Housing resources for CU-Boulder students
Off-Campus Housing and Neighborhood Relations Office: 303-492-7053 or och.colorado.edu
This office, funded by CU Student Government, provides CU students, faculty and staff with resources for off-campus housing, said spokesman Jeremy Moore. Though the office does not take sides or provide legal counsel for landlord-tenant disputes, they have a part-time attorney who will review leases for free. They also provide an off-campus housing guide, host housing fairs and give students tips for being good neighbors in Boulder, Moore said.
Student Legal Services: 303-492-6813 or cubouldersls.com
Moore said when students need additional legal advice, his office refers them to Student Legal Services. For a small fee ($25 the first visit), students can meet with an attorney for advice and mediation help on rental issues. Student Legal Services also will review leases for $10.
Some University of Colorado students are scrambling to find a place to live after learning that their building, the newly remodeled Oak House at 12th Street and College Avenue, won't be ready until mid-October because of construction delays.
The students signed one-year leases for the renovated building at 1107 12th Street beginning in August, and construction on the 15, four-bedroom units was supposed to be completed in time for the fall semester.
But officials with property manager My Boulder Rental notified tenants last week that "unanticipated challenges" associated with last September's floods caused construction delays that will push back their move-in date until at least Oct. 15.
On Monday afternoon, a handful of construction workers were on site digging, preparing lumber and installing windows.
Brendan Hefter, a senior studying finance who was supposed to live at the Oak House this fall, quickly texted a friend when he found out about the two-month delay.
Luckily, he said, he found a room in the meantime, but his other Oak House roommates haven't been so lucky.
The extra hassle has already put a damper on his senior year, he said.
"It's supposed to be the last year, the best year of college," he said.
What's more frustrating, Hefter said, is that My Boulder Rental property manager Colleen Murphy had emailed all tenants in mid-April to say construction was on schedule.
At the time, she wrote "Everything is going great and we are very excited to have you all move in in August."
Hefter said he feels tricked.
"We were all convinced it would be ready, we were told that," Hefter said by phone from Chicago, where he's interning this summer. "We were deceived more or less."
Murphy declined to comment for this story, but provided the Daily Camera with a letter she said she sent to tenants explaining the situation. Tenants will not pay rent while the building is under construction, she wrote, and future rent payments will be reduced by $600 for each month the property wasn't available.
According to the My Boulder Rental website, rent for each four-bedroom unit starts at $3180, plus an additional $400 flat rate for utilities, not including cable or internet.
Each individual tenant can pay an additional $100 per month for parking.
"(My Boulder Rental) is committed to assisting you with your interim housing needs," she wrote. "We understand that this delay will cause inconvenience in meeting your housing needs."
'Pulling our hair out'
Deborah Clarke has been dealing with housing for her son Chris Miller, also a senior, who is in Europe this summer.
She said the building's history with My Boulder Rental makes the situation even more troubling. It had been home to Sigma Alpha Epsilon, a member of the Boulder Interfraternity Council, before a company registered as 1107 12th LLC purchased the property, according to the Boulder County Assessor's Office.
The company asked the fraternity brothers living in the building to leave in May of 2013, several months before the end of their leases, so that construction could begin on a sparkling set of new apartments called the Oak House.
They moved out, but many were quick to sign new leases for the renovated building because of its close proximity to campus and proposed modern floorplans and amenities.
John Kirkland, the registered agent for 1107 12th LLC according to the Colorado Secretary of State's Office, could not be reached Monday.
Now, the students and parents are trying to decipher Boulder rental laws to see what, if any, penalties they could be facing if they decide to terminate their leases and live elsewhere.
Clarke said her son and his three roommates put down around $7,000 for a security deposit for their unit, and it's unclear if they'll get that back.
Miller found a 90-day lease for corporate housing in Boulder this week, Clarke said, but it comes at a price. Because Miller's summer lease doesn't end until Aug. 16, he's paying double rent for two weeks in August, and if the Oak House is ready before Nov. 6, he'll be paying double rent again later this fall.
Because the corporate housing is furnished, they'll also have to pay to store Miller's furniture for three months, Clarke added.
"We're just pulling our hair out trying to scrounge around," she said.
With another son starting at CU this fall, Clarke said she's not looking forward to several more years of difficult landlords and expensive housing options in Boulder, where demand for housing of all kinds is high and supply is low.
Nancy Andersen, mother of senior Jack Karger, also has another son starting at CU this fall.
She said she's so frustrated with the landlord-biased leases in Boulder that she's considering buying a property to rent to her sons.
"We've all been to college and dealt with cities that are based around the college or university there, " Andersen said. "But this is beyond that. It really gives you a bad taste for the city and for the university. How sad is that? It's a great school and it's a great city."
She said she understands that it's a landlord's market in Boulder, but she would've expected property managers to show some "compassion" for their tenants instead of just throwing them "to the wolves."
For her son Karger, who's working two jobs and taking a class this summer, finding a new place to live on such short notice was stressful.
Now, instead of living within walking distance of classes, he'll be driving to campus from his temporary apartment on 29th Street for at least two months.
Then he'll have to deal with moving all over again once the Oak House is ready—not how he envisioned fall semester of his senior year.
"I expected to be living in this brand new apartment," he said. "That was our big thing for senior year. It was going to be right there on The Hill where we always wanted to be. Now I have to deal with a move in the middle of the semester, it's just ridiculous to me. I just don't see how they can really get away with this."
Contact Camera Staff Writer Sarah Kuta at 303-473-1106 or firstname.lastname@example.org