My AIMCO Story (long)

I was going to hold back before doing this but I can’t any longer.  Not with the problems that appear to be looming into the future.

Here’s the scenario:
I have to move and move fast.  I live in Oak Park which is an AIMCO community.  AIMCO has a policy that allows tenants to move from one community to the next, free from lease termination charges and allows them 30 days notice instead of 60 days.  This policy is called Coast-to-Coast.  I found a place through AIMCO down here in Louisville called Plainview Apartments.  It’s the only community run by AIMCO within 100 miles so it was really a matter of deciding what place I wanted to move into.

I submitted my 30 days notice to vacate to Oak Park on November 28th with the aim being that I would be out by January 1st.

I went to Plainview and met with Crystal, the person that showed me the different homes and I filled out all the paperwork to get the business rolling.  During the process, I was denied by AIMCO’s policy because of my credit score.  My eyes popped out of my head and I very nearly had a heart attack.  I couldn’t speak for a few minutes.  The only thing going through my head is WTF have I been spending all my time working on my credit for when it’s done me not one goddam bit of good?  I raised that score 100 points since I started.  I needed a co-signer to move into Oak Park, before I started working on my credit, but Oak Park stated that if I had a good rental record when my lease renewal came, I would be able to re-lease without the cosigner.  That is exactly what happened.  The option of a cosigner wasn’t even offered to me by Plainview.  Here is what their offer was:  Instead of paying a 200 dollar deposit for moving in, I’d have to pay 809 dollars or a full month of rent, as my deposit, on top of pro-rated rent.  It equated to a whole lot of money to pay just to move in.  After some time had passed I gained my sense of rationality back and decided to write this letter to the community relations department of AIMCO:

(begin letter)

To Aimco Customer Service:

I am currently a resident at your Oak Park community in Lansing, MI.  I have lived there for the last 14 months.  I currently have 2 pets, which I declared on my lease, put a deposit on and pay the 25 dollars a month fee for.  I also pay 20 dollars a month for access to a garage.  My monthly rent varies a little due to ISTA being tacked onto the monthly rent but rent varies around 810 a month.  I am currently subscribed to your auto deduction plan which automatically pulls my rent from my checking account on the 1st of every month.  I have never been late on my payments and I have never bounced a payment.  I have had no complaints about me as a tenant in the Oak Park facility.

Prior to moving into Oak Park, my renter score was too low due to factors related to my credit score.  Because of this, I needed a co-signer in order to put my score high enough to move into Oak Park.  Since then, I was able to remove my co-signer from the lease when I signed the new one back in October.  This has been a matter of pride for me.  I have also become more active in fixing up my bad credit score by paying old bills, opening up revolving credit and receiving monthly reports on my current score.  Since I have done this, my credit score has gone up almost 100 points in the last 9 months, a major feat.  Yet, like anyone else, I’m not made of money and can only do one thing at a time.  With the economy in the state that it is in, I have had to slow my recovery process and just focus on what needs to be done now.

It’s no secret that the automotive industry has been suffering through some very bad times.  Unfortunately, the company I work for is dependant upon that very industry.  In Lansing, Michigan, General Motors isn’t doing so well but our Ford plant in Louisville is doing real well and picking up a whole new shift of employees.  I was faced with making a decision of either loosing my job or transfer to our Louisville plant.  Since moving south is one of my long term plans, I chose to go through with the transfer.

The first thing I did was look to Aimco to see if you had properties in Louisville that I could move to in order to make things easy for me, financially.  I wanted to avoid the penalties involved with breaking a lease and I recalled your Coast-to-coast transfer option.  In my search I found Plainview Apartments.  I made a call, setup an appointment to visit and tour the place, and found a townhome that suited me.  This is where I encountered problems.

