Every college student is excited to get out on their own. Moving away from home was the first step, living alone in the dorms was step two and then comes the move to an apartment. When you first think of moving into an apartment, parties, booze and boys first come to mind, but what people don’t often think about is what lies behind the fun. What steps does it take to get an apartment?
It all starts with a leasing company. They are possibly one of the most influential aspects to the enjoyment of apartment living. They can make or break your experience. Unfortunately, I’ve had a terrible experience with my leasing company and I’ve only lived in my apartment for a month. It started off on a rocky road right when my roommate moved in. She moved in two days before me. They were aware of her arrival and the apartment was supposedly ready for us (we started paying rent a week before we actually moved in). When she opened the door, the place was a disaster. The apartment looked like it hadn’t been cleaned since the 50′s, with broken windows and glass shards on the floors. Her room was locked from the inside, so she couldn’t even move her stuff into her room. After calling our landlord numerous times, the apartment wasn’t fully cleaned till three days later (with a very loose meaning of “fully cleaned”).
Once we all moved in, the issues kept coming. Our three-bedroom apartment is probably the oldest unit in the complex and has numerous maintenance issues. Our shower knobs make the most painful screeching sound every time you turn them (like nails on a chalkboard). There is still a hole in the main window facing out towards the street in one of the bedrooms. The shelves in our refrigerator are broken and the air conditioning units in the bedrooms barely work. The gate to the apartment complex is stuck and is permanently open, allowing intruders of all kinds easy access to our units. One of the two dryers for the entire complex doesn’t work and our packages go missing within minutes of their delivery.
I can’t help but wonder if young adults living in apartments all over have the same issues with leasing companies or if they specifically treat college students differently. They know that even if they don’t answer our maintenance requests and listen to our complaints we will still continue to do business with them year after year because we don’t have a choice. There are limited apartment complexes around college campuses, especially USC, so everyone uses the same companies despite their reputations. In a dangerous area, like South-Central Los Angeles, location was my main priority when searching for housing. But is good location really worth bad service? Am I really safer in a closer apartment with broken windows and an open gate or would living farther from campus be safer if it’s a better leasing company?
This service is just unacceptable and we have to remember we have rights. We legally have rights as tenants, students or not, and we should take legal action if we aren’t treated correctly. Leasing companies need to learn that age doesn’t matter and every tenant should be treated the same. Thanks to Maria Iacobo, Director of Public Relations for the USC Law School, here is a tenants rights listing of lawyers who can help remind you of your rights as a tenant and help deal with landlords. Take action!
Have you had any issues with your leasing company? Is this normal or am I an unusual case?