Students “homeless” in Ames


Photo: Madeline Doyle/Iowa State

Many students at Iowa State find that their lease is up before they have the opportunity to move in to their next location. In these situations, students are forced out of their apartments as they fend for themselves for a few days or weeks before being able to move into their next Ames home.

Katie Grunewald

During the next two weeks, hundreds of ISU students will find themselves homeless in Ames when their housing contracts end days before their new contracts begin.

Most Ames apartments and rental houses’ residents signed contracts with a July 31 move-out date; the move-in date varies from Aug. 1 to Aug. 23.

Property owners such as First Property Management, Total Property Management, Jensen Property Management and Green Acres Property Management all have an Aug. 1 move-in date.

Campustown Property Management and the Iowa State residence halls have some of the latest move-in dates ranging from Aug. 20-23.

Haverkamp Properties and University Plains are examples of apartments that offer a move-in date somewhere in between.

Many of these property managers offered an “early move-in list,” which new residents were able to reserve a spot to move-in early if their unit was available. As long as the previous tenants are out, several property managers are allowing their new tenants to move-in, in either the “as-is” condition, or as soon as the apartment is clean.

Sandy Rani, a senior in biology at Iowa State, will find herself “homeless” for nine days this July.

“I have to move-out of my apartment on Welch Avenue by [July 24] and I move in to my new apartment on August 1,” Rani said. 

Rani and her two roommates are either taking their stuff home to Chicago the seven days they will be homeless, or using a storage facility in town.

“We had to use a storage facility in Nevada, we started calling around in June and all the one in Ames were already full,” Rani said.

Storage facilities in Ames filled up in the beginning of May with students anticipating their few days of homelessness coming toward the end of summer.

Rani said after she receives the $50 deposit back from the storage facility, it will only cost her and her roommates $70 to store their furniture for the seven days they need.

The apartment Rani and her roommates are moving into offered one solution they decided against.

“We may have a chance to move-in one day early, and move-in on the 31st, but that doesn’t guarantee the apartment would be clean so we decided to wait the extra day,” Rani said.

Tyler Etten, a senior in finance and economics at Iowa State, will also be homeless at the end of July.

Etten is moving from a six-person house on Hyland Avenue, to a two-bedroom apartment. Etten is currently subleasing for the summer, and has to be out of that apartment by July 25, and cannot move-in to his new apartment until Aug. 1.

“We’re trying to work something out now, it just depends on how much work needs to be done at the new apartment,” Etten said. “We know they need to put new carpet in our unit, and depending on what other work they have to do we may get to move in a little early.”

In the past, Etten has dealt with small, private landlords, such as a friend’s dad, and were very easy to work with causing him to always avoid the homeless problem altogether.

“We’ve never had this problem because we’ve known our landlords well enough in the past that they let us stay until we can move-in to our new place,” Etten said. “Dealing with two big property managers when you’re moving in and moving out is harder because they aren’t as willing to work together.”

Etten and his roommates are hoping to store their belongings in a friend’s garage while they are homeless, as they have no reservation for a storage unit.

This is an issue students in Ames have every year, and the same solutions are being used; asking a friend to live on their couch, going home for a week or crossing their fingers they will be able to move-in to their new place early.

Rani said she has come to terms with their plan for being homeless.

“We moved into our apartment early last year, so we got a full year out of our lease, it was just unlucky that our new apartment’s move-in date is much later than our move-out date.”