Boise & Garden City

Boise State housing rush leads to displaced students

Brian Mosich of Eagle was shocked when the apartment complex near Boise State University called to say it would not honor a lease for his daughter, 18-year-old freshman Jordan Mosich, just weeks before classes begin.
Brian Mosich of Eagle was shocked when the apartment complex near Boise State University called to say it would not honor a lease for his daughter, 18-year-old freshman Jordan Mosich, just weeks before classes begin. doswald@idahostatesman.com

Boise State University’s efforts to house students this year set in motion events that pushed at least one student — and perhaps many more — out of her apartment.

Did you lose your lease in the Vista West or River Edge complex? Email sberg@idahostatesman.com.

Sheryl Mosich, who lives in Eagle, signed a 12-month lease in early June for an apartment in Vista West, a new complex at 1570 S. Lusk Place near BSU’s campus. Mosich’s 18-year-old daughter Jordan, who graduated from Eagle High School this year, was supposed to move in this week and start college classes Aug. 22.

The family was excited. They thought they’d found the ideal place for Jordan to begin her college career — a short walk from campus but independent of the dorm scene.

In mid-July, though, a representative of Vista West called to tell them the apartment’s managers were rescinding Jordan’s lease. Why? Because BSU, facing new demand for on-campus housing, had signed a contract to lease space for more than 100 students in Vista West.

Instead of excited, the family was now shocked and angry. They wondered how this could happen after they’d signed a lease for the apartment. And where could they turn for another apartment in a tight housing market and so little time left before school?

Brian Mosich, Jordan’s father, said he demanded answers from Vista West’s managers, but got nowhere. He said the managers claimed a clause in the lease allowed them to terminate it. He disagrees.

“I’m hoping more to bring the light of day to this — that these people don’t treat other people like this,” he said.

UNEXPECTED DEMAND

It turns out BSU is leasing apartment space for 270 students in Vista West and River Edge, another student-oriented apartment complex just west of campus, according to an email from the university’s office of communication and marketing.

The contracts are for this academic year only, according to the email, and are helping meet “high demand for on-campus housing we are facing.” Students that live in them will pay the same rates as they would if they lived in University Suites, BSU spokeswoman Sherry Squires said in an email.

This year’s demand for housing must have caught the university by surprise. In spring 2015, BSU housing director Dean Kennedy openly doubted the need for 541 apartments —with space for some 1,500 students — in four buildings that were under construction west of campus.

“Not only do I not think we have enough students to fill those beds in the next couple years; even if we did have those students, I’m concerned about their ability to pay,” Kennedy told the Statesman.

Vista West and River Edge were two of those buildings. The other two are Vista East, managed by the same group as Vista West, and La Pointe, located on La Pointe Street.

Today, almost all of the living space in all four buildings has been leased, and at prices near the top of the market in dollars-per-square-foot terms.

Pressure on campus housing should be relieved next year. BSU is scheduled to complete the Honors College and First-Year Residence Hall in 2017, providing living space for an additional 656 students.

STILL LOOKING

It’s unclear how many BSU students suffered Jordan Mosich’s fate.

Brian Mosich said a Vista West representative told him some tenants who had already moved in were forced to leave after the complex leased their space to the university. The Statesman could not confirm that. River Edge and Vista West representatives either declined to comment or did not return phone calls and emails.

Mosich doesn’t put too much blame on the university.

“There’s always unintended consequences when you make last-minute decisions,” he said. “I don’t know if they factored that in.”

Jordan Mosich said her experience has left her with a bad taste in her mouth.

“I wouldn’t live (in Vista West) even if they called me and said my room came available,” she said. “I’m not really that excited for college anymore because I don’t know what to do. I was excited to live with other students and now I’m just, like, bummed.”

She and her family are still looking for a place for her to live when school starts. So far, other private apartments haven’t presented an appealing solution.

Jordan said she doesn’t have anything against living in BSU’s dormitories, but they aren’t right for her. Partly, that’s because she’d have to buy a meal plan. She’s worried that would clash with her no-gluten, almost-no-meat diet.

“I like to make sure I’m eating somewhat decent, and I know if I’m on a meal plan I can’t always do that,” she said.

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