Apparently, despite the effort I have made to correct some of my credit report problems, it isn’t enough.  This caught me totally off guard and has me questioning my future as an existing Aimco customer.  To the benefit of the people at Aimco, they offered to allow me to move in anyway but with the caveat that I would need a months rent on top of my first month in order to move in, instead of the 200 dollars that any other customer would get.  This is simply not doable for me.  I have a set amount of money to use for the move.  This money is being offered by my employer.  Based on Plainviews request for this extra money, that would deplete all of the funds that were allocated to me, leaving me nothing at all to use for renting a truck to haul my things.  While I appreciate their concession, it is still unreasonable.  I am already an Aimco customer in good standing.
In my last visit I spoke with the manager of the office, Tamela(sp) and she and I went back and forth over this issue.  She understands my standpoint and I understand Plainview’s policy.  I’m looking for a break.  She said she would pose the question to someone higher than her, especially in light of me being an existing customer in a unique situation.  Being treated like a high risk is understandable if I was Joe Schmoe coming off the street but I am not, I am an existing good customer with a good record, there is no risk.  I really need a break here.  Without one, this is going to be a nightmare.

Lastly, I think that in light of my situation, the coast-to-coast program needs to be looked at closely.  While I understand that all complexes are managed with their own team and sometimes with their own rules, someone in my shoes will come along where the policies don’t work quite right and things get lopsided.

Here is my information:

Jim Valentine
Current Address
900 Long Blvd XXX
Lansing, MI 48911

New Address
XXXX Stone Spring Way
Louisville, KY 40223

I have already put down the 200 dollar deposit to hold the place.  The balance of the deposit that is being asked for upon move in is 609 dollars.  I would like that to be waived.  That would leave me with a move in cost of 837 dollars which is within my relocation allowance.

I sincerely appreciate any assistance that you can give me in this matter.

Sincerely,

(end letter)

After sending this email to AIMCO’s customer service, I received this one from them:

(begin letter)

Dear Jim,
Thank you for contacting the Aimco’s National Resident Relations Department. We have reviewed your e-mail in regards to your concerns about your coast to coast transfer  at Oak Park Village. We apologize for the inconvenience that this situation may have caused you. Our next step will be to discuss your concerns with your Community Manager, and if need be with your Regional Property Manager, to come to a conclusion in regards to your concerns.
 
We will be in contact with you within 2 business days to follow-up on this matter. In the event that you do not receive a response from your community or the Resident Relations Department within 3 days please feel free to contact us via e-mail at residentrelations@aimco.com or AIMCO’s National Resident Relations Department at (800) 999-8600, option &
#035;2.
 
Sincerely,
 
Mellisa Umphenour
Aimco Resident Relations
 
Our  Mission
We consistently provide quality apartment homes in a respectful environment delivered by people who care!

(end letter)

During this time, I pleaded with Plainview management to cut me some slack.  They sent my concern to their Regional Managment and said that once they heard back they’d get back with me and let me know the results.

Crystal at Plainview called to tell me that the Regional Manager denied my plee for being treated like anyone else that was a customer in good standing.  To Plainview’s benefit they offered to take 300 dollars off my move in costs which helped be greatly.

I then replied to the email I had received from AIMCO explaining to them that my request was denied but that Plainview was offering me 300 dollars off my move in as a part of a, ‘before christmas special’.

My move in day was the 13th of December, a Saturday.  I was told to show up at noon and that the place would be ready.  I showed up early, expecting to wait and what happened was that I ended up waiting for 3 hours.  They hadn’t finished cleaning out the place.  I ended up paying the roughly 1100 dollars needed to move in but the place wasn’t even ready when they said it would be.  Goddam it!

Well, move in day passed me by and everyone was happy except me, who was simply relieved to be passed all that.  I was still holding out that AIMCO would come back with something.  They did call me directly to ask me how everything went but they simply responded with, “oh your moved in now?  you paid everything they asked? Ok,  have a nice day.” and that was it.

My next fiasco is in the next blog and happened on January 1st.

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~ by aeroslin on January 14, 2009.

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