Jay Smith, 20, drove a 14-hour-trip from Dallas to his off-campus apartment in The Pointe at 3000 S. Adams Street. His mother and brother came along to help him move back in for the spring semester. But when they arrived at the third floor suite, they were astounded at the letter he received from the complex managers.
Apparently, the water would be turned off for an entire day due to a water meter project.
“We had to go to the grocery store to get a gallon of water to brush our teeth and to bathe with,” said Smith, a junior biology student from Albany, Ga.
The Pointe Apartments located at 3000 S. Adams St., has been subject to controversy concerning utility overages, billing deferments and management changes for two years now.
Down to the Last Drop
Jason Saunders, the new property manager at The Pointe, said the reason for the water being turned off for an entire day was to allow the plumbing company a chance to work on correcting the water system.
Prior to Saunders coming to The Pointe, he said that utility overages were placed on accounts based on electric bills alone and that the water bill was placed on a separate account.
“We have a third party company that takes the water bill and our rent role, and divides the water bill equally among residents,” Saunders said.
Saunders added that this process is called, “rubbing the meter.”
However, this process caused residents to receive an electricity overage bill in addition to a water bill.
“None of the residents were happy with the fact that we had to cut off the water meters but it’s a legal thing to do,” Saunders said. “It’s not fair, but given the fact that now having one meter for one unit keeps control of usages, this was done to correct the problem.”
Saunders added that next month, the water bill at The Pointe will come from the city of Tallahassee in the form of one bill and will determine separate overages for each resident.
After not receiving an answer from management at The Pointe, Smith paid for the overages, still questioning the bill’s accuracy and the management’s honesty. He is not alone.
Under New Management
“The management was terrible and now changes in management only bring more problems,” said Tiffany Carrington, a resident of the complex.
Carrington, a 22-year-old senior psychology student from Miami, received a letter on Dec. 12, 2005 from The Pointe that stated the management no longer accepted rent deferments.
The previous managers allowed students to provide proof of upcoming financial aid, until refund checks were received from the university in lieu of payment.
The letter also stated The Pointe was aware that removing the program would put many tenants in a difficult financial position, but that the students’ required guarantors should be able to help in case of emergency.
Like Carrington, Smith was among several apartment tenants who struggled financially to pay his rent after The Pointe cut out deferment transactions.
Saunders insisted that the decision to not accept deferments was a decision made under the old management.
“Deferments were offered to residents in the beginning of the 2004-2005 period, however, we have far since changed our policy,” Saunders said.
He said that because of the problem with deferments they now allow students, who can provide proof of financial aid, to pay their rent using a deferment.
The Pointe’s new management also announced it will converge its existing apartments into condominiums.
“These condos are a terrific investment for students,” Saunders said.
“Ranging from $60,000-$120,000 depending on the size of the apartment, these condos will have a mortgage payment cheaper than rent,” Saunders explained.
Saunders’ advice for students is to seek answers by visiting him at The Pointe to discuss their concerns.
“We are in the process of rectifying the situation,” Saunders added. ” We are fully aware that residents are upset and we are doing as much to rectify the issues, but we can not change that past.”
In beginning of the transition process, Saunders encourages that all residents visit The Pointe at its Resident Appreciation Day Feb. 12, to voice their concerns.
“It takes a while to rectify apartments and get it together,” Saunders said. “But, I will address any issues and discuss any discrepancies at that time.”
But some students, such as Smith, vow to cut ties with The Pointe regardless of any promised improvements.
“I am leaving next year because the management as a whole is negligent, inexperienced and unprofessional,” Smith said. “With condos coming in, there’s no telling what will happen when private ownerships take over.”
Robbyn Mitchell contributed to this report.
Contact Christina Hordge at ChristinaHordge@yahoo.com