UMD students scramble to find housing after abrupt selling of Knox Box Apartments

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (WJLA) – Some University of Maryland students could soon be looking for somewhere new to live this fall; the well-known Knox Box Apartments in College Park might not be there later this year.

Sam Jinadu is like scores of other UMD students, who may soon be out on the street.

“We’re kind of in the dark right now in terms of what’s going on,” he said. “If we have to move out, where do we go?”

Signs have been posted stating that all Knox Box properties have been sold, and that the sale would be completed by Thursday.

“I’m going to school in less than a month,” said UMD student Andrew Domhan. “I go to the University of Maryland and it’s right across the street, and now I have to go find a place to live.”

There are reports that the new owners’ plan is to tear down the existing apartments, sooner rather than later, and build a new development, which would first require terminating the leases of all current occupants.

For years, the Knox Box Apartments have filled up in the late summer and early fall with UMD upperclassmen gearing up for a new semester.

Erin Hood showed ABC 7 News a copy of her lease; on the second page is a clause stating that if the building is sold, the new landlord has the right to terminate and residents have 90 days to vacate the apartment.

“I just signed a lease with them at the end of May … and they gave us no indication that this would happen,” Hood said.

There is already a huge housing crunch both on and off campus at UMD, and this could add to the problem. With the new school year starting in just a few weeks, these students who were enjoying the freedom of off-campus living might have to scramble to find a place to live.

“This is people’s lives,” Jinadu said. “Where am I supposed to live? I don’t have money to just drop on a new house that easily.”

ABC 7 News contacted the developer that is reportedly taking over the property and received no response.