Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Palm Coast Landing Senior Apartments BBB Complaint

I was encouraged to submit a Better Business Bureau complaint against Palm Coast Landing Senior Apartments and Concord Management Limited after I shared my story online with my Facebook peeps. It was after that BBB complaint that I opted to pen a blog post to warn other unsuspecting seniors to be careful of this community and management company.

It was after I submitted the BBB complaint that I actually got to see a copy of the third page of the application that I signed. On that page, there was a paragraph above the signature area with a lot of fine print, some underlined. There it tells you that you will not get back your holding fee of $350 should you opt to cancel and have been approved. In my case, I canceled BEFORE I got word that I had "just been approved." Very suspicious and a bit unethical.

If you are curious about my experience, check out my blog post on Palm Coast Landing Senior Apartments written on June 22, 2015. My unsatisfactory and sad experience began on the morning of May 7, 2015, when I drove over 1 hour to Palm Coast to check out the community. I didn't technically get to check out the community as the leasing agent(s) refused to take me there, saying it was a construction zone with nothing to see. That made me wonder all the more, so, I drove around until I found it!

Palm Coast Landing Senior Apartments handouts at application time
Palm Coast Landing Senior Apartments handouts at application time
I took a copy of that little flyer so that I had something about the community!
BETTER BUSINESS BUREAU COMPLAINT

Here is the text of my actual complaint filed with the Better Business Bureau:
I have recently had dealings with Concord Rents aka Concord Management LTD through two of its leasing agents/floaters, Kim Oliver and Alexis Miller. Being a retired senior, living on social security, I heard about a new senior apartment building, Palm Coast Landing Senior Apartments. I was interested in finding out about a senior apartment, thinking it would meet my needs, although I am a young senior. On May 7, 2015, I drove from Jacksonville, FL to Palm Coast, FL to view the Palm Coast Senior Apartments and possibly secure one of their senior apartments. The apartments were not yet ready, so I met with two leasing agents from Concord Management at a sister property. They had two layouts for a one bedroom apartment - Laguna and Reef - both renting for $746. When I arrived, Kim Oliver first sat with me and gave me the application to fill out. Later in the process, Alexis Miller sat with me. When I filled out the application, they asked for two checks, $75 for the application fee and $350 which would go towards the deposit of $600. After I had written my two checks and they had taken them, I mentioned my cat. That is when I learned they charge $50 per month for cats although the pet policy says nothing about that charge. They took an incredible amount of financial information from me including a copy of my divorce decree of 11/2010, my current home sales contract of 5/4/2015, checking account statement, savings statement, IRA statement, copy of a monthly check from the ex. They took me into another room and told me to call the Social Security Administration to request that they fax a current income letter; to tell the SSA I was sitting in front of the fax machine, although that wasn't the fax machine the income letter would come through - it was in a different office. When I asked to see the apartments, they said we couldn't go down there. Instead, they took me to a townhome at the sister property to show me the kitchen saying it had similar finishes. After the showing, Alexis said goodbye to me in the parking lot. I decided to go find those apartments. I drove around the block and then found Central remembering Alexis had mentioned that street. Driving a couple of blocks down Central, I saw a building that looked a bit like the website photo. I drove up to the entrance and saw the Palm Coast Senior Living sign. That was my only "viewing" of the potential senior apartment. Long story, short, the following week, Alexis phones and requests yet more financial information - six months of my checking statements and a current IRA statement; plus, could I call my mortgage company to fax them a current mortgage statement. They got all that extra info from me and said that I would know about my application the next day. That day came and went, along with Thursday and then into Friday; no word. Friday late afternoon, I emailed Alexis to tell her that I was unhappy with being put through the ringer with all that personal financial information; I was concerned about them handling that info with the possibility of becoming a victim of identity theft. I told her I was canceling my application and wanted my $350 deposit refunded. Two hours later Alexis emailed me back to say she had been busy; that I JUST got approved, and would I reconsider as she didn't want me to lose my holding fee. What?? Nothing was said about a non-refundable holding fee. They took $75 plus $350 and have not communicated back. I WANT MY $350 MONEY BACK!! Preying on senior citizens? Deceptive rental practices? Plus, they don't tell you until after you have paid the money and completed the application that your cat will cost $50 per month! That is understood upfront to be non-refundable. More information about my complaint:

Ripoff Report: Palm Coast Landing Senior Apartments and Concord Management Limited.

