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More complaints against BLVD63 apartment near San Diego State University

CBS 8's continues Working For You on a story about BLVD63, an apartment complex for college students that is accused of being filthy and non-responsive.

SAN DIEGO — Many viewers are reacting to a Working For You report after CBS 8 shared the story of a college student who found her new apartment in San Diego was not exactly move-in ready.

After CBS 8’s Abbie Alford got involved, BLVD63, agreed to let the student out of her lease with no repercussions or cost.        

Now others are telling CBS 8 that there's more when it comes to this complex.

Last week, Mesa College student Kaylie Herzberger, went to move into the College area apartment near San Diego State. She said the place was filthy.

Former tenants backed up her claims of what it was like when they moved in a year ago. 

Former tenants describe unsanitary conditions

“Large gross stains and hair all over the floor,” said Emma Ward, former tenant.

Thomas Gingell described a dirty kitchen upon moving into his apartment.

“There was food everywhere, the fridge was greasy, the stove was unclean,” said Gingell.

“When you go inside, the hallways are stained, the trash rooms have rats in them,” said Melissa Montoya, former tenant.

Another tenant shared video of blood splattered on the walls and stairwell after someone was shot in July.

Now, the property management company Pierce Education Properties (PEP), wants to explain away these allegations.

CBS 8’s Abbie Alford spoke to them on the phone, they declined an on-camera interview but answered a list of questions in an e-mail, including Thomas Gingell’s complaints.

The grad student moved out this summer and shared pictures of his thrashed mailbox unit where he says his mail was stolen and worried about security.

“My car was totaled in a hit-and-run, they're supposed to be a 24-hour security presence. There never was,” said Gingell.

PEP’s responded in part, 

“…The mailbox vandalism resulted from a homeless individual who entered the property. We coordinated with the U.S. Postal Service on repairs. However, USPS required a specific mailbox system which unfortunately took 8 months to be delivered.”

‘It's just, it's just unacceptable,” said Gingell.

Montoya lived in the complex for three years and shared photos of what appeared to be mold in her bathroom in 2021.

“I noticeably was sick quite often in that apartment. And I always had this this kind of mysterious cough,” said Montoya.

Melissa documented her complaints and requests to completely remediate the mold from a broken pipe above her shower and finally filed a complaint with the City of San Diego Code Enforcement Department.

“They were they were making claims that it wasn't what they what it was and the City came in and found that it was mold and did some testing and they had to move us out,” said Montoya.

PEP’s response, 

"We take any reports of mold seriously and investigate them in all situations. If mold were to be found, the remediation process would vary based on the severity of the situation. Most times we get a resident self-report of mold, it is found to not be mold but instead a cleaning issue by the residing tenants but all work orders are followed up on in a timely manner.

Looking at the code enforcement report, the tenant that made that call to code enforcement at a time we were actively working on her reported leak. Our team actually found the issue in the unit and relocated her during the situation to another apartment while they resolved the leak."

Online code enforcement records show the case is still active.

There are other complaints that show the city has closed them and resolved including a rate infestation report filed in 2020.

PEP’s said, "The pest issue was already being addressed prior to the city complaint. Multiple trash chutes were re-built in order to rectify this problem which is common in buildings with trash chutes. We also instituted Valet Trash service as a preventative measure to prevent pests from trash build up.”

In 2019, there was no violation found after someone filed a complaint about unsanitary conditions.

CBS 8 did find several small claims filed against the investors, Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America.

Emma is still upset that she was charged $28 for carpet damage that she didn’t do.

“I asked so much about the carpet it's not even funny and they were like, ’I don't know,’” said Ward.

PEP said nothing was noted on the move-in condition report. CBS 8 put the two in touch and PEP said they are now working to resolve her issue.

“I really think they take advantage of young people,” said Ward.

And for the 263 Google reviews with an average 3.2 rating, its filled with bad reviews and similar complaints about BLVD63’s 400 unit complex.

PEP’s response, 

“For anyone that is a resident or a prospect in our system we reach out to them via their phone/email address and follow up. Many reviews are not linked to any resident or are residents who were evicted for cause or charged damages. For example, there are multiple residents who lived at the property for 2-4 years and then wrote 1-star reviews after move-out about their move-in experience. One would assume if the situation was that dire that they would not renew and stay with us for multiple years.

PEP also added they have a 35% renewal rate, If the problems were as systemic as you are attempting to portray it seems counterintuitive that that many students would continue to make BLVD63 their home for additional years."

Former tenants said BLVD63 is known for providing incentives to those who renew their lease. Montoya says they gave away a $1,000 VISA gift card, lowered rent and electronics.

PEP’s response, “This year we offered no incentives for renewals, no gift cards for signing leases, we did a few drawings open to anyone that signed. In March we gave away 2 passes to Six Flags, In February we gave away a chance to win 2 Padres Tickets, In December we did a raffle for a $250 gift card, in December we did a one day special for a limited number of $100 gift cards during an event and a 5-day giveway raffle for things like air fryers and a smart vacuum. We did not offer everyone that renewed anything this year.

We offered no gift cards of $1,000 this year, the specials I listed are above. The only concession that was not a raffle was a one day flash sale of $100 gift cards. Those gift cards of that high a value are from several years ago.”

Thomas hopes CBS 8’s coverage is a wakeup call to make some changes.

“I hope students are more aware of what this place is really doing. And I hope management just finally takes these complaints seriously,” said Gingell.

PEP said response to many claims of not having move-in ready apartments and using the move-in condition report as a shield, 

"We are stating it offers them the option to upload any photos and notes of the unit, they can put as much or as little as they want on it. If they fail to complete it or don’t include notes, we run into difficulty validating any claims at the time of move out, especially in cases where we have invoices from vendors showing things like carpet replacements in a unit or when the other roommates note no issues in the common areas.  Every inspection has a section for additional notes, and we tell everyone moving in to be as descriptive as possible as this is what it will be compared to at move out. Each of these inspections is reviewed as it's turned in and any maintenance requests are completed based on the notes on these inspections if needed."

Since CBS 8 started covering this story, we’ve received complaints about other apartment complexes housing college students.

Many of the tenants we spoke to did not file a code enforcement complaint with the City of San Diego. These are violations that would involve public codes such as health hazards, water, rodent infestation, non-working smoke alarms or mold.

WATCH: Here's how to file a code enforcement complaint with the City of San Diego 

You can also call Tenants Legal Center at (858) 571-7100 or Tenants United (619) 709-0942.  


WATCH RELATED: San Diego student will receive full refund after squalor BLVD63 apartment (Aug. 2022)

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