AUSTIN (KXAN) – Ahead of classes starting Monday, Aug. 21, at UT Austin, hundreds of students were told that they couldn’t move into their new building for another week.

The Rambler is a student apartment complex with over 215 units – floor plans ranging from studios to six-bedroom apartments. Many of the new residents had move-in dates scheduled for the morning of Friday, Aug. 18. But late Thursday night at around 11:00 p.m. – hours before some were planning to move – a Rambler spokesperson sent out an email saying the building had failed a fire inspection and students wouldn’t be able to move in until Saturday, Aug 26. 

“This situation – it just sucks,” said Sloan Rigamonti, a senior at UT Austin. “They managed to tell us [around] 24 hours before move-in that our move-in was delayed by a minimum of a week.”

“Basically, my night last night was [going] to bed at 3:00 a.m. because I was worried that I didn’t know where I was going to live,” Rigamonti continued. 

And she’s not alone. Several students and families have told KXAN they are in similar positions – worried about their living situations when they could be preparing for the new school year. 

In a statement to KXAN, a Rambler spokesperson said they “extend our heartfelt apologies to our residents and families. We are working days, nights and weekends to move students in as quickly as possible,” the statement read. 

In the meantime, Rambler is offering $200 per day, “abated” rent until move-in, and up to $500 for travel and moving expenses. Their website also lists options for hotels students left without dwellings can look into. 

Rigamonti said she is able to stay with her boyfriend but worries the stipend won’t cover hotel costs for the many without a place to stay. 

“I guarantee it won’t cover it unless the hotel is just willing to give you a deal if you’re there for a week,” Rigamonti said. “For UT Parents Weekend, I’m very familiar with how expensive the hotels are. I mean, you’re barely going to cover the cost of the hotel,” she continued. 

The City of Austin Development Services Department confirmed that the Rambler failed to pass a fire inspection on Thursday. The Rambler spokesperson said they have another fire inspection on the books with the Austin Fire Department for Monday.

The city said after the Rambler passes the fire inspection, “the last step is for the building to pass a final inspection to receive its temporary certificate of occupancy,” a city spokesperson said. 

Rigamonti said as early as last Spring, she was worried that the building wouldn’t be ready for move-in come August. She said she wished they would have been more communicative throughout the process. 

“I wouldn’t have been mad if I couldn’t move into my place as long as I had enough time to plan a situation for all of my roommates. That could have been maybe a little better,” Rigamonti said.

Regrettably, Rambler move-in is delayed until Saturday, August 26. Our Temporary Certificate of Occupancy (TCO) is pending final fire inspection from the city. We passed all permits including mechanical, electrical, plumbing and health for the building shell, dwelling units for all floors, pool, garage, right-of-way and environmental. The city is working with us including coming after hours for inspection. We are taking immediate steps to remedy the items required for approval and have an inspection scheduled for Monday, August 21.

We are working closely with residents to answer their questions and ensure their needs are met until we receive approval for move-in. We are providing $200 per day in the form of a digital gift card or rent credit, abated rent until move-in, and up to $500 reimbursement for travel, moving or storage expenses during this time.

We extend our heartfelt apologies to our residents and families. We are working days, nights and weekends to move students in as quickly as possible.

–Rambler Austin, Friday, August 18, 2023