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UT students wait outside for another day to sign an apartment lease for next year

By the end of September, most student apartments on Cumberland Avenue will be sold out for the 2023-2024 school year.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Although the first day isn't for ten months, some apartments within walking distance of the University of Tennessee campus are nearly sold out for the 2023- 2024 school year. 

According to some students, it's a competitive process to get nearby housing.

"It's really hard to get sophomore housing. Just housing, in general, is really hard," said Madison Andersen, a freshman at the University of Tennessee.

Andersen is a part of the biggest freshman class in the University of Tennessee history. There are nearly 6,300 new students this year. 

"There are so many freshmen and it's such a big class, we already had to start thinking of who we want to live with and where we want to live," Andersen said.

Andersen met Bella Fox in their dorm building. They decided to live together and plan for sophomore housing. They didn't think twice about where they wanted to be.

"The TENN. The location is perfect. It's right on the strip," Andersen said.

But, in order to secure a spot in the building, the girls had to spend a night outside of it.

"We waited in line for I think, like 17 hours, or something like that," Andersen said.

"Yes, 17 hours. We did 8-hour shifts with our other roommates," Fox said.

The line for leasing at the TENN apartments stretched from the door, all the way down the block. Andersen and Fox said some students got there at 5:30 p.m. on Sunday night to wait for the leasing office to open at 10 a.m. on Monday.

Andersen and Fox said they got there around 5:45 p.m. and were near the front of the line.

"We sat, literally like laying on the ground," Andersen said.

"Some people brought chairs, like pull-out chairs, mattresses, tables, and like everyone was like camped out in their pajamas," Fox said.

The girls said all of this happened on Sunday, September 18, which was the night before some UT classes held their midterm exams.

Andersen said she had to bring her laptop to study for a math midterm while waiting in line. Fox sent 10News a video, which shows other students brought their homework, too.

Credit: Bella Fox

The girls said it was worth waiting in the 17-hour line. They secured a lease for a five-bedroom apartment. 

The reason they wanted a spot in this complex was due to its location, they said. The TENN is about a 7-minute walk from the UT campus. It is also located on Cumberland Avenue, where lots of student life takes place. It is filled with bars, restaurants and stores.

"Parking on campus is really hard to find and so walking to class, it's just more convenient," Fox said.

Andersen and Fox said they got lucky. But, the last person in line probably does not feel the same way.

"One of my friends did not get an apartment. She told me that she had gotten there at 6:30 p.m., which was just 30 minutes after us, and didn't get an apartment," Fox said. "Like, that's crazy how fast everyone got there."

For that unlucky student, the housing search continues. But, Andersen and Fox are relieved.

"I just felt like a giant brick was lifted off my shoulder," Andersen said.

"I feel the same way," Fox said.

10News has been communicating with the corporation that owns TENN apartments. However, they have not responded with a comment for this story.

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