The Changing of the Guard and Yet another Leak
My last round of updates left us at around July 6th with my dishwasher in parts and leaking all over the basement. That was finally patched on the 6th late. I felt poorly for the maintenance guy, it really wasn’t his fault, but he was fixing someone else’s mistake. The level of unprofessionalism that the Residences at Bexley Woods shows is really above and beyond anything I’ve ever experienced and that included really cheap college apartments in West Laf during my undergrad.
July was a frustrating month of false promise. To even begin to understand that, I’ll have to take a step back in time and explain three different management companies (since March when I moved in) New Life, Heather Glenn, and now McKinley have all taken up the “management” mantel. Each one seems to be doing a pretty poor job.
I’m big on communication. When I was a manager I was as transparent as possible, when I do work, I’m transparent as possible. I was raised to value communication. When I come into a situation I expect open, honest, and transparent communication. I expect to have statements backed up with proof and facts. (My mother never once used the phrase “because I said so” if we disagreed, she’d make me look up facts to argue my side and she would present a counter argument.)
No one in charge of the Residences at Bexley Woods has been able to do anything resembling transparent communication. Anyone that knows me, personally, knows that the one way to piss me off fastest is to not do what you promised me you would. I don’t need my issue solved, but if you say you will contact me and update me DO IT. A “hey, we’re sorry, but we are still sorting through Issue X, Y, and Z. We will call you back on Date” would have totally diffused me.
New Life would outright lie. Saying they would put in work orders, or that they promised to call back the next day. They didn’t and wouldn’t. At least they always answered the phone. The biggest frustration for me was the “emergency” line. I used it three times, never once was my call even acknowledged. I had to follow up sometimes three times (in the case of the dishwasher) to get anything handled or fixed. Every time I called about an issue they lost the paperwork, or it was never put in. “Well we have 30 days to do a non emergency work order and oh look, they are all 14 days old” when they were 14 days old 20 days ago.
The internet can’t tell me much about New Life, and this is a red flag that I wish I would have known about! They’re a Christian company, and in their terms, this apparently means that they can charge you money for nothing, never give you a security deposit, and randomly take days off because of religious observance. Suffice to say, never again.
The next batter up was Heather Glenn. They kept the New Life staff, for the most part and things began to go downhill. Again, they never called when promised and they always lost work orders. They would also randomly not be at the office. They were very rarely there in the mornings as posted, and sometimes left at lunch never to return.
In hindsight, I should have begun putting my rent into escrow at this time, not, you know, starting the process now. I had too much on my plate and not enough spoons. The funny thing about both of these places is that if anyone had just been honest with me, I wouldn’t have been anywhere near as upset as I was.
Finally, our current contender is McKinley. They are actually a ranked management company, 37 out of 50 in the largest apartment managers. So… it’s not like its GREAT, but I suppose it’s something? The reviews are bad, but not as horrible as say, the Residences at Bexley Woods.
They took over in the aftermath of the huge storms, the first time they collected rent was August. It’s understandable that they are swamped currently. I’m not going to pretend that I don’t get it. The Residences at Bexley Woods is huge; it’s larger than two of most of the other complexes in the Columbus area. I know very well that they have their work cut out for them. This, however, does not excuse the lack of communication.
Rumors and whispers are flying that the owner of the property and New Life filed bankruptcy. The rumors say this was the reason that they didn’t have enough staff and the reason that they were not fixing anything. Where our rent money was going at the time, I have no honest idea. I honestly don’t even know if the rumor is true. I did a short search on google for any proof, but couldn’t locate any. This is the story that McKinley is telling, so it’s the one that I will go with.
All of the previous staff is gone and the office is entirely cleaned out of stuff. The new company had to bring pretty much new equipment with them. The first few days, communication was good. I was called back expediently (within 24 hours) and I scheduled a walkthrough of my unit at a time I would be there AND they arrived when they said they would. I was so impressed that I went into the main office after work the next day and thanked them. (It’s sad that I was so happy about this, really)
Unfortunately here is where the good communication has stopped. Since that day, every communication was initiated by me. I have left many messages, none of them have actually been returned. On around the second of August, I left a message asking about repairs to my unit and how much they wanted for rent.
They returned that call, ONLY to tell me how to pay rent.
I actually took off work early that day, walked into the office and explained that was pretty much the height of rudeness. The man I spoke with said he had no idea about the walkthrough of my property, and if I could send him a list of what was wrong via email. I was frustrated, seeing as this would be my third time giving McKinley said list. I emailed him a list of problems on Sunday, August 5th.
I had communicative silence till I called in the afternoon (from work) on the 8th. I was told that the man I’d spoken with was gone FOR THE DAY, and that the person on the phone with me was a temp and that she’d have someone else call me back. I asked for her email to resend my complaints, she stated that she didn’t have one. She promised a call back that day.
The 9th, yesterday, we had pretty major storms. I noticed that my basement was leaking rainwater as was my front door (again). I shot the man an email again (reply to all, so the emails are kept together) only to get a response telling me that he is out of the office till the 13th. Why would he tell me he’d get back to me and then go on a mini vacation? I left a message on the non-emergency line.
I called back today and got the same woman that told me someone would call me back yesterday. She was very polite and stated that they were, in fact, swamped. They were dealing with evictions and it was a huge mess. They had spent most of the time fixing air conditioners and major damages to buildings. Yet again, she’s promised me a call back today. I informed her that I really had no other choice, and that I was sending a certified letter tomorrow via US mail to start the 30 day clock for an escrow.
The Good: Because there is some good
- we now have security walking the property
- there is a lock-out service after hours
- they are nice and understanding of our anger
As I’ve said further above. I understand that they have a LOT to work through, two broken pools, aged buildings that are horrible about the electric/gas, dirty, perhaps dangerous conditions, and a LOT of angry people. That doesn’t excuse the lack of follow-up on their parts.
Up Next: No Communication!