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Students should look to avoid predatory leases

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Students should look to avoid predatory leases


The Attorney For Students office is in LBJ 5-1.5.



Photo By Ali Mumbach

The Attorney For Students office is in LBJ 5-1.5.
Photo By Ali Mumbach

The Attorney For Students office is in LBJ 5-1.5.
Photo By Ali Mumbach

The Attorney For Students office is in LBJ 5-1.5.
Photo By Ali Mumbach

Nathanael Lorenzo

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Students have started the process of scouring San Marcos for affordable apartments, but many don’t take the steps to avoid predatory leases.

If a student is looking for off-campus housing, they may want to be informed on what they are signing and agreeing to in their leases.

According to Kama Davis, Attorney for Students at Texas State, there are two different types of leases when renting an apartment: individual and joint leases.

There are several resources available for students to get proper information before signing. The Department of Housing and Residential Life has dedicated off-campus living staff to help students find options and information. If a student prefers not to go through Texas State, they can do personal research by looking online for apartments in San Marcos or by contacting apartment locators that offer free services.

“On certain sites, apartments will be listed in a way that will show whether they are joint/standard leases, as opposed to individual leases, which are geared specifically for students,” Davis said.

Many apartment locators offer free services. Some students may decide to take this route with so many options around town.

Lance Geary, real estate agent at Apartment Pros, said they service as many students as they do families.

“A big thing we try to do is educate the kids when they come in here,” Geary said. When they’re freshmen it’s probably their first apartment, so we just want to tell them how things work, what’s expected of you and this is what you need to qualify for an apartment.”

Apartment Pros finds apartments for students by following lease preference, price range and what is desired in an apartment.

Chance Van Engelen, real estate agent at Apartment Pros, believes lack of knowledge is a large reason many younger students fall into issues.

“Some of these apartments are very good at tricking students into applying,” Van Engelen said. “Students will get locked into something they didn’t want and get tricked, and we’re there to prevent that from happening; we want to make sure they get the best possible outcome for their living situation.”

Being tricked into signing or applying for a space isn’t the only way students get into situations they don’t want to be in. Two years ago, Ella Lofts opened two weeks late, leaving students displaced in hotels while the building was being finished. A similar incident happened with Haven at Thorpe Lane last year – which did not open until November.

“Many times, individual-lease apartments will waive or not charge a security deposit, which is actually detrimental to students,” Davis said. “If a landlord doesn’t charge that deposit, they can come after students (with a list of damages) for four years after they move out.”

Students should be aware if they are trying to review a lease online they may be unknowingly signing the lease electronically. If trying to evaluate a lease online, students should get a PDF or printed copy of the current year’s lease.

While not every individual lease may be predatory toward students, it’s important to take caution before signing any lease. The Attorney for Students’ office reviews leases by appointment. To make an appointment, students can call (512) 245-2370.

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Students should look to avoid predatory leases