Letter to the Editor

BY DI READERS | MARCH 30, 2012 6:30 AM

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Rental complaints

I agree whole-heartedly with the words of Mark Borer from Batavia, Ill. (DI, March 28, "Don't be a victim of your landlord"). Apartments Downtown has long taken advantage of students who don't fully understand housing situations. Some charges, such as the $10 per nail hole and $70-plus materials for repainting, are arbitrarily decided and are often charged to lessee as Apartments Downtown sees fit. It's unfortunate that Apartments Downtown takes advantage of students who are leasing housing for the first time. Students don't often know that they're getting a bad deal until it's too late.

I feel, with the exception of newly built apartment complexes, many of the developments and houses are unsatisfactory for living requirements. By all accounts, my current house — owned by Apartments Downtown — probably needs to be demolished. It has a large indentation in the kitchen floor, bad enough that a ball can be set down the hall and on its own will find its way to the center of the kitchen. Investigating what was supporting the house, I found only a few wooden beams standing upright on cement platforms in the basement. The indentation has been reported numerous times since last October, but not once has anything been done about it.

Costs determined by Apartments Downtown, for the service and urgency given in return, are far overpriced. Did you know it cost $125 per person to sign a sublease agreement? I inquired why this was and was met with "it's a filing and registration charge." Without exaggeration, I saw them "file and register" the signed agreement right into a stack of papers denoted for our house. It cost $125 for them to put a paper into a folder.

In addition to these and the ridiculous charges mentioned by Borer, Apartments Downtown freely saps the deposit posted by students. Last year's leasers of my house filed to have a few things fixed or replaced before the end of their contract, and it wasn't until my roommates were fully moved in that the repairs actually took place. Can't wait to see that paid off by our deposit. Another "clause" by Apartments Downtown is the fact that our attic does not count as part of our leased house, and as shoddy as it currently is, any further damage — by us or not — will be charged to our deposit.

Apartments Downtown is monopolizing on the supply and demand of near-campus housing, and the victims of this are student safety and the leaser's bank account. It's tough to file a class-action lawsuit with students rearranging every year, and even more so because the majority of students wronged have already graduated and moved on.

That is why it is imperative that as many students as possible voice complaints about Apartments Downtown now. Only then can proper attention, however legal it may have to be, be brought to the travesty of contracts set up by Apartments Downtown.

Sean Staudt
UI student

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