Multiple students have expressed reliability and security concerns while residing in the local apartment complex The Arch.
The Optimist attempted to contact management of The Arch for comment via email and phone and received no response.
One of the major issues students have expressed with The Arch apartments is communication. Emma Schecter, junior finance and data analytics major from North Richland Hills, and roommate Annie Carter, junior accounting major from North Richland Hills ,lived in a three-bedroom apartment from August to December 2022. The main problems, said Schecter and Carter, started in December.
After seeing the model apartment, Schecter, Carter and their third roommate signed a lease for the school year beginning in August and ending in July, they said. With their rent at $540 each and paying their own utilities, each of the rooms was set for an individual lease.
However, in August, Carter and Schecter’s roommate unexpectedly transferred at the last minute. Right before Thanksgiving break, Schecter and Carter received an email they would be assigned a new roommate.
The roommate moved in during the first week of December and explained to Schecter and Carter that she was not in school nor was working in Abilene. The new roommate also had a pet, they said, even though Schecter and Carter had filed forms stating they did not want pets allowed in the apartment.
“Off the bat, she had come in and she had a cat,” Carter said. “Emma and I had purposely put on our forms that you fill out before you move in. We put that we don’t want any pets because a lot of our friends would be coming over are allergic to pets.”
Conflicts started during the first week of the new roommate moving in, like the use of Schecter and Carter’s items and minor living issues. During this first week, Schecter and Carter received text messages that their roommate adopted a dog from the pound that would be her service dog.
“It is true that you can have pets there,” Carter said. “But it’s something we just thought there will be a little more of a process and just you can show up with one.”
Ultimately, Schecter and Carter decided by finals week they planned to move out because of compatibility issues with the roommate.
Instead of choosing to break the lease agreement, they requested to move into a two-bedroom apartment.
Before Christmas break, Schecter and Carter were told they would have a two-bedroom available in January. However, by Jan. 3, Schecter’s mother received a phone call from The Arch explaining no two bedrooms were available.
Carter and Schecter ultimately decided to move into the University Park apartments for the spring semester, they said.
“So me and Emma over Christmas break, once we went back with our families and everything, we were talking and said, OK, we’re going to move out,” Carter said.
They said The Arch sent their balance to collections because they were breaking the lease, and said they hired a lawyer to send a letter to The Arch detailing the experience and issues that they had with the apartment.
“Even before we had a problem, we go in there and use the amenities,” Carter said. “We totally really know these people working there and just all of a sudden they got real quiet … being like, “We can’t give information.'”
Another student, Luke Robinson, freshman multimedia major from Hurst, had structural complaints compared to Schecter and Carter’s roommate problems.
Robinson signed a lease for a two-bedroom apartment with his roommate in late May. However, on July 4, Robinson received a call from The Arch stating that there were no two-bedroom apartments available.
“The only other option that they gave us was a three-by-three,” Robinson said. “And so they left us in a pickle. This is July, we’re moving there next month. And so we I end up calling my roommate, and we were talking over and we had, at that point, no other options.”
Robinson’s first bill for the three-bedroom apartment came in after the Arch had canceled the two-bedroom lease, however, the bill was estimated around $650. When Robinson and his roommate received notice of their roommate moving in before they did, they found out that he cooked with a lot of spices that Robinson’s roommate was allergic to, so the pair requested to move into a different apartment.
The Arch showed Robinson and his roommate another apartment that was available to move into on Aug. 16, but it was missing a bathroom door and reeked of marijuana, he said.
“We are debating on what we’d rather do, allergies or going to school smelling like weed,” Robinson said. “And we had to choose the latter because he couldn’t live in the other space.”
Three days after moving in, Robinson and his roommate became concerned about the apartment’s fire alarms and started the process to move into the University Park Apartments.
“We moved into the apartment here and we stayed the night and it was pretty nice. But so the next day, we end up going to them [The Arch], and we told them we were moving out, and they told us we couldn’t do that.”
The Arch then told Robinson that the only way to get out of their contract is if they sublease to someone else.
“But she also failed to mention in front of me, in front of me and my roommate in the contract, it says that we could cancel our lease for a prorated fee,” Robinson said.
Robinson contacted the area manager, however, during the two-week time span that the manager takes to reply, The Arch had already charged another month’s worth of rent.
By October, Robinson and his roommate told The Arch they were not paying the racked-up fees and rent.
“They never responded to us until early November telling us that they sent our $1,700 over to collections,” Robinson said.
The Arch charged Robinson and his mother, Beth Robinson, a total of $1,777.55 in rent and fees. During this time, Beth and Todd Robinson sent a detailed letter about their son’s experience regarding the apartment complex.
“This all started because they canceled our two-by-two lease with us,” Robinson said. “They shouldn’t have given us that lease if they didn’t have the room. They should have told us that they didn’t have any more rooms available for us in that case, but they didn’t do that.”
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