Marcus Connolly, The Paisano
Prado Student Living’s inconsistent move-in dates and alleged missed stipend payments have left some UTSA students leasing with Prado frustrated, stressed and living in a hotel months after the luxury apartment complex was scheduled to open.
Prado Student Living is built south of campus across from the Block and sits on the corner of Roadrunner Way and UTSA Blvd. Its close proximity to campus, advertised high-end amenities and the appeal of fully furnished apartments has drawn UTSA students to sign and lease with Prado.
Students Valia Andry, Mariah Ozuna and Freddie (who opted not to use his full name) all signed a lease with Prado during the Spring and Summer of 2014. Andry’s original move-in date was December 10, Ozuna’s was between late August and early September and Freddie’s was August 23.
All were told that their move-in dates would be pushed back, not given a specific move-in date and were housed in various hotels around UTSA campus: Staybridge Suites, La Cantera Hotel and Resort, the Residences at the Rim, and Holiday Inn Hotel and Suites.
For the inconvenient hotel arrangements, students were offered stipends to be paid every two weeks after rent payment had been received every first of the month.
Andry and Ozuna were promised stipend checks of $280 while Freddie was promised a stipend check of $420 and an extra incentive check of $350 for sharing a hotel room with another student. As of Monday, January 26, only Ozuna and Freddie had received their stipends for the past six months.
Andry, who is currently living at Staybridge Suites, expressed little confidence in receiving her stipend payments. “They are supposed to be $280 every two weeks but I haven’t gotten any of them so I’m supposed to get $1000 on my next one on (Jan.) 19th but I don’t know if I’ll get it.” As of Monday, January 26, Andry has not received three stipend checks even though she has paid the first two months of her lease in full.
Ozuna first lived at La Cantera Hotel and Resort but decided to move to the Residences at the Rim before finally moving into Prado housing on January 10. Although Ozuna received all of her stipend checks, there were issues with receiving them on time. “They pushed the days back. We would receive them on Sundays and then it went to Tuesdays which was kind of odd. Everybody likes free money, but even that gets old after six months.”
Freddie began his Prado lease at La Cantera Hotel and Resort but is currently living at the Holiday Inn Hotel and Suites on University Heights. Since beginning his lease in August, he’s been concerned with receiving the stipend checks on time: “We should get it on Friday and it will usually take three or four extra days. We’ll get it by Tuesday or Monday, it’s never really set in stone like we thought it was going to be.”
When questioned further on his stipend checks Freddie’s second concern was how the checks would affect the filing of his income tax.
“The only bad part about it is that all the money is going to be taxed on us at the end of the year. They made us fill out a form saying that the money is being paid to us but since they can’t tax it or whatever, they are taking it out of the taxes that we make or something like that.”
At the time of their interviews, Andry and Ozuna were unsure if they had also signed any tax documents that would affect their income taxes for last year.
When contacted by phone, Prado staff stated that since the complex remains under construction, several of its advertised amenities — like the modern fitness center, outdoor aqua lounge and gaming center — are not yet available for current and potential residents.
After 13 days of living at Prado, the incomplete advertised amenities and continued construction led Ozuna and her roommate to break their contract with only a few months left on their lease. “It’s just disappointing that we are paying for things we don’t have. We’ll be gone by (Jan.) 31st.”
Ozuna and her roommate decided to sign a six month contract with Luxx Student Housing. “Me and my roommate are just glad to finally be able to move into a place that we can call home again after 7 months,” she said.
In an email sent out on January 23 to lessees assigned to section one and two at Prado Student Living, the Prado staff revealed that the complex will be “unable to release an exact move in date indefinitely…due to further, unexpected construction delays.” As a result, Prado staff has given a January 30 deadline to students in the affected sections to select from two options to cancel their lease without penalty.
One option would allow the lessee to cancel their contract without penalty and receive a payment of $1,000 “to help with moving, relocation expenses and as a token of our gratitude for your patience.”
The second option would offer assistance with relocation to housing with “preferred partners” Tetro Student Village or The Luxx Student Housing at a discounted rate with two months of rent paid by Prado. The Prado team is offering movers to assist with the process in this option as well.
Andry, as a future resident of the incomplete section one and two, has decided to take Prado’s second option and signed a new lease with Tetro Student Living on Jan. 26 to move in on Jan. 30.
Freddie, as part of section 3, is still waiting to move in. “There is never really a straight answer, it’s always just a guess for them,” he stated.
“This place has some serious potential. No doubt a year from now it will be the spot,” Ozuna said. “I just wish the option to break the lease without penalty would of been presented a lot earlier and the deadlines a little more realistic and truthful.”