Monday, June 22, 2015

Palm Coast Landing Senior Apartments

This is my personal story of "trying" to rent a senior apartment recently at Palm Coast Landing Senior Apartments. I share how I felt that I was put through the ringer with all the personal and financial information requested by them and their management company. It took 8 days to get notice that I was finally approved for their carriage home, although that "just approved" notice came back in reply to my cancellation notice. The significance of that? If you were approved and cancelled, you would lose the $350 holding fee. I didn't realize that I would lose the $350 as I thought that money was to be applied to my $600 deposit should I actually lease a senior apartment at Palm Coast Landing. Bottom line, I do not recommend leasing a senior apartment with them.

Here is a bit of what happened to me. On Monday, May 4th, my house had just gone under contract and I didn't have a place to move should my home sell. I did some searching online that day and Tuesday to see what type of senior living options I could find. I found a few senior apartments locally in Jacksonville, but wasn't terribly interested in them since they were pretty old properties. Googling a bit further, I learned of a new senior apartment in Palm Coast.

Jacksonville, Florida to Palm Coast, Florida - Google Maps
Jacksonville, Florida to Palm Coast, Florida
Courtesy Google Maps
On May 7, 2015, I drove to Palm Coast, Florida in order to see the new senior apartments at Palm Coast Landing. I was to talk with a leasing associate at a sister property, the Reserve at Brookhaven. It was before 10am when I arrived and was greeted by Kim Oliver an employee of Concord Management Ltd. I had emailed Alexis Miller, leasing professional with Concord, before my visit and was looking for her. She was busy so it was Kim Oliver who sat and talked with me. I was interested in the one bedroom units, Laguna and Reef, both of which rented for $746+. That amount of rent was in line with my monthly social security payment. However, Kim immediately began to promote a special she said they had going on for the one bedroom carriage homes. Those came with a garage and were $999/month currently. I expressed that was more than I was interested in for rent. [However, a few days later, I did email them back expressing interest in the carriage home offering.]

Kim got me started on the application paperwork. I don't precisely remember where Alexis came in and also began working with me. I do remember that neither one of them verbally informed me that the $350 check they wanted from me was considered the "holding fee" and that should I cancel, that it would be non-refundable. Knowing me, I am not the type of person who would enter into an agreement where I couldn't get my money back. I did know from past experiences that the $75 application fee was never refunded. So, they got two checks from me that day.

palm coast landing senior apartments application fee palm coast landing senior apartments disputed holding fee

If you see the note on my $350 check, you will see "DEP. ($600.00)" which was my understanding that I was giving a portion of the deposit upfront. Up to that point, the word, "holding fee," hadn't been verbally discussed.

I sincerely was surprised at all the personal information along with financial records that were requested by Kim Oliver and Alexis Miller for the application process. I couldn't help but think how unfriendly that was towards a senior; especially a senior newly retired and living on social security. Was this how it was going to be now for me to rent an apartment since I retired from the corporate world?

That application was quite unusual in how it spelled out different types of people who they asked whether or not they would be living with you. You specifically had to address each type of people to ensure that you were the only one to reside in the apartment. And, further along in the application, you specifically were asked about your finances and banking information which was also spelled out by type of account. I felt it was very intrusive and am still wondering ... is that legal?

I think it must have been at the end of the application that I missed an important part of the process. I honestly never read that fine print until just THIS MORNING when I got a reply from the Better Business Bureau of Northeast Florida. This was the first time that I was getting to see what was in the fine print. And, I am wondering, why did I not receive a copy of this the day I applied?

Why did they not emphasize that the $350 was the "holding fee" that would be non-refundable should my house not sell and should I decide to cancel. I did read that they would have refunded the $350 if I was not approved. Looking at that fine print today, I'm wondering how did I miss all that and was it underlined like that when I signed it? I do know that I was sitting in the lobby of the Reserve at Brookhaven working on the application and I was also giving my financial documentation to Kim and/or Alexis to copy while I did the application. A good question, did Kim assume Alexis discussed the holding fee with me; or did Alexis assume that Kim discussed the holding fee with me? When, in actuality, neither one of them verbally discussed the holding fee being non-refundable!

palm coast landing senior apartments rental application

My financial documentation and paperwork they took that day included: driver's license, monthly check from ex, divorce decree, bank checking statement including copies of recent checks, bank savings statement, bank IRA statement, home sales contract, and the social security benefit letter. Since my letter wasn't current within 90 days, I was taken into another room and told to call the Social Security Administration. In front of me was a yellow sticky note which said I should tell the SSA that I am sitting in front of the fax machine. Well, come to find out, I was sitting in front of a fax machine, but not the fax machine that I was asking the SSA to fax my benefit letter! I found that kind of strange. It took a while with the SSA and finally one of the girls walked into the room waving my benefit letter; she said it came in through a fax in another office.

