In the fall of 2019, I unexpectedly had to move from my very nice apartment in north Austin, and so I decided to dive right into West Campus so I could stop commuting to classes. With graduation approaching, semester-by-semester…it was finally time for me to have the “college experience” of West Campus that I had been denying myself. Unfortunately for me, I did not pre-lease a unit which is what everyone should do!!!! — again this was unexpected for me, so I ended up finding one of the last units available in West Campus for a reasonable price of $900/month.
Now, this was September, pretty much everything was taken and classes had already begun. Considering that the unit I found was literally in the last 5 available, I found myself to be pretty lucky. The unit was in a run-down, very grey, and very shack-looking multiplex deep into West Campus, but to my elation, the $900/month was not horrible as the unit was recently renovated. It had new faux wood floors, fresh paint, new bathtub, granite countertops, new refrigerator, and a cute little washer/ dryer single appliance like the ones they have in Europe and to top it off – parking was included in the rent… win!
Everything was just peachy until we hit winter break and I found my ceiling to be dramatically leaking with the recent heavy rain. Not just a drip-drop, but a drip drip drip drop all over the floor. To add insult to injury, this was not fresh-looking rain water…it was brown. I contacted the management company and HOA a number of times and they kept sending people to look at the leak, but there was nothing being done – that very familiar drip drip drip drop continued. I kept calling my boyfriend to complain and so, fed-up himself, he finally came over and scaled the roof (again, this is NOT a large or tall complex, he wasn’t being too unsafe) to see for himself what was going on up there. He came to find a pool…a POOL of stagnant water sitting only right above my unit – nowhere else. Apparently, my apartment had the updated roof but unfortunately, this “new roof” was doing less than the older part of the building. My boyfriend took a bunch of pictures for me to curate a very firm, detailed email to the property manager and HOA, with my big girl boots on, demanding that they do something and that this was unacceptable. This was a moment of realization for me…you may have to force people to care about you (in instances like these), so it’s important to advocate for yourself – even if you’re young and still learning too. I finally seemed to have gotten through with the very grotesque image of the dirty water and they sent people to fix the problem.
Unfortunately, the people who threw all the water off of the roof in order to fix it…dumped it literally onto my air conditioning unit that sticks out on the exterior. Woe is me! The unit was completely fried and for the 1 week of winter break that it was actually under 40 degrees, I had no form of heating or cooling. This was the week of Christmas and the New Year when many leasing offices close for up to TWO WEEKS!!! Oh my gosh. Here I thought West Campus was moderately sexy, and now I come to find the very unglamorous aspect of it all.
Once business was back in session, I was able to request a new dual air conditioner/heater and my property manager was actually very helpful. Now, instead of the however old unit I had when I moved in, I have a digital unit that I have a REMOTE for so I can change the temperature in the middle of the night without leaving my bed. Good things come to those who make it happen. Anyways, all of this felt very dramatic at the time but these are some of the concerns in life – stuff breaks, stops working, or leaks, but if you get clear and advocate for yourself – you can have a great outcome. Doesn’t it feel good? All-in-all, here are your million-dollar tips that I picked up over the break; make friends with your property manager by bringing them cookies and consider going for the more expensive apartments in West Campus such as the new HillTop property – unless you’re interested in having stories of minor misfortunate and great inconvenience. At the very least, PRE-lease early so that you have the first pick of any apartment in West Campus!