EXCLUSIVE: College student says new SJ apartment was not ready for residents; management responds

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Thursday, September 15, 2022
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An SJSU student says Sparta505, the new off-campus apartment, was not ready to house 280+ renters as it promised to, ahead of the school year.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- A college student in San Jose is speaking out after a rocky start at a new off-campus residential building.

Kaliya Mendez shared video of water leaking inside a bathroom within her housing unit. It isn't the sight she and her boyfriend were expecting as they moved into a brand new housing building, ahead of a new school year.

The complex, Sparta505, is unaffiliated with San Jose State University. According to its website, it's billed as the "Newest Luxury Apartments," located only two blocks from campus.

"I was really excited to just sign a lease and have a place ready," Mendez told ABC7 News.

The first-year transfer student signed a lease, sight unseen since the building was under construction.

"As the months got closer to July and August, every time I went by the apartment, I kept being like, 'Hmm, this doesn't look like it's going to get finished in time.'"

The property manager, who asked not to be identified, confirmed the building's completion date was delayed.

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In a statement, ABC7 News was told," Because of this delay, we revised the commencement date and applied the prorated rent to their account. In several cases, we also compensated the lodging to those students from overseas and/or out of state."

"However, instead of just letting the 280 students find their own place, Sparta505 worked around the clock and spent more and exhausted all resources to get the building open in early August," the property manager continued.

She confirmed people were allowed to move in on Aug. 8. However, Mendez shared an email that sent to residents on the ninth, by the property manager.

Among issues addressed, the message alerted the building's 280+ tenants there would be warm - but not hot water, dishwashers still had to be installed, and because of supply chain issues there would be a small hole in residents' ceilings.

"I felt kind of regretful that I chose this place when it wasn't done," Mendez shared.

The property manager said they offered to pro-rate rent because of the maintenance issues, and in a statement, told ABC7 News in-part: "The well-being and safety of our residents has always been our priority. We have gone above and beyond to meet their needs within reasonable means."

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However, Mendez recorded several videos surrounding the leak in her roommate's restroom. The first, taken on move-in day.

At one point, tenants had to use towels to prevent water from spreading into the shared living area.

"We called management after making a request for maintenance and no one answered, and we're like... we're supposed to have on-site management. That's what they advertised in their website," Mendez said. "We put all of our garbage bins underneath the leaks, and we were like, we'll call them again in the morning to see if they can fix it."

The property manager said a contractor responded to the unit the next morning. Though the leak later returned, the issue has since been fixed.

Mendez said she has since inquired about compensation, referring to her lease agreement.

However, the property manager told ABC7 News, "There was an inconvenience caused; however, the unit remained habitable."

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Adding, the section of the lease referenced does not apply.

The property manager explained the bathroom belonged to another tenant, who they have not received any inquiries from.

"Other roommates of this unit, who were not even affected by this incident also demanded a compensation. Management refused their illegitimated demand," the property manager said. "In general, we will compensate any reasonable damage and/or extra expense caused from us."

However, Mendez argued the bathroom in question is located in the living room area and can be accessed by others. Considering her direct action to keep the water from entering a shared space in the unit, she feels that is unacceptable.

Mendez explained to ABC7 News, in the first month of living on her own and in a new city, the experience has not been worth the expense.

"For all of my living expenses, I've been doing everything out of pocket. I've been working extremely hard so that I can afford to live here," Mendez said. "And when I find out it isn't the expectation, it isn't worth the high price that I pay, it was really frustrating."

"For as low as $1,050 per month, students can live in a fully furnished apartment in either a shared or private room and either share or have a private bathroom, the price will vary depending on the choices and each lease is individual. By the bed leasing has been a commonly used term," the property manager said in a statement. "With 200+ students moved in within the seven days, some problems/inconveniences is expected and unavoidable, our management teams and the contractors have been working diligently to minimize that inconvenience."

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