Several Florida A&M University students are still trying to get their lives back on track, after being informed they would have to vacate the premises of seven apartment complexes, formerly owned by Booth Properties.
Asset Campus Housing, hired to manage the newly foreclosed properties, made the decision to close the properties on the Southside. They informed students on Sept. 12 that they would have until Oct. 12 to find housing arrangements or be faced with eviction.
“I was shocked and surprised. I didn’t know what to do, being a pharmacy student, it’s hard for me to find time,” said O’lalekan Fasonu, 21, a fifth-year pharmacy student from Tampa.
Students were told by Booth Properties they would be assisted in finding a suitable accommodation around town or be able to transfer their lease to another complex owned by Booth
In an e-mail from marketing and leasing director of Booth Companies, Camaray Sherwin, she said:
“As soon as Booth Companies heard of the notice that was given by ACH to the 50 residents, they responded with transfer options for those residents.”
Booth has offered several locations that the residents can transfer to for the same rental rate and lease term, according to the e-mail. It said that the staff at Booth Companies was ready and able to assist the residents with finding apartments at other Booth locations and to make this move as easy as possible.
The email also said that Booth Companies had sent out notices to residents letting them know about the communities they can transfer to for no additional cost. The residents that Booth Companies had current contact information were called and told about the transfer options.
However, some students claim Booth Properties is not keeping its word.
“They said they were going to help us, but they stopped calling us after awhile, as a matter of fact I’m trying to call them to help us move but I haven’t gotten a response back,” said Barbara Charles, 21, a junior broadcast journalism student from Ft. Lauderdale.
With many of its tenants gone, the Cottages of Magnolia, one of the seven properties undergoing foreclosure, has become a haven for crime evident by the broken windows and boarded up doors.
“People are breaking into the apartments taking furniture and dealing drugs, because there is no security, it’s like a ghost town,” said Fasonu.
Although some students are upset about being uprooted from their homes, others feel differently about the situation.
“It really didn’t bother because I really wanted to leave anyway,” said Kyle Flowers, 22, graphic design student from New York. “Don’t get me wrong the situation was still messed up, but I’m not bitter.”
Despite the ordeal, Fasonu is still optimistic about the future.
“With God, anything is possible. I actually just found a place to stay,” Fasonu said.