Credit: Ananya Chandra

For many at Penn, move-in can take days. Students may have to register guests, transport heavy furniture and unpack a wardrobe large enough to last the entire school year. For some students living at Hamilton Court Apartments this semester, all these tasks will have to be done on Aug. 29 — the first day of classes.

Engineering sophomore Griffin Murphy is going to live on the third floor at HamCo this year, but is prohibited from moving in to his new apartment until Aug. 29. Other students living on his floor and many on the first and second floors are faced with same restriction. 

Move-in has been delayed because of a renovation project that was launched last August by Post Brothers Apartments, the development firm that owns HamCo. The project adds a new two-story building at the center of the residence’s courtyard and redesigns the ground level’s vacant commercial section.

Because of the renovations, HamCo staff told Murphy that he is unable to move in to his apartment until this Tuesday.

“They wouldn't let us move any furniture in beforehand," Murphy said, "so we will need to handle it all once we get out of class that day. My roommates and I all have fairly busy schedules, so we needed to have our move in time at 5 p.m.”

Engineering junior Emmett Neyman said he was almost put in a similar situation. When Neyman first signed his lease for an apartment in HamCo last year, he told HamCo staffers that he was concerned about the move-in date  Aug. 29, but was reportedly reassured that the date could be moved back to “well before classes started.”

Neyman and his roommates soon discovered this wouldn't be possible and that the ongoing construction made the move-in date non-negotiable. Although Neyman managed to switch into a different room that allowed an early move-in, Neyman said he's not sure that other students were able to do the same.

“[My roomates and I] noticed the early move-in date pretty early,” Neyman said. “If other students only realized that move-in was on the first-day of classes in April or May, [HamCo] probably wouldn’t have had open rooms to switch them to.”

Neyman said he was grateful that HamCo staffers were transparent about the situation and helpful in finding him and his roommates another room. Still, Neyman expressed disbelief that HamCo management would schedule a move-in date that coincides with the first day of classes. 

“It’s kind of unreasonable for an apartment complex that is made up of almost exclusively Penn students to have move-in the day classes started,” Neyman added.

Credit: Ananya Chandra

Post Brothers Apartments Asset Manager Joshua Guelbart said move-in dates are stated on all leasing contracts. 

“In the case that someone had a special reason to start their lease earlier than the date that is on their lease, if they tell us that when they are signing the lease, sometimes we can make accommodations for them," Guelbart said. 

“We could look at our schedule and say, ‘Okay, your apartment could be ready by that time, we can make that change, but you’ll have to pay rent from that date,'" Guelbart added. "We’re as accommodating as we can be.”

Guelbart said this is not the first time the move-in date for apartments at HamCo have coincided with the first day of classes, but that this year, there is far less flexibility in changing the move-in date because a number of the apartments are just not ready for move-in. 

“I can certainly understand where people are coming from, moving in on the first day of classes, but no one ever said to us it was an issue before,” Guelbart added. “If it is, we would happily consider not having that be a move-in day, so that people can get in the day before, which would probably be better.” 

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