The paperwork for the application process was finished from my end and Alexis did agree to show me an apartment in the Brookhaven complex. She said she couldn't take me to Palm Coast Landing Senior Apartments because there was nothing to see since it was a construction zone. After I saw the apartment there, I said goodbye to Alexis and opted to drive around the area by myself. I did remember Alexis mentioning Central Avenue, so when I found that street, I knew the senior apartments must be nearby.

palm coast landing senior apartments under construction may 7, 2015

When I drove up to the construction site of Palm Coast Landing Senior Apartments, I was "encouraged" that they did actually exist ... despite the fact that Alexis wouldn't take me to the site.

It was on a Thursday that I submitted my application paperwork for these senior apartments. I thought I would hear back within a couple of days, or maybe within 24 hours. No such luck. Early the next week, I got a phone call from Alexis or Kim saying they needed more financial documentation. That was when the red flags really went up. They wanted six months of checking statements along with a recent IRA statement [which I had already supplied]. And, they asked me to call my mortgage company to fax them a recent mortgage statement. Then, I also noticed on May 13th at 10:34am, someone from Concord Management in Maitland, Florida, was visiting my online websites to check me out further. All this for a rental of a senior apartment??

They, either Alexis or Kim, then told me that I would hear back from them the next day. I heard nothing and waited until Thursday to send an email asking the status. There was no reply to my email. I made the decision on Friday afternoon that I wanted to cancel as I felt I had surrendered way too much financial documentation for a rental application. My email went out after 4pm. Not too long after that email, I got a reply finally from Alexis that I was JUST APPROVED and would I reconsider as she didn't want me to lose my holding fee. How about that? Now, I was just approved and was going to lose the holding fee. Surprise Surprise.

All things considered, after being put through the ringer with the application process, I didn't feel comfortable living in that kind of senior apartment. Oh, and something I forgot to mention. It was at the end of the application process that Thursday that I mentioned my cat. That's when I was informed it would be $50 per month for the cat, non-refundable. You read on their website about their pet policy, "Pets Allowed. Our homes accommodate up to two pets per apartment with a maximum weight limit of 30 lbs. Please call the leasing office for pet deposit fees." However, that pet policy doesn't say how much your pet will cost you to stay in those senior apartments!! That's not pet-friendly.

Well, you probably guessed it, that I filed a few complaints against Palm Coast Landing Senior Apartments and their agent, Concord Management Ltd. I filed a Ripoff Report against Palm Coast Landing Senior Apartments on May 28, 2015. You can read a bit more on that ripoff report about my unfortunate experience with Palm Coast Landing and Concord Management.

I have now heard back from the Better Business Bureau of Northeast Florida, the Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services, and Seniors vs. Crime. It was actually the BBB reply today that got me a copy of the last page of that signed application. Why did Kim Oliver and/or Alexis Miller not give me a copy of that application? While I was filing my online complaints, I did come across a Google Review by another applicant who lost her "holding fee." Not very friendly to seniors living on social security that you need to risk losing $350 through Concord Management Ltd. should you fill out an application for a senior apartment.

Read more about MY personal experience from my other blog posts along with the ripoff report:
  1. Palm Coast Landing Senior Apartments BBB Complaint 
  2. Seniors vs Crime in Florida
  3. Concord Management LTD Quite Contrary
  4. Palm Coast Landing Senior Apartments Ripoff Report

16 comments:

  1. I can't comment on the legality of their actions but they sound shady and unethical at best.

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  2. Paul, thanks for your comment. I too agree with you as it was very shady to keep my $350 after I asked to cancel one week later! And, unethical, especially when dealing with a senior on social security and particularly when quoting me a higher rent than what they post as affordable rent. Stay away seniors !!!!

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  3. Anonymous4:31 PM

    Why don't you try filing a complaint with the state attorney general Pam Bomdi. You can do it online.

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  4. I have filed a complaint with Florida's Attorney General Pam Bondi. It was that complaint that got Seniors vs. Crime involved to help recover the $350 "holding fee" that Concord Management LTD/Concord Rents kept after I gave cancellation notice one week after giving them my check and doing the application. Shame on them!!!

