Archive for Sunday, July 31, 2011

As leases run out, wave of tenants move it or lose it

Trash collectors, some businesses see more work this weekend

July 31, 2011

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With college days over and a job in St. Louis, Stephanie Miller had help from friend Paolo Secci with packing up her belongings Saturday to make the trip back home. Many leases ended this weekend as new tenants prepare to move in for the fall semester.

With college days over and a job in St. Louis, Stephanie Miller had help from friend Paolo Secci with packing up her belongings Saturday to make the trip back home. Many leases ended this weekend as new tenants prepare to move in for the fall semester.

The unmistakable stench of garbage fills the air as three sanitation workers toss furniture, empty boxes and bursting-full trash bags — wreckage from an entire block’s move out — from an alley Dumpster into a garbage truck between Tennessee and Kentucky streets.

One worker makes a surprise discovery: a black iPod inside a discarded computer case. He places the day’s bonus inside his pocket and continues the cleanup.

The sheer volume of trash, valuable or not, is evidence of the annual expiration of leases and required extra man hours from the city’s Solid Waste division.

Michelle Gundy, field supervisor, said workers cleared the entire Oread neighborhood and all the apartment complexes on Friday. She said the department anticipated the need for only one extra truck and did not expect Dumpsters to fill up again Saturday. Gundy normally works in the realm of recycling and said she hated to see all the usable furniture go to waste.

“Thrift stores you can take stuff to,” she said. “The Habitat for Humanity ReStore takes a lot of building material and even furniture.”

Mattresses, speakers and other furnishings lined the curbsides near student housing areas. Higher-quality items were likely to be snatched up by opportunist “Dumpster divers.” The rest will be part of the estimated 75,000 pounds of garbage collected over this weekend.

Sanitation workers and residents weren’t the only ones busy. In fact, several businesses said the moving rush brings them the best business of the year.

Lawrence U-Haul Center, 540 Kasold Drive, was filled with customers picking up trucks, dropping off storage trailers and buying moving supplies. Mike Morena, a customer service representative, said the store rented out all of its trucks, even after temporarily adding more to its fleet. He said some customers reserve trucks a year in advance.

Local contractors, like Gene Hadl, must rush to prepare houses for new tenants. Hadl said this weekend is his busiest; this year, he has four houses to repair in only a few days. Sometimes the repairs are minor, Hadl said, while other times he must fix houses that haven’t seen maintenance in years.

Linda Cottin, owner of Cottin’s Hardware and Rental, 1832 Mass., also said the end of July brings her the most business. She said residents and landlords alike visit the store for their last-minute maintenance needs.

“It’s like Christmas here,” Cottin said.

Andrew Parent, a Kansas University student from Chicago, said he planned on touching up his apartment to avoid losing his deposit, equal to a month’s rent. But before he could do that, he had to finish moving into his new house on Tennessee Street. A neighbor lent him a truck, and with the help of his parents, Parent said he hoped to finish Saturday before temperatures got hotter today.

Comments

Liberty275 3 years, 8 months ago

When we moved here at the end of December, 1996 (I was accepted to KU two weeks before classes started), most of the apartments were taken and the ones left wanted first, last and a deposit. One old hag tried to rent us a detached garage, one room, tiny, for $600/month. Thanks to the salvation army, we found a trailer to live in until an apartment came available, then we bought our house.

To this day, it is with utter glee that we see for rent signs sit in front of houses and apartments for months or years at a time. You landlords keep paying those taxes on those empty dwellings. I hope they bankrupt all but two of you and if I see you in the gutter, I'll take delight in kicking you. You bought a lifetime's supply of hate with your greed, you enjoy it.

jhawkinsf 3 years, 8 months ago

I neither rent nor am I a landlord, but I'll bet there are two sides to the story. Rents that don't get paid, units left in a total disaster. And thankfully there is a first, last and deposit to cover "some" of the loss.

George_Braziller 3 years, 8 months ago

There are also some landlords who make up reasons to keep part of the deposit. One in particular is notorious for it. Every single person I know who has rented from him (myself included) has had part of their deposit withheld.

Lived in one of his studio apartment for a year and left it in better shape than when I moved in. Washed all the windows and screens because when I moved in they were so dirty you couldn't see out, got rid of the roach infestation, repaired the wallpaper in the entry hall that was falling off in sheets, and put in a small garden (with his permission) and I left all the plants.

He kept $25 of my deposit because I didn't mop the floor under the refrigerator. I vacuumed as best as I could but the fridge didn't have wheels so it was impossible for me to move it without scratching the floor and thus another reason for him to keep part of the deposit.

