If you go through the reviews for apartments in Ames, many of them have positive reviews with few negatives. However, despite the positive reviews, many apartments marketed toward students take advantage of a student's naivete concerning their first apartment.
This includes refusing to fix broken items in the apartment, such as the air conditioning units for months, as well as leaving the apartments absolutely filthy before a student were to move in. And then, after not originally cleaning or fixing anything in the apartment, they will charge the students for anything found in less than pristine condition.
Both the Grove and Copper Beech here in Ames advertise their premium features and clean, spacious rooms. However, if you start to dig through reviews, you can see that is not the case for either property.
The company Campus Crest Communities, which owns both Copper Beech Townhomes and the Grove here in Ames, has multiple student housing properties throughout the U.S. Each property is marketed toward students in college towns.
Multiple properties throughout the U.S. have been reported to be trashed when students move in. Additionally, AC units have broken with months passing before they are fixed, along with internet issues or maintenance issues that are never fixed after they are addressed. They then charge students a ridiculous amount when they move out for damages that were there when they moved in.
Some of their property locations are even facing lawsuits for overcharging.
Corresponding to reviews, these are issues properties in Ames face as well. Even from the beginning, the company has had difficulties effectively managing the properties here in Ames.
Students need to be wary of Google reviews of apartments because many apartments will have employees or family and friends leave positive reviews to drown out all of the negative ones. This makes the apartment and the management team seem better than they really are.
This is unacceptable. Apartments marketed toward actual “adults” would never try to do this because experienced homeowners or apartment owners would never let this fly.
Students looking into moving off of campus need to become aware of their rights in the state of Iowa as a tenant and what to look for when considering the numerous options of apartments in Ames.
There is also the issue of renter’s insurance. Some apartments may include this charge with your monthly rent, but in the case of the apartment providing renter’s insurance, it often only protects their property and is overpriced.
Now, with COVID-19, it is easier for an apartment to hide issues from potential renters if they only have the option of a virtual recording or viewing the apartment over FaceTime. All they would have to do is omit showing a certain part of the apartment or show it from awkward angles to skew the perception of the unit.
It is important to see if you can get a hold of a floor plan and ask the leasing agent multiple questions, like how tall the rooms are, how many units are on a floor, if it's a wood or concrete frame, how many cabinets there are in the kitchen, how old the appliances are, etc.
It is important to note that in the state of Iowa, apartments can only charge you two months' rent for a security deposit, and it must be returned within thirty days of the tenant leaving the property.
If your landlord refuses to repair something, you, as a tenant, have the right to withhold rent until it is fixed, or you can fix it yourself and then deduct it from your monthly rent.
Hopefully, the apartments will start to be more transparent and better manage the properties in order to attract more prospective students.
If students start holding these apartments to a higher standard, the apartments would have to change their ways in order to be competitive.
It's the integrity that matters.