Column: Causing perpetual migraines

By Eric Naing

When it comes to apartment hunting on this campus, there usually are two commandments that must be followed. One, start looking early. Two, never rent from Gabe’s Place. Seeing as how I’ve been on this campus for four years, I’d like to add a third: if at all possible, never rent from Campus Property Management.

Campus Property Management, or CPM as the “cool” kids call it, is the Wal-Mart and/or Microsoft of the Champaign-Urbana apartment retail scene. Almost everywhere you look on campus you’ll see one of their giant apartments just begging you to live there. But as the old saying goes (and as countless men everywhere hope), size doesn’t matter.

Let’s go back to last year. My two current roommates and I, having postponed looking for an apartment much longer than we should have, turned to one of the few buildings left to rent on campus. This snazzy red CPM complex on Stoughton seemed pretty new at the time. Since the place looked good enough and beggars certainly can’t be choosers, we signed a lease and our souls away to CPM.

Flash-forward to move-in day of this year, and what do I find at my new apartment? No hot water, a broken bed frame, a broken chair, a leaky toilet, a broken thermostat, broken window blinds, a microwave with missing parts and a fridge with shelves that are being held together with Scotch tape, just to name the biggest offenses. Then, to top it all off, our roof started leaking water that night when it started raining. Actually, “leaking” is putting it nicely; hemorrhaging would probably be a better term.

After daily calls to CPM, they managed to fix only the water and thermostat. A half-assed attempt to patch the leak failed, causing a giant plastic container – used to catch leaking water – to become a permanent part of our living room’s decor.

    Sign up for our newsletter!

    To say I am disappointed with CPM is an understatement. It has been over two months and our roof, along the rest of the broken things at our apartment, has yet to be fixed.

    Cheap carpets, dirty hallways and elevators, dim lighting and cracked roofs seem to be commonplace at the CPM buildings I’ve since been in. From their heroically unresponsive maintenance service to the exasperating layouts of their parking garages, CPM reeks of bad quality. This campus real estate giant seems to care more about churning out cheap buildings than making their student housing livable.

    I am writing this as a warning to all underclassmen looking for a place to rent. I am a senior and I neglected to follow the advice of my predecessors. Start looking for an apartment as early as possible and please try and avoid not just CPM, but most of the giant apartment retail companies. The smaller landlords who only have one or two buildings always tend to take better care of their property and are far more responsive. Also, please visit the Tenant Union, which has been extremely helpful in these trying times.

    The only consolation I’ve gotten out of my dire living situation is that CPM is showing my place this week. If you actually visit my apartment, you’ll see a large Styrofoam Santa head next to the gaping crack in the roof with a speech bubble next to it that reads: “Fix Our G–damn Roof, B—-!” (the coarse language was a result of my roommates’ inner Dave Chapelle and not meant in anyway to offend either God or women). And next to that is a dry erase board listing out the various problems with the apartment. So far, my roommates and I have managed to hopefully scare off four potential CPM customers with the promise of more to come.

    So to all you future apartment hunters, I must repeat: hunt early and hunt without Campus Property Management if you can. And if someone at CPM is reading this, please fix our G–damn roof.

    Eric Naing is a senior in LAS. His column appears every Monday. He can be reached at [email protected].