Ayesha Asad
Mercury Staff

Housing officials point to maintenance efforts in light of complaints

After numerous complaints on the UTD subreddit about bugs, mold, rust and AC malfunctions in University Village apartments, housing officials are raising awareness for resources available to campus residents, as well as ongoing maintenance efforts. 

One user mentioned that a raccoon had been in their apartment, and pest control had not taken the issue seriously.

Dong Sung Jang, a biology sophomore, said he was disappointed with his UV experience after moving in on Aug. 18. 

“The first thing I saw was the rusty sink, the moldy restroom and the not-functioning dishwasher,” he said. It was also dirty, with a lot of bugs like mosquitoes, cockroaches and spiders. The AC was dead, so we had to stay for two or three days with 95 degree (weather) out there, so it was a mess.”

Jang mentioned that after maintenance fixed his AC, cooling water from the AC unit began to fall from the restroom’s ceiling on top of his bath. 

“Whenever we shower, we have to endure cold water falling down above us,” he said. 

Jang said he put in work orders for the bug and mold issues, and has been waiting more than two weeks for a response for the mold problem.

Matthew Grief, Associate vice president for Student Affairs, said that prior to move-in, apartments will have maintenance personnel, contractors and cleaning companies prepare the units. After that process is complete, UV staff will conduct walk-throughs to ensure the apartments are ready.

“We just want to make sure that the best environment is there for them,” Grief said. “Are there times when we might have missed something? Yes, there are opportunities where we might have missed something, might’ve missed a bathtub being clean enough, or a kitchen being clean enough, but if we find that during move-in, and the student’s concern is brought to us, we would immediately address it.”

Computer science junior Jamie Harris has been living in UV for two years and said that he has had immediate issues with every apartment he lived in.

“This year, I’m the only person who can open our front door, because it is so badly fitted that it gets stuck,” Harris said. “Our mailbox key doesn’t work because the lock is broken, and both of these issues I can see from the work orders have been (persisting issues) since last year, and I know I’ve had similar issues in my last apartment.”

Harris also mentioned that he had been seeing a couple of roaches per day in his apartment. Although Harris contacted UV maintenance and put in work orders for the door and the mailbox on August 20, he said he hadn’t received any response for them. 

“In general, when you submit a work order, you don’t hear anything till somebody shows up at your doorstep and looks at the problem,” Harris said. “This presents a lot of problems and is incredibly inefficient.” 

Grief said that communication in the UV department is very efficient, with a goal of a 48-hour turnaround time on maintenance requests. 

“That doesn’t always happen, like right now, we have probably around 800 maintenance requests out in the queue of different things that need to be fixed, touched up, repaired, whatever the case may be,” he said. “But we typically will operate off a 48-hour turnaround once the move-in work orders slow down. Air conditioner units — it’s an emergency; we immediately address it — any kind of flood situation, water infiltration — we’re going to address it pretty quickly.”

Grief said that students can report work orders by either calling the office or entering it into their residential portal, and can keep up to date on any housing communication through their UTD email. 

“We have the emails that go out to students when we’re communicating about a major thing on campus, major project or major event that they need to be aware of,” Grief said. “As far as communication follow up with students — telephone calls — we ask our staff to follow up with certain students if there’s going to be an issue or a delay with repair.”

 The apartment complexes are also aging, Grief said. University Housing spent $3 million dollars this last year on maintenance projects and equipment, he said, and 59 air conditioning units had been replaced this summer. This fall, 400 air conditioning units will be replaced. With 5,500 students living in UV apartments, Grief said it’s a big operation.

“We want a place where students can feel like this is their temporary home,” he said. “They’re here from nine months, to a year, to sometimes several years. We want them to feel comfortable — somewhere they can sleep, study, make new friends and be successful.”