Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Chelsea on the Square Apartments

I'm writing this so that if someone runs "Chelsea on the Square" through Google this will hopefully show up. I have put a similar review up on Apartmentratings.com, but it is anonymous for reasons I will talk about later. I personally don't put a lot of stock in anonymous reviews so I'm also writing something here where I can stand behind it.

I lived in the Chelsea on the Square apartment complex for a little over two years. I moved in mid-august of 2002 and left at the end of September of 2004. Regular readers of this blog might remember this from mid to late September.

If you are thinking of moving to Chelsea, please rethink your decision. The folks at Chelsea are marketing their apartments as higher end rooms similar to Town & Country properties like Christina Mill or Stonegate. They are priced accordingly. Since I now live in Christina Mill, I can tell you it is not worth it. While my rent is slightly higher at Christina Mill and my apartment is smaller, I end up saving money because:
  1. Insurance costs for car and apartment are significantly less
  2. I have my own laundry facilities in my apartment
  3. I control my heat/AC for my apartment
In my first year at Chelsea I only had minor problems:
  • The dishwasher broke and was promptly replaced.
  • I used Viking for cable/phone/internet and a storm wrecked their DSL internet for several months. They reran several lines and fixed the problem. Finally they fixed it more permanently by migrating the complex to cable modems.
  • The washing machines in the laundry room next door would overflow and soak the wall I shared with them. I even had wet carpet. The maintenance personnel "fixed" this so the laundry room floor was the only thing that got wet and slippery.
My first year was rocky, but by the end of it I was pretty confident that the problems had been fixed or were bearable.

Unfortunately my second year was far worse than the first. During my second year:
  • My phone line started spontaneously disconnecting my calls. Viking fixed this problem.
  • My cable, which is brought in on satellite, started going out in bad weather. This was never fixed.
  • My apartment was water damaged again by a leaky pipe and then a clogged AC condensation drain. Both were from the apartment above me. This was sorted out in a few days in the first case and overnight in the second.
  • My AC unit shorted out during the middle of July. It was fixed after a week of 80 and 90 degree weather.
  • The boilers in my complex started having problems around Thanksgiving of 2003. This means that I would either lose heat or hot water or both depending on which boiler was having trouble. When notified maintenance would restart the boiler, but this would barely last a day. They were fixed more permanently several times but it never took.
The truth is that these apartments were built in the 1970s. The good part is that they have large floorplans and fairly good sound insulation. The bad part is that the complex has spent most of its money on making them look good, not fixing the aging internals like wiring and plumbing which get band-aids.

I moved out at the end of September and left notice of this 60 days in advance. I reiterated myself 30 days in advance when I signed a one month lease extension. Somehow they missed all this. Instead they claimed I failed to provide notice and continued to charge me for the apartment until it was reoccupied. They informed me that they were keeping my deposit (I had wondered what had happened to that) and wanted additional money. That was my last straw. The apartmentratings review was anonymous because I had no written proof that I had given notice, so I wanted to prevent any libel claims should they have permanently misplaced it.

I left a message with their account manager on Friday. Yesterday, they found my original notice in my file. It had not been processed properly and so they didn't realize that I had given it at all. Oops for them. They are now refunding my deposit in full and they are very apologetic. They damn well better be after holding my deposit for two months.

With this post I can finally close the book on Chelsea on the Square. One of the things I try to do in life is learn from other people's mistakes. Please learn from mine. For God sakes, live somewhere else.

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