Mold spots among top concerns about housing conditions


Jessica McLaren, Assistant News Editor

Update: A previous version of this story incorrectly listed the wrong management company for The Reserve.

An increasing number of UTSA students are voicing complaints about their experiences while living off-campus, including adverse living conditions and hostile encounters with management. Several residents have even turned to social media to emphasize the complications they have experienced while living in student housing. 

One student in particular — Maya, endured serious plumbing issues after moving into The Reserve, managed by Asset Living.

Maya explains that they first became aware of the complications, including leaks and blocked pipes throughout the kitchen and bathrooms in August of 2021 after moving into their unit. In October, they suffered a massive flood that resulted in severe water damage throughout the apartment. Maya made multiple attempts to communicate with management about having the damage repaired but ultimately had to leave for Austin to spend Thanksgiving with their family.

Upon returning to The Reserve in time to prepare for finals week the students were faced with what they believed was black mold. After continuously being told by The Reserve that they had no reason to worry, Maya took to Twitter to share photos of the damage caused by the floods and what appears to be spots of mold on the drywall and vents. 

Maya explained that The Reserve has repeatedly failed to take their concerns seriously, insisting that the damage was from previous floods and the mold spots were just dust. Maya further shared that the management team made these claims without investigating the damage in the apartment. Rather than handling the issue in a timely manner, they focused more on the discrepancies between the four roommates’ stories and insinuated that their claims were not truthful. 

After developing symptoms of mold exposure, including upper respiratory distress and ultimately bronchitis, Maya and their roommates decided to take matters into their own hands by purchasing a mold testing kit.

“I was mentally, physically and financially impacted by the situation,” Maya said. “I couldn’t focus on my school assignments or my finals. I couldn’t breathe properly. I got extremely sick and even developed bronchitis, for which I was taking seven different medications at one point.” 

Although the damage left by the mold has since been serviced, the students were given no other option but to continue living in the unit while repairs were made. Maya disclosed that they suffered hundreds of dollars in damages, and were at no point given the option to terminate their lease. 

While The Reserve offered to relocate Maya and their roommates, no progress was ever made by management on the matter. In Texas, rental units are required to provide tenants with liveable conditions or allow them to break their lease if this is not the case. With instances specifically pertaining to mold, the complex must investigate and remove the mold within a reasonable amount of time, usually considered to be seven days.

“The apartment should have conducted full investigations into the matter,” Maya said. “It should not have been our responsibility to purchase testing kits. Student apartments take advantage of young adults who are new to adulthood and apartment life. I should not have been looked down on for asking them to do the right thing and ensure that their complex is liveable.” 

Maya is not alone in their struggle with off-campus student housing, as a large number of other students have taken to Twitter, Yelp and other sites to share their own negative encounters. The Paisano has reached out to The Reserve for comment on the situation but has not heard back from management.