KU students say they’re homeless after apartment complex fails to open on time

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LAWRENCE, Kan. -- It's a back-to-school nightmare for some students at the University of Kansas. Their housing plans are on hold because the Lawrence apartment complex scheduled to open for KU students failed to get its occupancy permit.

Students say it's not a good start to the school year.

The students who are supposed to be moving in to the HERE apartment complex said the delay is just adding to the stress of all the things they have to do before school starts.

“School's right around the corner, and we kind of have to get into the groove of things,” said 22-year-old Henry Kay, a lessee of the complex. “It's a big bummer, it's kind of hard to process, especially as the days go on, it keeps getting further and further.”

Kay is starting his junior year at KU, and said the move-in date for his apartment keeps changing.

“Everybody has all their stuff, and everything, it's mayhem right now,” Kay said. “My car is full of stuff. It's to the brim, parked on the side of the street.”

Kay said he was told he could move in Wednesday, but got an email from the here apartment complex that the building did not receive its certificate of occupancy, so no one was able to move in.

“They tried to put us all in other places, but everything is full in Lawrence. We were late, so  we didn't have anywhere to stay, so we got to stay at friends’ houses, luckily,” added Kay. “One of my friends is going to be pretty stranded today. He was fine yesterday, but now his parents are leaving and they're supposed to bring the U-Haul and everything back, and now he's a sitting duck. It's just kind of a frenzy, you know, find a place to stay, wherever you can.”

The city of Lawrence said the contractor is currently working to fix basic safety issues -- fire separation, exterior conditions, emergency egress, emergency exiting and general electrical issues scattered throughout units -- all part of building codes which all contractors are required to follow. The street is also not complete.

The city inspects twice a day to see if the issues have been fixed to issue a certificate of occupancy.

“The out of state people, they're really getting screwed over. They have all their stuff, nowhere to go, and all these hotels are already filled, so they're really just out of luck,” Kay added.

Kay, who is staying at a friend’s house down the street, hopes his buddy’s couch doesn’t have an expiration date.

“I hope, I hope, or I'm out of luck,” Kay said.

Students said they're being told they might be able to move in later today, or as late as Sunday.

In an email to future tenants, HERE management said they will be reimbursing all costs incurred with this delay. They will also be crediting rent to their account for the month of August.

CA Student Living, the developer of the HERE complex, released a statement to FOX 4 on the issue.

“We are taking the necessary steps to fulfill the city’s requirements for occupancy. In addition to waiving rental fees for the entire month of August, we have provided alternative lodging options to ensure our future residents are comfortable during this interim period.”