Identity Dinkytown remains unfinished, unsent paperwork may cause more move-in delays
Identity Dinkytown, the massive student housing complex just off the University of Minnesota campus, is where Amelia Carrizales should be living.
Instead, she says, she’s in housing limbo.
“I can’t get out of my lease,” the university junior, a pre-med student, explains. “I’m stuck living in another apartment, potentially paying two rents.”
Carrizales and her two roommates are among hundreds of students who thought they’d be able to move in by August 27th, well before the start of fall classes.
Instead, because of construction delays, she’s been living in an apartment several blocks away, unsure of what’s next.
“We’re again in limbo,” Amela’s mother Kirsten, notes. “Trying to figure out what is happening, and so we wait.”
On Tuesday, the City of Minneapolis issued a temporary certificate of occupancy to the building’s Delaware-based owner, CA Student Living Dinkytown II, LLC.
The certificate essentially says that building inspectors have found the fourth, fifth, and six floors, and well as two parking facilities, and a common area on the first floor, safe for tenants to live in and use.
But no one can move in just yet.
That’s because the city says it’s been waiting since August 24th for required paperwork from the owner, including documentation that they are indeed legitimate owners of the building.
Kirsten Carrizalas says she’s not happy with the holdup.
“I know they do this for a living, but it just seems basic stuff to have your paperwork in order,” she declares. “And we’re the victims of not having it in order.”
This latest development follows a lawsuit filed on August 18th on behalf of three student tenants.
The filing says CA Student Living Dinkytown II, LLC ‘has long known that the apartment would not be habitable in time for commencement of the leases, but concealed this information from tenants, by claiming ignorance of the expected construction completion date when tenants inquired into it.’
Payment of the first month’s rent, the lawsuit says, was due on August 1st and that tenants were informed about the delay the very next day.
When 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS first reported about the lawsuit earlier this month, a spokesperson for the owner issued a statement, which said in part:
“We understand that the delay is disappointing and inconvenient for students. We want students’ experience with Identity Dinkytown to be seamless and this isn’t how we wanted to start our journey together. We are focused on getting doors opened, and student moved in as quickly as possible and providing students with regular updates until then.”
5 EYEWITNESS NEWS reached out to the owners on Tuesday about the reported paperwork delays but haven’t heard back.
A city spokesperson says documentation from the owner is needed to issue a rental license, before people can move in.
“The city received a rental license application, but the applicant was told August 24th that additional documentation was needed before the license could be approved. The city has yet to receive that documentation,” according to a written statement.
Kirsten Carrizales says she received an email late Tuesday from the owner, saying there is a move-in target date for this Friday for people living on the fourth, fifth, and sixth floors.
Amelia conceded the owner has been helpful, including providing gift cards for rent at other apartment facilities.
Identity Dinkytown says it’s offered students unable to move in on their expected date $150-per-day gift cards and rent abatement, or $80-per-day gift cards and housing in a hotel.
Still, Amelia says she’s frustrated with the process and the uncertainty.
“This week, we got less money because we’re supposed to move in at the end of the week,” she explains. “I feel like if they’re being more communicative and being honest with these updates as well, it would be a lot smoother process.”
Students have told us they’re not being charged to stay at Identity Dinkytown until they move in, but say once that happens, they’ll have to pay rent for ninety days before they can get out of their lease.
The uncertainty has been difficult for the mother and daughter, they say.
“My daughter’s pre-med and has a tough schedule,” Kristen notes. “Plus, there’s college life. It’s disruptive to the mom and dad.”
Amelia says it’s a cautionary tale for any college student to do extra research into a prospective landlord before signing anything.
“Even back through August, I called every couple of weeks to say, hey, are we still on track to move in and stuff,” Amelia recalls. “Every time they said, we’re still on track.”