Rising College sophomore Jackson Baker has been carrying his towel to the first week of summer classes. Baker is not tanning in his spare time; he just doesn't have a better place to keep it.
The first session of Penn's summer classes began on Monday, May 22. Baker's sublet from the popular real estate company Campus Apartments, however, will begin over a week later, on June 1.
He's spending those 11 nights on different couches.
Baker isn't alone in this. Many other Penn students staying in off-campus housing for the summer have found themselves in similar situations.
Rising College junior Kerry Hollis has been subletting from a friend who was able to move in early, until her own lease begins. Rising College sophomore Daniel Edman has been staying with a friend as well.
Leasing specialist for Campus Apartments Brianna Sotomayor explained that the company always begins its leases on the first day of a month to avoid confusion. She said their full-year leases run 360 days, from June 1 to May 25.
“It really isn’t our fault that the classes started way before the leases would actually begin,” she said.
Sotomayor added that the company tries to work with Penn's academic calendar, but cannot start its leases in the middle of the month. She said Campus Apartments has no affiliation to any university, so it has no say in when courses start or when leases begin in accordance.
Nevertheless, this complication has caused some students to change their summer plans.
Rising College and Engineering sophomore Dakota Wallach starts working in a Penn research lab on June 5. He was hoping to take classes in the first session of the summer term, which finishes at the end of June, so that he could minimize the period where he had to balance both work and classes.
Because Wallach couldn't find temporary housing for the period before his move-in date, he decided instead to take his summer courses during the second session, which starts on June 29.
Sotomayor also noted that sometimes students know the previous tenants of their houses and can arrange early move-in if the house empty. She said that these informal arrangements spare Campus Apartments many complaints about subletting before June 1.
Some students said there have been instances where Campus Apartments did not allow the early move-in.
Baker said he chose to sublet from a friend over the summer since off-campus living is less expensive and the fraternity house he will be living in for the coming academic year is closed.
When he arranged this sublet, Baker's friend said he could move in on the day before classes. However, Campus Apartments did not allow him to move in early because the first floor carpets of the house were being redone. He only found this out after he had made the agreement with his friend.
“I can’t really go anywhere,” Baker said. “I would usually go home to a nice comfortable house but instead I was sitting in Frontera for a while and I thought, hey, I could take a nap in the basement of VP, take off my shoes, charge my stuff."
Hollis’s house does not belong to Campus Apartments, but her landlord still holds to the June 1 lease date. She thought he would let her move in early, but instead she said he “made a huge deal of it,” citing that he needed to do repairs.
Wallach said Penn did not do a good job of clarifying the on-campus living options for the summer. Baker agreed, adding that he did not know if dorms were even an option. He remembered receiving one email from Penn that he said did not contain a great deal of information.
Right now, the students are thankful for their friends who have helped them while their housing was in limbo.
“I’m getting by with the help of very nice friends,” Baker said.
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