Lease dates create issues for apartment residents

James Heggen

It’s moving time.

July 31 is this weekend, and for many students living in apartments, it’s the time for moving out and, sometimes, waiting a day to move into their new one.

Many one-year leases in Ames end July 31 and do not begin until August 1, leaving some students without a place to stay for a night.

Gary Hunziker, owner of Hunziker Property Management, said most of his company’s leases expire July 31, and start Aug. 1, while one-fourth end Aug. 15 and start Aug. 16. Some subsidized housing also varies throughout the year.

Hunziker said he didn’t really know why the move in and move out times were set up the way they are.

“I think it’s just all kind of geared around the university,” he said.

He said it also may have something to do with other schools starting in August.

On their end, Hunziker said they have checkout appointments July 31 where they go through the apartment with the tenant.

“If everything checks out, the other tenant can move right in,” he said.

Sometimes an apartment can be bad enough they have to hold off on renting the place.

“We may not rent that again until the fifth of August or something,” he said.

However, they also do walkthroughs to check for any needed maintenance before the move-out date.

“We change a lot of carpet and do a lot of painting over about a two or three day period,” Hunziker said.

Hunziker said he does think the turnover time is a “big one-day problem.”

“I think everyone kind of understands that and figures out how to cope with it,” he said.

Hunziker said they will offer accommodations if an apartment is not ready to be moved into on the move in date.

“And obviously, if something’s available, if the people move out, they can move in early. We don’t have a problem with doing that,” he said.

Campustown Property Management’s leases expire July 30 and move in is not until Aug. 3. Anthony Howard, leasing director of Campustown Property Management, said the company used to do the process in a day, but changed their leases last year because of the number of its properties and the fact many tenants don’t move in until mid-August.

“We just noticed it gives us a better chance to go through and get everything ready to go for new tenants,” he said.

Howard said first they check to see if keys are missing from the apartment, and if that is the case, they have to do a lock rotation. Next, an inspector checks each apartment. Then cleaning crews clean the apartment and any additional maintenance or work is done.

He said it depends on the apartment as to how long it will take to get it ready, with some places needing a lot of work, and others being almost ready to go when a tenant moves out.

Howard added they have heard of several landlords now taking a week for their turnaround period.

“I think more of it is going that direction,” he said.

But Campustown Property Management offers a couple of alternatives to waiting to move in. One option — “in-house” moves, where a tenant is moving from one Campustown property to another — allows tenants to stay in their apartments until their new ones are ready, Howard said. These moves usually take place July 31 or Aug. 1.

They also offer an early move-in agreement, where a tenant can take the apartment “as is” July 30, but are responsible for cleaning it themselves, Howard said. They also get the opportunity to see the apartment before making the decision.

Penny Kaelber, who manages the Campus Information Center and oversees the off-campus housing services at the University of Iowa, said leases in Iowa City are similar to Ames, in that they usually run from Aug. 1 to July 31.

Kaelber said this coincides with the end of summer school, which causes more of a headache.

“It’s a real inconvenience for a lot of people,” she said.

However, Kaelber said the problem is just the “nature of the business.”

“I don’t know if it can really be avoided,” she said.