LadyJ 3 years, 8 months ago

Yet a lot of complexes require you move the fridge and clean behind and under it. I think they are hoping you will mess up the floor. They should be required by law to use self stick linoleum tiles so only the damaged ones have to be replaced.

George_Braziller 3 years, 8 months ago

This wasn't an apartment complex. Try one with the initials of J.D. He owns houses all over Lawrence and likes to wrap himself in a cloak of piety but he's one creepy guy.

The upstairs neighbor caught him in her apartment digging through her underwear drawer.

zackattackku 3 years, 8 months ago

I know which J.D. you are referring to. Just moved out of one of his houses. Best two years I ever had with a landlord and a rental home. I loved the house. Only reason I moved was because two new roommates decided not to move in. I don't know what sort of horror stories you have of him but I would rent from him again definitely. Never once had a problem.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 8 months ago

These are independent businesses charging whatever they think the market will bear. Isn't that your ideal, L275? Why all the hate for their behaving just the way you preach they should?

Liberty275 3 years, 8 months ago

Did I one single time say anything even alluding that they should not be allowed to behave as they did? The answer is no. They did it legally and in their own interest. That's their right.

Now that the town is overbuilt with dwellings the rental management companies are finding themselves on the dirty end of the stick they legally gave us and I am legally dancing on their graves. I'm known to do that. The best time to kick is when people are down.

Some of you people often say "with liberty comes responsibility", and that is true. Yes, a person/corporation should be able to rent their property as they please, charging as they please. Now comes the responsibility. They have priced themselves into vacancies. Yes, my spite is feeble and makes no difference to anyone but me. It won't affect the rental management companies, and should not. OTOH it is cathartic, and that is good enough for me.

Bozo, on the day you find yourself affected badly by a philosophical position you advocate and keep a firm grasp on that philosophy regardless, you will be an honest man. I wish you luck.

jhawkinsf & LadyJ, I know why the policies are in place. I don't need an explanation, but thank you anyway.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 8 months ago

"Did I one single time say anything even alluding that they should not be allowed to behave as they did?"

"I hope they bankrupt all but two of you and if I see you in the gutter, I'll take delight in kicking you. You bought a lifetime's supply of hate with your greed, you enjoy it."

LadyJ 3 years, 8 months ago

The reason some landlords charge a last month rent up front is because tenants decide they aren't going to pay it and want the landlord to use the deposit for rent, which is illegal. So they decide they aren't going to pay it, plus leave the place a mess with damages. You should be mad at irresponsible renters and not all landlords as a group. Not saying there are not greedy landlords, there are, but there are a lot of decent ones out there too. Here's a tip, stay away from rental management places. Check online for complaints against complexes.

sad_lawrencian 3 years, 8 months ago

I'm sorry, but does Liberty275 have a point? What he/she wrote does not make sense.

"It is with utter glee that we see for rent signs sit in front of houses."

"If I see you in the gutter, I'll take delight in kicking you."

Come again?

chong 3 years, 8 months ago

Haha. You are very right.

Chris Hong Lawrence Journal World

Liberty275 3 years, 8 months ago

Its an apple product, of course it doesn't work.

redfred 3 years, 8 months ago

I have reserved things from U-haul before and then shown up to pick it up and it not be there. I was told when that happened, that just because you have reserved something doesn't guarantee that it will really be there. Good luck with U-haul!

evilpenguin 3 years, 8 months ago

I'd always avoid management companies like the plague. If you go with them, you're really just asking for trouble. Everyone I know that has stayed in an apartment complex has been plagued by problems, including infestation, no response to maintenance requests, electrical items breaking down, no deposit returned when the place is left in good condition etc etc.

Go with an independent landlord for sure! Even if they are not great, it's far more likely that you will find a good independent landlord than you will a good management company. Our landlords are awesome, really responsive, always fix things and appreciate when we do work on the house for them (by taking the cost of materials off the rent). That way we get a place we love and can work on and they get a good tenant who is happy and always pays on time.

sad_lawrencian 3 years, 8 months ago

After living in several other towns/cities/states, I was honestly surprised to learn that my current landlords only rent from July 31st to July 31. They will not consider any other leasing periods--at all! This is a phenomenon that's unique to Lawrence.

Although I've lived in several other college towns, I'm always amazed to see how many people are renters in Lawrence... Lawrence is a city of renters... and I'm not just talking about students. So many renters are here that it gives the city a strange culture... a transient culture.

sulliedotcom 3 years, 8 months ago

Lawrence is a bedroom community and with that you're going to have more renters than home owners. Taxes are so high here that no one can afford to buy! It's sad.

sjgreen 3 years, 8 months ago

How sad -- 75,000 pounds of garbage in one weekend! I'll bet at least 65,000 of it could have been donated to worthy organizations and/or people rather than carted away to the landfill.

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