves what she has seen so far.
“They have some of the nicest staff I’ve ever met. My boyfriend likes to compare them to Chick-Fil-A [because] everyone’s really nice here,” O’Neal said. “They know you by your name; they do a lot of special events to make everyone feel welcome. [Haven has] a lot of utilities, and everything’s brand new. They make sure everything’s nice and clean; it’s really comfortable.”
“Everything’s really nice and spacious. The parking garage could probably be a little wider, kind of a tight squeeze but, besides that, everything’s nice and in proximity,” O’Neal said.
Devan Hector, who worked for influencer marketing company Black Sheep which she says partnered with Haven to contact potential renters via social media, says she hopes the complex lives up to its promises in the future.
“I’m just glad they’re finally open, and I hope they’re as ‘luxury’ as they had stated,” Hector said. “I don’t regret working with them because it was my first gig, but I do wish they were a bit more transparent. However, many of the leasing agents were also students who probably didn’t know any more than I did. So I don’t blame them for that.”
Dr. Angelica Coronado, Texas State’s attorney for students, says she reminds potential renters to always review a contract before signing.
“This happens every semester, mostly at the beginning, particularly when an apartment is not ready, which happens every semester,” Coronado said. “See the contract before signing to fully understand all the rights and responsibilities. A common thing to do is just look at the rent expense, so we tell them to come to us and look at the entire leasing contract.”
Haven is currently involved in a lawsuit with former leasers concerning alleged fraud and deceptive trade practices.
Haven at Thorpe Lane was an advertising partner with The University Star during the 2018-2019 school year.

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