Future of flood-damaged apartments remains unclear, leaving uninsured students weary
By Darcy Sprague
Senior News Reporter
The flood that hit Hays County May 24 has left many students without a home.
Many Bobcats with water-damaged apartments are now left in a tight spot since flooding is not covered by renters insurance in the State of Texas. The Grove, Aspen Heights, The Heights II, The Avenue and The Lodge at Southwest were all off-campus housing complexes affected or damaged by the flood.
Staff at The Grove and The Heights II were advised to not speak to media.
Emilie Clark, management senior, said her apartment at The Lodge at Southwest was flooded. Clark said she had already re-signed her lease for the upcoming year. She tried to get management to release her from it because of the flooding.
“They laughed in our faces when we said we wanted out of our leases,” Clark said.
Clark is trying to hire an attorney and was told she had to provide a copy of her lease before the practitioner could agree to start on her case.
Brian Parker, owner of Parker and Parker Allstate in San Marcos, said flood insurance is not available from independent companies and has to be purchased through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
He said not many people are likely to have the additional insurance since the area is not a flood zone.
Molly Armstrong, leasing consultant at The Lodge, said there was “quite a bit of damage” done at the complex. Armstrong said she believes The Lodge has flood insurance and construction will not affect the move-in dates of residents.
Apartment complexes are responsible for structural damage, but renters are responsible for anything that may have happened to their personal belongings, Parker said.
Clark said management at The Lodge initially refused to send her a copy of the lease. Clark said management sent her a copy of the original lease, but have not sent her a the renewal for next year.
Management is working with renters on a case-by-case basis to determine which residents are eligible to get out of their leases, Armstrong said. She said all residents are welcome to copies of their leases.
Clark was out of town during the floods and said she did not receive notification from management regarding the weather’s effects.
“(The Lodge at Southwest) could be doing a lot more,” Clark said. “If I wouldn’t have been watching the news, I would not have known it was flooding.”
Armstrong was not present for the flooding so she does not know if residents were notified about potential damage.
“We usually send out emails, text messages and post to our Facebook page,” Armstrong said.
Clark said she did not receive notification of when she needed to vacate her apartment until she went to the office to ask. She said management told her she had to be out of her apartment by Friday and a hotel room would be provided until then.
Clark said she moved out Thursday, and when upon returning Friday the complex was already being demolished.
Clark was offered a room at a sister complex, but it was already full. Management agreed to extend Clark’s hotel stay until May 30 and she stayed with a friend after.
Armstrong said there is not a definite date for when all of the construction would be finished. The 103 displaced current renters have been relocated at no cost of their own, she said.
Kimberly Carpio, exercise and sports science senior, said she looked out of her Aspen Heights apartment window at 2 or 3 a.m. May 24 and saw waters rising.
Carpio said at that point, it was too late to evacuate the apartment. She said the water was so deep that she saw people swimming out of their cars on Aquarena Springs Drive.
Carpio’s apartment was not flooded since she lives on the third floor, but she did lose electricity.
Parker said students should document any damage to their apartment or property and record the date the damage occurred.
State officials are working to compose a plan to reimburse individuals for their flood-related expenses, Parker said. Students can contact their local insurance agent to find out more information.
Students should check in with their insurance agents or FEMA to find out the next step, Parker said. He is unsure what the government will provide in terms of assistance.
“This is even new to me,” Parker said. “I haven’t seen anything like it.”