Apparently I struck a nerve. As a follow up to my recent post in my hunt for a new apartment, well, to put it quite frankly it got a little complicated. My recent conversation/argument with the leasing agent lead to the property management company decision makers to huddle together and approve our application under the condition that we give them electronic access to our banking account for our monthly rent payments.
My knee jerk reaction was a mighty, “NO WAY IN HELL,” as my wife and I gathered together for a meeting of our own in our current apartment. We wrestled back and forth, with each other and even thought out loud to gather wisdom from the other and process our own thoughts. For me it boiled down to this central idea: If we have to fight this damn hard to give them our business and pay them monthly rent checks, how hard is it going to be to get them to action on a maintenance request.
But at the same time, on the surface, the rent was cheaper, the neighborhood a bit more diverse than our current one and easy to get to and from work with many express buses to choose from. So we were stuck at an impasse, to sign the lease and agree to the terms or tell them to piss up an electric flag pole?
Now I don’t give a lot of credence to modern technology, but I honestly in this case have to say thank God for Yelp!! I typically head to yelp to get a heads up on restaurants and to order the right kind of dishes and to confirm if the location is BYOB. For this occasion we used the consumer empowerment website to check out reviews of our prospective landlord, and man was I glad that we did.
Review after review after review talked about poor and shoddy maintenance work, a companywide policy of having their employees shrug their shoulders when tenants brought living issues up and many reviewers upon move in were faced with uncompleted maintenance work as the movers brought the couch and bed in. Usually when I see negative reviews on yelp I like to get a whole picture. Is everyone saying this? Are they hipsters being pretentious? Are they suburb people who wouldn’t know culture if it hit them in the face with a 2X4? But page after page ranted and raved warning anyone who read to never give your business to this property management company. From middle aged married couples to young single guys and gals to gay couples, hardly anyone through 15 pages of comments had ANYTHING good to say about our prospective landlord. So we decided to pass on their offer and condition of having access to my checking account. In my opinion bad customer service + having to fight with you to give you money = no way in hell I’m going to give you access to one of my banking accounts.
Thankfully we are month to month with our current landlord so we can go back to the drawing board and continue to look for available and new to the market apartments. I’m anticipating that fall availability should be in our favor. Usually summer is high moving season on the North side as college students flood the market and once the semester starts the rental market should transition back to being a renter’s market. So, as my wife and Dave Ramsey said, we will be turtles, taking our time and making solid and well thought out decisions along the way.