Welcome Home, Suckers
I’m moving out of a certain Gainesville housing superpower after two years.
Like so many apartments, they exaggerate how close they are to campus and parking at their properties is the largest collective nightmare since Paul Blart Mall Cop 2.
I could name the company, but it doesn’t matter where this happened. Moving seems to be notoriously stressful for Gainesville students, which I couldn’t relate to until now.
Life in my first apartment was quiet. My roommate and I didn’t punch holes in our walls, so no one came to rip holes in our wallets.
Generic Housing Company, my roommate and I had nothing to talk about until their biggest holiday of the year arrived: lease renewal. Cue the pursuit of office people in rolly chairs leaving daily voicemails and flooding your place with advertisements.
Renewing your lease is like extending an olive branch to your apartment for another year. Once they confirm that you’re not going anywhere, you return to your anonymous life the way you did after the popular kid copied your homework in high school.
I didn’t renew my lease, so as far as my complex is concerned, I’m dead. Instead of mourning my figurative death, it’s like they’ve shaken free from a toxic relationship.
This sentiment isn’t entirely one-sided. My apartment company had switched from Friendly Neighborhood Landlord to Resident Overlord long ago. After my roommate and I signed the lease for another year at our first apartment, we asked if they could clean the carpet like they would for the people moving out. They said no.
Although the company issued routine maintenance checks that caught me in my pajamas more than I care to remember, they rarely stopped by unless you submitted a service request. That year, I summoned maintenance for everything from problems with the refrigerator to a freaking mold sanctuary growing on my windowsill. They typically used the most temporary solution possible.
Cut to a few weeks until I’m due to move, and I’m suddenly ripping notices off of my door all the time. “Routine Maintenance Check Tomorrow,” “Testing the fire alarm — for the tenth time this week,” “Maintenance thinks your bathrobe is fierce,” you know the drills.
This phenomenon pointed to one thing: they were primping the building for incoming suckers.
The weekend before I moved out, I woke up to maintenance in my living room. They went into TLC overdrive and reported problems to me that other maintenance men had already claimed to “fix.”
I returned the following weekend to find things like a brand new washing machine and a fan that didn’t screech.
Okay, so this is just my story. But with moving being as common as it is in a place like Gainesville, too many people have bad experiences. We all know someone who has been homeless for a week or two waiting for a lease to start.
Moving is crazy to begin with, and I feel like a lot of apartments don’t make it easier because they are too busy welcoming a new herd of sheep with an open arm — the other arm is behind their backs holding trimming shears.
What do I want, a fruit basket for the road? No. I mean, yes, but I’m a realist. A lot of us may be moving someplace new, but we still invested in the companies we’re leaving. Apartments could make it more of a point to gracefully see their old residents out while they prep for the new ones.
Guess I’ll just have to bury my feelings for my former place into the awesome welcome basket I found in my new apartment.
Let us enjoy this time, while our apartments are the cleanest they will ever be, and this is probably the nicest we will be treated.
If I’ve learned one thing from moving, it’s this: sometimes, being the new kid is awesome.
Featured photo courtesy of: discountedmoving