Even when it goes perfectly, the process is hardly painless. Still, Elizabeth Williams had high hopes when she arrived at The Edge Apartments in Southeast Austin.
"It's student housing and it sounded so awesome," Williams said.
Monday meant moving day for the Austin Community College student and hundreds of others at the complex.
"Me and my two best friends were supposed to be moving in together," said student Ebony Eberhardt. "It was supposed to be into apartment 721."
But when Eberhardt opened the door, apartment 721 was still occupied.
"There's a dog that has fleas running around," Eberhardt said. "There's spaghetti spots on the carpet. It's filthy."
Take her story and multiply it by more than a hundred.
Some apartments apparently double-booked. Others were as Elizabeth Williams found hers, "It's just trashed," she said. "Words can't describe how disgusting it is."
"One or two dead roaches, I get it, that's life," said Robert Pasier. "This was an infestation."
Williams added, "I haven't even seen crime scenes on TV that are that bad."
It was so bad, Williams pulled out her phone and recorded it. In the kitchen, she found a stove in desperate need of cleaning, followed by filthy countertops and a refrigerator whose contents are best summed up by a gasp and a slamming of the door.
Calls to The Edge Leasing Office were sent straight to voicemail, so when KVUE walked inside to ask management what was going on, employees said no comment and asked news crews to leave. The most common explanation was what Greg Pasier was given after driving from Houston.
"They said that they had vendors that were supposed to re-condition the apartments over the weekend, but the vendors apparently went shopping on tax-free weekend, turned the keys in and said that they did the rehab and never did it," Pasier said.
Pasier did get his daughter's $535 deposit back, the best case scenario in a nightmare that hasn't ended for others.
"I'm just hoping they figure it out," Williams said. "I don't know what else we're going to do."
The apartment's website lists the owning company as Tri-Bridge Residential. Residents who remain displaced say the complex did cancel their leases and promised to reimburse them within 45 days.