Iowa City Class Action Lawsuit Apartments Downtown (A.U.R.)

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Iowa City Class Action Lawsuit Apartments Downtown (A.U.R.)

Postby iowacity » February 25th, 2011, 12:04 am

Iowa City Class Action Lawsuit Apartments Downtown (A.U.R.)
by iowacity » Fri Feb 25, 2011 4:47 am

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 or at (319) 358-9213 for further information.

From the Facebook Page "Iowa City Tenants Class Action Against Apartments Downtown" Link:

"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:

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!"

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,

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.
Posts: 44
Joined: February 24th, 2011, 10:25 pm

Re: Iowa City Class Action Lawsuit Apartments Downtown (A.U.

Postby iowacity » February 25th, 2011, 4:44 am

Associated University Realty (AUR) is one of the most hated companies in Iowa City, they take advantage of college students and rips them off, if you google AUR Iowa City you will find plenty of comments regarding AUR. Because of terrible PR, AUR changed name to Apartments Downtown, but continued their practice with the new name, now under class action suit, they changed names to Michael's Properties,

Associated University Realty also known as AUR
Aur Property Management also known as Apartments Downtown
Apartments Downtown also known as AUR Downtown
AUR Downtown is also known as Apartments Near Campus

"AUR uses a company called 'Iowa City Maintenance' to do all their maintenance and cleaning. And who owns Iowa City Maintenance' Why, it's none other than Jim Clark, owner of AUR"

AUR uses this maintenance and cleaning company and charges their tenants an arm and a leg for any type of work. Jim Clark and his Property Management companies are full of greed and prey on college students who don't know their rights. When challenged by the students, AUR threatens them with lawsuits. I hope the class action lawsuit wins against AUR and I hope the judge won't get bought out like Press Citizen and let Jim Clark walk away from this. He has earned millions scamming the college students for way too long.

Apts Downtown website:
Michael's Properties (since Class Action Lawsuit)

Review taken from Apartment Ratings:

Do Not Rent From The People, Under Any Circumstances.
From: RenterDave1
Date posted: 2/21/2009
Years at this apartment: 2009 - 2009

You may be thinking "This guy is probably just another disgruntled college student who probably partied all the time and then complained that his landlord charged him for the vomit stains on the carpet".
That's fine; an intelligent person wouldn't trust anything he or she reads on the internet out of blind faith either.
But read the fine print sometime on a lease from AUR. In the clause relating to charges for cleaning the unit, they state that tenants will be charged $25, per person, per hour, with an average crew of 8-10 people. Do the math: that's $200-$250 PER HOUR. They are charging tenants over four dollars A MINUTE to clean units after they leave. Oh, but it gets better.
AUR uses a company called "Iowa City Maintenance" to do all their maintenance and cleaning. And who owns Iowa City Maintenance' Why, it's none other than Jim Clark, owner of AUR; check it out on the Iowa Secretary of State website under the corporation registration. Hooray! No oversight! But, we're not done yet.
On the inspection form used by AUR to inspect rental units, it has "time started", "time ended" and then states that the cleaning crews are to round up to the nearest 15 minutes when billing for time spent cleaning a unit. So, if your cleaning crew finishes at 12:05, it gets rounded off to 12:15 and you get billed for ten minutes of work they didn't do, which, at their rate, costs you an extra 40 bucks. It's anyone's guess whether a cleaning crew in this situation just sits around for the ten minutes they aren't actually cleaning your place, or if they just start on the next unit and overlap billing between the tenants. Hmmmm...
Of course, by law landlords are required to charge a tenant no more than it costs to restore a unit to its original condition, ordinary wear and tear excepted. They are also not allowed to profit from rental deposits. Do we suppose AUR pays their cleaning crews $25 per hour each'
Seems simple right' Don't leave your apartment a mess, you'll recoup your deposit. Here is where the anecdotal part comes in; your choice if you believe it. I am married, a non-traditional student. Never threw a party. Never had more than 5 people in my apartment at one time. Spent an entire day scrubbing the apartment from top to bottom after move-out. Did the move-out inspection with AUR's inspector, who told me quote "This is the cleanest place I have ever seen."
And it still cost me $125 from deposit for "cleaning charges" for AUR to clean the "cleanest place ever".
These people are opportunist scumbags just itching for class action against them. Do not rent from them. Period.
But, if you do, start prepping a small claims case now. You're going to need it.

Read more:

Do not rent from AUR. You will not get your deposit back and they will charge you for everything they possibly can. Make sure that you take pictures or video the apartment before you move in. AUR will enter you apartments unexpectedly to 'fix' things and charge you for it. They came in our apartment for 'routine' maintenance and said there was a rip in the screen and replaced it for $150. When we questioned it the screen they removed have already been disposed of and we had to pay. There are countless other stories of their rediculous management. Avoid AUR is possible unless you like to be treated like poop and you have deep me.

Read more:

From the Daily Iowan: 6 become plantiffs in Apts Downtown (Michael's Properties) lawsuit, 50 more come forward. If you read the comments, this company is scum and I hope the court serves justice to thousands of students they have scammed.

Do not rely on news from Press Citizen, read this comment here of how Press Citizen changes their story because Apts Downtown is a big advertiser $$$ for them.

"MSkep" wrote on Daily Iowan comments section

I'm glad the D.I is covering this. The story was posted online in the P.C. yesterday, complete with quotes from the plaintiff's attorney, and info on how to contact the attorney, read the filed court documents, and join the class action.

Yet, today's version - i.e. the one that will actually appear in print - contains NONE of that info and only has quotes from a statement issued by Apts Downtown:

Just one more example of the Press Citizen bowing to pressure from people who buy a lot of ads from them (as they did yanking to comment sections from their stories about Tracy Barkalow's bootlegging arrest) and more proof that the Daily Iowan is the only honest and impartial news source in Iowa City.

Keep up the good work!
Posts: 44
Joined: February 24th, 2011, 10:25 pm

Re: Iowa City Class Action Lawsuit Apartments Downtown (A.U.

Postby downtowniowacity » June 13th, 2011, 4:45 pm

Guys, don't get your hopes up. I think these guys suing for the class action suit either have already 'been bought' by the clarks or they are going to sue and keep the money themselves and not in the interest of the people that have been frauded by the clarks/aur. These lawyers are NOT fighting to get your money back. <---- is NOT fighting to get your money back.

"Iowa City Tenants Class Action Against Apartments Downtown: Well, I don't want to get anyone's hopes up in terms of money payback. Our main focus is changing their leases and business practices for the better and stopping future illegal charges. It sounds weird but we really want to help the Clarks! Having 100% of your customers angry at you is not a good business model. If the tenants are happy, the Clarks will be too and vice versa."

Taken from the Facebook group; ... 6042131433

They are not suing to HELP YOU. They are suing to HELP THE CLARKS. They have either been bought out by the clarks or they are in this for their own interest, NOT YOURS.

Before you guys waste your time and effort sending in info to this lawyer for the class action, make sure you understand that they are NOT looking to get your money back. The lawyers are in it for themselves. Lawyer contact info: Christopher Warnock (Suing AUR but NOT getting your $ back) (319) 358-9213
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Joined: May 2nd, 2011, 9:12 pm

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