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  5. Anonymous5:59 PM

    Be glad you didn't move here Julie. Two months after moving in here we were all told that water would not be,included in our rent even though it is documented on the lease. Apparently there is a 60 page handbook we didn't get that has a utility addendum that allows them to do this. We all had to put down $190 deposits to get the water in our name. Several seniors were crying at the Palm Coast Utility Department because they can't afford this. I would never have moved her had I known.

    I also am suspect about the rent charges. My executed lease has a $606 on it. When I questioned it I was given a new copy with the $746 on it but it is not signed by anyone. One BR in Ormond is around $606 at 2 places for seniors and they have swimming pools to boot.

    I contacted SeniorsvsCrime last week but haven't heard back. Also filed a complaint on Pam Bondi's website. Something is not right here. I am seeing an attorney who works pro bono as someone has to help the seniors here. There are blind,deaf,and some very frail elderly here who can't help themselves.

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  6. Oh my, I am SO SORRY to hear that you are having issues so soon after moving in. What is also concerning is that there are 115 senior apartment properties managed by this same management company, Concord Management LTD. No telling how many others have been impacted by questionable business practices by this company. Please keep in touch and do file your complaint with Pam Bondi. I need to do more research to see about all those seniors living in all those communities. Many of them probably never get online ... so they accept these questionable business practices!

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  7. Kevin, yes, you could say they are like sharks especially since we live in the State of Florida where sharks have been biting all kinds of people off the coast! Let's hope it's karma for the sharks.

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  8. Anonymous1:53 PM

    Hi Jaguar!
    I have finally figured out what is happening here and want to post my finding so no one else, especially a senior, gets screwed out of money. The rent for a 1BR low income senior apartment is $606/month. I was told that it was $746 but that includes an optional package that includes your parking spot fee, washer and dryer, use of the clubhouse, and cable TV. You do not need to purchase this optional package and will fare better if you just do parking. You can get a better deal on cable and WIFI by yourself. As for the washer and dryer - If you bring your own you will be charged $26/month for use of their washer&dryer connection plus you must provide them proof you are insured for $25,000 in homeowners insurance. You will be paying for your own water/sewer which entails setting up an account with the city of Palm Coast and putting up a $195 deposit. The balcony addendum says you can only have balcony furniture and 1 plant. The form indicates that some apartments Concord manages charge for use of your balcony. You have use of the clubhouse only when staff are here otherwise the computers/wifi are not accessable. Supposedly we will be able to use the fitness room 24/7 soon. There is no bicycle storage,no covered picnic pavilion, no pool, no place to barbecue and no place to wash your car. A BIG WORD OF WARNING when you sign your lease. You will sign an 8 or 9 page document on paper but be asked to type you name in their computer as an electronic signature. BEWARE! you are signing a lot of addendum's that you may not have seen by doing this electronic signature. Ask to see everything on paper that you will be electronically signing and have an attorney review it first. If you cannot afford an attorney their is a wonderful group of volunteer attorneys through Community Legal Services of Mid Florida. Their Flagler number is 1-800-405-1417. Their website is clsmf.org. For hearing impaired dial 711.
    These are nice units with nice residents. Just be aware that by the time you pay for all the extras it is pretty expensive for a low income senior to live here. Concord Management makes it look on paper like they are giving you a nice 1BR for $606 with government subsidy but the truth is in all the addendums. They are not!

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  9. Hello again! Nice that you have provided an update about what the heck is happening at Palm Coast Landing Senior Apartments. You know, I fully suspect that there are a lot of other questionable items to be found as time progresses. It would cost the average senior citizen a LOT of money to pursue these people in court ... I do believe that is what they depend upon ... that they have already been sued enough times to get very clever on how they handle things! Concord Management LTD manages an awful lot of senior apartment properties ... and I again suspect that there are a lot of unhappy seniors who don't do the internet ... so they aren't socially active online to let everyone else know about bad practices.

