Is your community “unfit for human habitation?”
Even seasoned apartment hunters miss tale-tale signs of a neglected property. Learn a few tricks to help you sleep easy in your new place by learning from others’ mistakes.
A 400 unit apartment complex just outside of Philadelphia was recently labeled as “unfit” for human habitation. The culprit was not asbestos, mold, or an infestation of tiny rodents. Instead, the complex received the rating after management failed to fix serious water problems.
It began when the first water pump broke months ago. There were two pumps, so management operated the complex off of one pump without a problem—until a month later. One morning, the second pump broke. Three out of five apartment buildings were without clean, running water. Temporary bathrooms were setup outside, and showers were made available in the abandoned apartments of the two functioning buildings. But as you can imagine, even the temporary solutions were substandard when you consider that the problem persisted for four days.
On the end of the fourth day, a local code enforcement officer decreased the rating of the Marion apartments to “unfit for habitation.” The lack of running water apparently wasn’t the only issue. The complex also received multiple citations since November in light of heating problems and insect infestations. (I knew the infestation would come in somewhere.)
When searching for apartments in Philadelphia, there are a few things to keep in mind to avoid such situations.
- Ask current residents what they think of conditions within the community.
- Check if the community has a Facebook page. Does management respond to negative comments helpfully? Promptly? (A page with no negative comments is suspicious, a sign that management deletes and ignores problems.)
- Take note of the little things, like the public trash cans. Have they been emptied? Is landscaping maintained? Those are small signs that can indicate how well a community is taken care of.