By: Kristen Lotze
Many students are familiar with The Bellamy, one of U of L’s off-campus apartment complexes. On paper, it sounds impressive, boasting a myriad of amenities such as a pool, a theater room with stadium-style seating, flat screen TVs in every living room and allowing pets.
It makes sense that it would be an attractive option for students. It is close to campus, it is fairly new and it provides the aforementioned amenities, but does it live up to the hype? Is it worth the rising rent rates?
According to resident Destiny Nowlin, “I love The Bellamy. I can have pets and it’s close to campus and my roommates are awesome! [I] wish it was slightly cheaper and [I] don’t know why they’re raising the price, but other than that, it’s pretty nice.” Resident Drew Alderman describes his experience: “The Bellamy has been great! I like the sand volleyball a lot, living close to campus, and having my dog. My roommates have been awesome but I knew them from before. Overall, nothing to really complain about; [it’s a] nice place to live.”
But living there can have its challenges as former resident, Faith Denniston, found out. Denniston explains, “I think $535 a month is too much to pay for a tiny room, but otherwise, the apartment as a whole is pretty nice. If you have a conflict with your roommates though–unfortunately, one of them stole my Xbox–they won’t do anything about it or even have some sort of intervention to try to fix the problem.”
Current resident Briana Joiner has a long list of issues with the complex ranging from maintenance problems to transfer fees, even problems with receiving her mail. Joiner has broken blinds in her living room, a dryer that has broken twice, broken lights, lack of furniture, and sees a build-up of trash outside of her neighbor’s apartments. Joiner has had to make multiple calls to maintenance just to get a report on file, in an attempt to get these issues resolved, often with no avail.
Joiner has also had negative experiences with the complex’s management, stating that they have “poor relations with residents, bad attitudes and are not empathetic toward customer complaints.” She goes on to explain that management is disorganized, rarely answer the phones and do not file maintenance reports for repairs. Joiner has also had problems receiving her mail–she wasn’t notified by management about getting a delivery, her birthday cards mysteriously went missing and it took roughly four months just to get a new key for her mailbox.
Joiner has obviously voiced her numerous concerns to management at The Bellamy, and has even tried to get out of her contract with the complex only to be told, “I’m not letting you out of your lease. All we can do is fix the problem.” Not a very satisfactory response when you’re paying high prices to live in an apartment you don’t like, and one in which things rarely, if ever, get repaired.
When management at The Bellamy was contacted for comment regarding these concerns, Lead Manager Katie Mingione explained that The Bellamy has been undergoing changes to both their management and maintenance teams. She further explains that many students who have voiced complaints are most likely not current residents and that those who have moved in since August of this year have reported being “very satisfied.”
Since the staff turnover, Mingione states that The Bellamy is doing much better. They’re caught up on maintenance orders, replies to resident requests are “much faster than ever before,” and to her knowledge, there are no current issues. Mingione also explains “we have the highest lease and renewal rates that we’ve ever had.” She added, “management honestly and truly cares about the residents…we want residents to be as happy as they can be.”
When asked about the situation with the resident having her xBox stolen, Mingione says that management cannot get involved without a police report, and one was most likely not filed in that instance.
Regarding the rise in rental rates, Mingione said, “The Bellamy has the lowest rates [of any off-campus apartment complex]. We’ve raised our prices in order to compete.” Mingione has worked and lived at The Bellamy for three years, and stated that she has never experienced any issues with security, management or maintenance.
However, when Joiner–who is a current resident–was asked if she noticed any improvement to maintenance or management since August, she replied, “ZERO improvement. They make slight improvements when you nag them, then they go right back to their inconsistency.” Joiner also added that “The Bellamy is beginning to take advantage of students because they have no better options for housing…[they] pretend to care about their residents when it is most convenient for them.”
Photo by: Sasha Perez