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  10. Hi Julie, I am sorry to hear about your money loss, but you got off cheap compared to my mother who is stuck there for another 6 months. She started out at Beach Village, another one of Concord's properties in Flagler County, about 3&1/2 years ago. It was fairly clean & quiet for the first month or so. Eventually the dumpster would be overflowing and would stink up the whole area. Before long the police activity became more and more common, domestic problems and I can only imagine what else. People would be out in the hall hollering at one another late at night. There were unsupervised children in the pool,skateboarding, riding bicycles, pulling the fire alarm, and making noise constantly.
    One day in May of 2015 she received a phone call from the office that a new senior property would be opening, and encouraged her to go and look at it.
    I went over with her to look the place over, Alexis told her that they could only show her a 1 bedroom, although my mother was wanting a larger apartment. Mom ask what the rent would be and it turned out to be more than what she had been paying; then Alexis said that the water was included. Mom decided that since the water was included that would off set the higher rent. I don't think she was there a month before they put a note on her door stating that she had to set up her own account with the utility company and pay for her water. Reluctantly she called the utility company and set it up. Alexis was to fax a copy of mom's lease and a copy of her ID to complete the transfer. Although Alexis claimed to have done so, mom was still not getting a water bill, just threatening notes on her door imposing fees. The situation is still not resolved, and I could write a book on other issues that she has had with Concord Management. She has filed a complaint with Pam Bondi and we have an attorney looking into the matter. She will NOT be there once her lease is up.

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  11. Laura, I am so sorry to hear about your mom's experience. You know, Concord Management has an incredible many properties in their realm!! I suspect her story can be mirrored by other tenants who don't have a spokesperson such as yourself. I do hope she gets her situation satisfactorily resolved. Remember Pam Bondi, the Florida Attorney General, doesn't like companies that "prey" on seniors! Good thing you went that route. I'm still "working" with Bondi and will continue my activism to protect seniors from unscrupulous companies and people.

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  12. Anonymous8:06 AM

    I'm so glad I found this blog and others who are being taken advantage of by Concord Management. My experience is with the Reserve at Brookhaven. The things we have endured at the hands of the Manager, Gina Sharp are unreal and her practices show a clear abuse of power. She uses her position to manipulate her employees to communicate with tenants while she hides in her office. I feel Alexis Miller and her other employees are used by her to take advantage of the tenants in the communities in which she governs. I have witnessed here arguing with her employees when they seemed to be trying to do the right thing by the tenants into doing something deceitful. While Alexis's name is mentioned in your issues, it's Gina Sharp directing her to do these things. I have caught her in lies and contradictions and I am convinced that under her guidence funds payed by tenants are being misappropriated. The legal route is the only option in dealing with a person like this. If you try and reach out to her superiors she discourages it and says it will be directed back to her anyway. Professional people with nothing to hide don't operate like that, and you would assume they would want the support of their superiors when there is a dispute with tenants, so it can be resolved peacefully and fairly. Also, Gina Sharp and the staff she directs will use stall for time tactics so situations work out to there benefit, lie with out blinking, and other tactics that give them an unfair advantage. I don't know about the other communities but the Reserve at Brookhaven houses Immigrant Farm Workers. If you drive thru the Reserve at Brookhaven after 9P at night you will see 5 to 6 large vans. These vans hold between 12 to 15 people and have witnessed all of them filled to capacity leaving at sunrise and returning in the evening. They put 12 to 15 workers in each unit with, there is no furniture only mattresses for each. Sometimes some of them sleep in the vans in the driveway. When Gina Sharp is told how many workers are in each unit she says they are not all staying there, and what we are seeing is them visiting each other so gives the perception of that many in a unit. Not true you can see them coming in and leaving each day. They are all supposed to be background checked as well, I know that is not happening. There are other unbelievable things that we have witnessed. The city of Palm Coast & the state of FL, along with the Federal Housing Dept, HUD, etc. should be informed of these practices and at the very least Gina Sharp should be removed from her position. Good luck with your issues and the legal route may be the only option to get any kind of justice.

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  13. Oh my! What you have shared is quite worrisome! I had never heard of Gina Sharp. Yes, I do think legal action is warranted. I'm hoping the FHA is aware of these questionable issues.

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  14. I am glad this is all worked out before we got here .This Gina person was one that I talked to and also a Traci. I understand new management is here now and this place is so wonderful . Though I don't think the cable package is not good. You would be better getting your own package. I love it here and it is very quiet ; and maintain is on point .i hope they have all their issues taken care of . The only problem I have is there are only 2 stations to get your mail and they are to far for some of us their should be 3 stations. And the cable should be removed and you allowed to get your own package I pay 89 to them then 60+ for internet and phone too much for a limited income senior

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  15. Denise, I had heard about other issues with utilities. It surely seems that there needs to be a better alternative for seniors on SS and limited income. For instance, the apartment rent should be adjusted to their monthly income and include all utilities.

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