Iowa City Class Action Lawsuit Apartments Downtown (A.U.R.)
by iowacity » Fri Feb 25, 2011 4:47 amhttp://www.ictenantsclassaction.com/
Apts. Downtown, Inc., is a very large property management company based in Iowa City, Iowa, focusing on rentals to University of Iowa students. On December 22, 2010, Iowa City attorneys Christine Boyer and Christopher Warnock filed a civil action, Michael Conroy v. Apts. Downtown, Inc.,, case LACV072840, in the Johnson County District Court, in Iowa City, Iowa, seeking damages and injunctive relief for violations of the Iowa landlord-tenant statute and asking that the case be certified as a class action.
Apts. Downtown, Inc., currently manages a very large number of rental properties through at least two trade names, Apartments Downtown Iowa City and Apartments Near Campus, each of which has a separate management office.
However, Apts. Downtown, Inc., has repeatedly changed its offical corporate name and adopted a variety of different trade names. Apts Downtown Inc., was originally incorporated as Associated University Realty, Inc., in 1972. In 1987 it adopted the trade name of AUR Downtown Apartments. In August of 2003, it changed its name to DTA Iowa City, Inc and then a month later in September of 2003, it changed its name to Apts. Downtown, Inc. Also in September of 2003 it adopted the trade names of APTS. Near Campus and Iowa City Maintenance, which handles maintenance and repair for Apts Downtown, Inc, rental units. In 2004, Apts Downtown, Inc adopted its previous corporate name, Associated University Realty as a trade name. Finally, in 2010, it adopted the trade name Apartments Downtown Iowa City. It also appears to have used the trade names AUR Property Management and AUR.
James A. Clark, the President of Apts. Downtown, Inc., is described by the Iowa Press Citizen, "[Clark] developed and owns more Iowa City real estate than anyone else (301 parcels assessed at $93.6 million), providing housing to more than 1,000 university students..."
The lawsuit accuses Apts. Downtown, Inc., of systematically violating tenants' rights by charging illegal automatic cleaning fees, requiring tenants to pay for cleaning that the landlord is legally required to do, charging tenants for common area damages they did not cause and charging a variety of excessive and unreasonable fees and costs. At a conservative estimate of $100 per tenant and 1,000 tenants, illegal cleaning fees alone totaled $100,000 a year. If the lawsuit is certified as a class action by the Court, tenants will be able to join or exclude themselves from the lawsuit.
The sheer number and relatively small damages make it impossible to pursue tenants' cases individually and due to the workload of the class action we cannot accept any individual landlord tenant cases involving Apartments Downtown. Pursuing a class action for the damages that are common to all tenants is only practical way for us to proceed. All tenants of Apartments Downtown will be able to join the class action once it is certified.
Please contact attorney Christopher Warnock at firstname.lastname@example.org
or at (319) 358-9213 for further information.
From the Facebook Page "Iowa City Tenants Class Action Against Apartments Downtown" Link: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Iowa-City-Tenants-Class-Action-Against-Apartments-Downtown/145956042131433
"If you've EVER been taken advantage of by APARTMENTS DOWNTOWN, this is the chance to vent and HAVE YOUR VOICE BE HEARD! Let's show them we've had enough and hold the biggest protest they've ever witnessed!" Link: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Protest-Apartments-Downtown/113896598685341
Jake Leinen: "Keep fighting these bastards please"
Matthew Steen: "Best news out of Iowa city in a while..."
Kathleen Anjin Sutherland: "Hopefully, the time has come for Iowa City tenants to have their rights respected and enforced."
Deborah Parker: "It is about time."
Amy Slowik: "My point: thank goodness you guys are doing this!"
Amy Slowik: "You guys aren't the only ones! My husband and I have filed against our former landlords, Hayek Real Estate, for taking almost all of our deposit for routine maintenance fees! When we threatened them with the court system, they tried to scare us with libel!" http://darkarchivist.wordpress.com/2010/10/25/hayek-real-estate-says-libel/
Anon: "They suck just as much as Mediacom..if not more."
Tim Smith: "FUCK. i hate apartments downtown. 600 dollars broker cause of them"
Cara O'Shea: "one time, our apartment got broken into on christmas and we were charged $400 for a new door. we hate you apartments downtown"
Nick Kinney: "When I moved to Iowa City they were going by the alias A.U.R. They cultivated a pretty rotten reputation so they divided the business into Apartments Downtown, Apartments Near Campus, and one other division under the same evil blanket. THEY MUST BE STOPPED!!!!"
Kristina Marie Linnane: "Someone broke a wall in the apartment hallway and everyone had to chip in to fix it, than it happened again. I had to replace 3 tires (almost $300) because people broke bottles around my parking spot playing edward 40 hands, and ANC told me it was my job to clean it up. Wont allow me to regulate my own heat so it is costing us $30 extra a month and I sweat my ass off at night. Someone broke into my car (broke a window)(multiple times), and they wouldnt instal video cameras. Front door has been fucked up since ive moved in so I have to litterally fight with it to get into the apartment. Im leasing the apartment again next year, because I dont feel like losing my deposit till I graduate, and I like the location, but ive had A LOT of problems."
Lee Henneberry: "apts downtown: maybe you should considering plowing the driveway so people can leave the building. some people have jobs. figure it out"
Andrew Hill Daumueller: "i don't even want to start the story about how they owe me and all three of my roommates lap tops."
Pete Lower: "Apts downtown, here are 2 of many many reasons why your company is shit: thanks for installing a sliding door in the middle of winter. It was nice having a giant fucking hole in our living room for most of the season. Also thanks for making me pay for the screen door because it wouldn't slide properly, the dumb fucks you hired didn't put the thing in right, it was broke the minute they put it in. They also left a bunch of nails on the lawn. When my neighbor stepped on one (had to go to mercy), and told you guys about it, you threatened her and told her she better not do anything or else you would keep her deposit away (which you did anyway). Your company is trash, fuck all of you, especially bernard or burns or whatever the fuck your dumbass name is. I've rented from 2 other apt companies since then and I have where you can find so many cold nasty bitches to work for you. I hope you all get the swine flu."
Tips for AUR / Apartments Downtown / Hayek Real Estate - read the Daily Iowan "The Ledge" in the middle of the page, http://www.dailyiowan.com/2011/02/23/Metro/21595.html
Tips for Property Rental:
• Even if you own 2,000 rental units, it is important to have the same move-out and move-in dates for all of them. That way, if tenants need to move in early, you can pressure them into signing a waiver stating you won’t clean. Kids are basically homeless for those couple of days each year, and it would be a shame to not take advantage of them.
• Why pay for the basic maintenance of your properties? If the front door wears out because it hasn’t been tended to in a little more than 40 years, just buy a new door for $30, claim it cost you $300, and split it evenly among your tenants. Nobody sues over $10.
• Sometimes tenants complain about a leaky roof, and that you will have to repair. Here’s the trick: Retain a handyman on your payroll for $20/hour, have him fabricate a reason the leaky roof was the tenants’ fault, then charge your tenants $100/hour for the labor. You can’t go wrong when you make money by maintaining your investment.
• Fresh paint makes the shoddiest building look 10 times better. But skip the unnecessary steps, such as cleaning the wall, scraping off the old paint, and priming; just slap a fresh coat over those foundation cracks and blood stains.
• Don’t let your company become one of those “monopolies” people seem to dislike. Make sure separate your company into parts, making it appear as though they are wholly separate entities, but do be sure to fix the rental prices, lease terms, and amenities so that you’re not actually competing against yourself. That would be stupid.
• Remember to change names often, that way parents won’t know that you’re the same guy who screwed them over when they went to college here.