Despite offering a multitude of new incentives for prospective residents, Lobo Village and its parent company, American Campus Communities, remain hush-hush on what that means in terms of the south campus community’s vacancy.
Over the past several weeks, ads that offer $50 gift certificates to students who sign leases with Lobo Village have appeared in the Daily Lobo. The ads also say students will save $205 in fees upon signing up and that summer and short-term leases are now available. Short-term leases last for the 10 months of the school year, while full-time leases last for an entire year.
Lobo Village representatives have also been tabling for a number of weeks in the SUB with a hot pink gorilla mascot.
Lobo Village is an apartment complex for UNM students that is owned and operated by American Campus Communities (ACC), a company that operates student housing complexes around the country. Lobo Village opened in the fall 2011 semester. The following year, ACC opened Casas del Rio on main campus, which offers dorm-style housing.
According to a Daily Lobo report from March 2011, the monthly rent per bedroom in Lobo Village at the time was $499 per month, in addition to a $75 application fee, a $150 damage deposit, a $125 transportation fee, a monthly electric bill and undisclosed fees for late payment of rent.
But according to Lobo Village’s website, rent in the housing complex is $539 per month with a limited-time $25 application fee.
Lobo Village’s website does not specify how those additional fees have changed between then and now, and ACC has since enacted a policy that mandates Lobo Village and Casas del Rio employees not speak to the media. All media inquiries must go directly to ACC’s corporate offices.
A statement from ACC’s Leasing Manager David Conway said even though short-term leases are offered to new residents, Lobo Village works with students who need to opt out of their contracts because they intend to graduate.
“You would have a higher rate, but you would essentially be paying the same total contract amount as the full-time lease,” Conway said. “What we’re finding is some people want that option for graduation.”
Archived editions of the Daily Lobo indicate Lobo Village has never before advertised incentives to sign leases. As of press time, ACC had still not reached the Daily Lobo with regard to questions on this issue.
A number of classified ads also appear in the Daily Lobo placed by students who are looking for other students to take over the leases they currently have.
Bailey Wilder, a current resident of Lobo Village, said she will not renew her lease because she feels the rules there are overbearing.
“I thought it was going to be a little bit more relaxed and that the atmosphere would be grown-up college students, not still-under-restriction college students,” she said. “I feel like I’m being babysat.”
Wilder said that at one point during the fall semester, she had no water in her apartment for two days.
“We called and they never directed us toward anyone who was upper management,” she said.
But Wilder said she won’t try to terminate her contract early because of the steep fees involved with doing so.
“The fee to dis-enroll with Lobo Village is seriously as much as you would be paying if you stayed your whole lease,” she said. “So unless you find someone to cover your lease, it’s the worst thing ever.”
Student Amanda Pabian said she won’t renew her lease either. She said staff at Lobo Village are disorganized.
“The front desk is terrible, and they don’t help you at all,” she said. “If you ask to talk to a manager they try to discourage it. And no one knows what they’re talking about.”
She said Lobo Village misleads students in terms of parking fees. She said permits to park at Lobo Village cost more than $100.
“They don’t tell you that you have to pay for it, they act like it’s included,” she said.
But Pabian said Lobo Village isn’t all bad.
“It’s nice having your own bathroom,” she said. “And it’s still fairly new, so it’s clean.”
Student Dillion Cline, a resident at Casas del Rio, said that although he enjoyed living at Casas, he plans to transfer to Lobo Village in the fall.
“Lobo Village seems like a good transition from dorm to apartment,” he said. “It might be expensive, but they’re really nice.”