DesiredSettlementID: Other (requires explanation) I want my $350.00 refunded immediately. They shouldn't have kept anything other than the $75.00 application fee.
palm coast landing senior apartments application fine print
Palm Coast Landing Senior Apartments Application - Page 3
Note: I was not furnished with a copy of this at the time of application.
This copy was furnished as an answer to my BBB complaint!
I did get a reply to my BBB complaint from the business. I'm not sure who wrote that reply, if it was Palm Coast Landing Senior Apartments or Concord Management Limited. Here is what they had to say about the issue:
Julie Brady applied in our office on 5/7/2015. She did pay our office both a $75 application fee and a $350 holding fee. It is explained at the time of application that the $75 application fee is not refundable as it is a processing fee, and the $350 is only refundable if an application is denied. If an applicant cancels it is not refundable. Please see attached application (personal information omitted with attached copy), signed by Julie Brady, stating the application fee is nonrefundable. The application also states, directly above Julie Brady’s signature, should this application be cancelled by applicant all monies, including all holding fees and/or deposits paid up to $350 will be forfeited.

Between May 7, 2015 and May 14, 2015 we had several phone call communications and e-mail communications with Ms. Brady regarding her application. Our community does operate under the LIHTC program, which Ms. Brady did apply for a unit with that program. Due to this program we do require financial information from our applicants as we have to determine their income does not exceed our maximum income requirements for the household size.

At no time did our office not respond timely to Ms. Brady. E-mail communication is at times delayed as our company does have spam blockers in place and it can delay e-mails coming through up to 24 hours.

We will not be refunding Ms. Brady’s $350 holding fee as she was both verbally told it is nonrefundable at the time of application and also when she called to cancel her application, and it is also written on her signed application.

palm coast landing senior apartments BBB complaint answer
I replied back to the BBB that I was not satisfied with the company's response. The information supplied by the company in their response was not 100% true. No one verbally informed me of the nonrefundable holding fee. In fact, it wasn't until I saw the company response that I actually read the fine print on that application.

The company decided to stick it to me and keep the $350. I do know that the leasing agent Alexis Miller spoke of cancellations they had already received. Did they keep all those applicants' $350???

The BBB marked my complaint "closed" with a notation, "Answered - the business addressed the issues within the complaint, but the consumer remains dissatisfied." Well, I guess so! Shoot, those greedy and unethical people took $75 for an application and then delayed the answer on approval until 8 days later and then said I was "just approved" after I submitted my cancellation ... so they could say I was approved and then cancelled ... to keep my $350. What a shoddy way to run a business.

P.S. Just today, I happened to find that Palm Coast Landing Senior Apartments is listed as a community with affordable housing. I was Googling to find out more about TCAP in the State of Florida. I saw "TCAP" at the bottom of the document the company supplied to the Better Business Bureau. Now, I find this most interesting in that the monthly rents listed are nothing like what I was told they would be. I was quoted $999/mo for the 1 bedroom carriage home; according to their website, the two different one bedrooms had monthly rents starting at $746/mo. Wouldn't a retired senior on social security of $1,156/mo qualify for the affordable rents, if available? And, is this community following the guidelines for TCAP in how they handle their applications ... and the non-refunding of the $350?

palm coast landing senior apartments affordable rent listing
Affordable rentals in Flagler County, Florida - Social Serve
I am even more unhappy with my experience at Palm Coast Landing Senior Apartments now that I have had their reply to the BBB complaint and now that I found this information about the actual affordable rents they are supposed to be charging.

Be careful if you consider renting there. Or, if you find another Concord Management Limited community. Not very friendly to seniors!!! Or, pets, for that matter ... if you have a cat, it will cost you $50 per month and that is non-refundable too!!

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

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