In Memphis and across the nation, people are experiencing rent increases in apartments and houses, while living conditions are becoming unacceptable.
Since rent is skyrocketing, finding a decent affordable place to live is a challenge. While the on-campus apartments The Nine appear to be new and modern, the living conditions and poor administration aren’t worth the short walk to campus.
John Saches and Linker Santacruz are foreign exchange students who traveled to Memphis three months ago from Germany to attend the University of Memphis. Both young men are soccer players and juniors at the U of M. “We moved into The Nine because it is walking distance from campus,” Santacruz said. The students do not have reliable transportation, so moving close to campus was their only choice.
Sanches and Santacruz said management at the Nine were unprofessional, and that the property owner charged them for two months' rent. Management did not refund their money back. “We literally spent $1,200 in one month and our monthly rent is only $600,” he said.
Kobe Brassel, a junior at the University of Memphis and a tenant at the Nine Apartments, has issues with management as well. Brassel said property owners never update the tenants on what is happening in the apartments, or clean the building as well. He also noted that the hallway outside of his apartment has a foul odor.
A reporter with the Daily Helmsmen reached out to management at the Nine on multiple attempts and no one has gotten in touch. The reporter called and emailed the apartments to set up an appointment with authorities here, but they denied going on the record.
Resident living conditions are out of control. Sanches and Santacruz were supposed to move into their apartment on August 1, 2022, but when they arrived the apartment wasn’t ready. “My friend and I had to live at a hotel until August 19,” Santacruz said. Sanches says he doesn't feel comfortable in his bedroom, adding that he has a hole in his bedroom wall as big as grapefruit. "This hole has been noticeable since I moved in,” Sanchez said. “I have contacted maintenance several times, and no one has come to fix it.”
The students interviewed chose these apartments specifically because they are close to campus. It is beneficial because it allows them to have easy access to academic resources, access to classrooms, dining halls, and faculty offices, likely improving grades. Even though these students are experiencing poor living conditions, their education means the most to them.
Brassel said management made it clear that residents who paid for a $75 parking pass can park inside the gate. Brassel bought a parking pass to park in this lot, one day found that his car was towed. “I told management at the Nine about this issue, and I didn’t get my money back,” Brassel said.
Siddhartha Chilvery, a sophomore at the University of Memphis, lives at the Nine as well. Chilvery expressed that it is hard for him to concentrate on his schoolwork because he can hear everything from his neighbor's apartment. “The walls are so thin, I can hear my neighbor's thoughts” Chilvery said. He struggles concentrating on his schoolwork because of the disturbing sounds for his neighbor's apartment, hearing other people's conversations, music, and footsteps. “It’s a big distraction, and stops me from completing anything,” Chilvery said.
Some college students are simply not making enough money to find a nice apartment, and they often have to settle. Others are still being taken care of by parents, or simply don’t work, meaning students must move into apartments that work within their budget. It’s up to students to decide if the proximity to campus is worth the risk of a towed car, negligent administration, unclean facilities and dilapidated housing.