OPINION: The Ivy’s ‘unlivable’ conditions are a trend in off-campus housing

Off-campus students find themselves in non-ideal conditions due to negligent landlords. SPECIAL TO THE ORACLE/UNSPLASH

The Ivy, an off-campus housing complex marketed to USF students, is facing backlash after residents complained about the “unlivable” conditions this move-in season, as reported by WFLA on Aug. 19.

With rents rising and USF dorms proving less financially viable, many students depend on cheaper off-campus housing options like The Ivy. USF students living off campus should know their options when faced with an uncaring leasing office.

Knowing they have little-to-no options, some of these complexes take advantage of students and allow them to live in squalor. USF’s cheapest dorm option is roughly $750 a month to share a double-bed dorm, with ON50’s cheapest being roughly $680 for a personal room and bathroom in a 4-bed 4-bath. For USF students on a budget who don’t want to or can’t share a bedroom, off-campus housing is the economic option.

Upon move-in, dozens of residents at The Ivy reported “unlivable” conditions like exposed wires, mold and collapsed ceilings, according to WFLA.

“Unfortunately, we did identify isolated incidents where apartments needed additional repairs and maintenance. We are addressing each situation promptly and ensuring that impacted residents are accommodated with care and professionalism,” a representative of The Ivy told WFLA.

While The Ivy claims that these are isolated incidents, such conditions are not uncommon for off-campus housing. Some students have stories from other apartment complexes not following best practices, including mold and water damage problems.

Some misled tenants during apartment tours, where the complexes will often tour a staged replica of the apartment, not the rental unit. The staged unit will be up-to-date and clean, which is often not the case for actual rental units.

“We took a tour before school ended last year, everything looked nice. The model home looked nice, the pool looked nice,” said USF parent Amy LaPlante about The Ivy in an Aug. 18 interview with WFTS.

Upon move-in, LaPlante said she and her son found an apartment covered in dirty clothes with unsanitary conditions throughout. 

Students need to be aware of their rights in these situations to curb abuses and negligence by these apartment complexes. 

Under Florida law, landlords are required to comply with all health codes (including the absence of mold), maintain plumbing and clean and safe common areas, according to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

If you find the landlord to be lacking, the tenant must give them a written statement listing the ways they are not complying. The landlord then has seven days to comply before the renter has the right to terminate the lease.

Many off-campus apartments are taking advantage of students who they assume don’t know better. Students need to take advantage of their renter’s rights to curb greedy and negligent landlords.