Moving Day

I moved, it was awful.  But I finally got Stellar to return contact, so it looks like my dealings with them are done.  I need to get rid of a lot of stuff that I have sitting around my apartment, and moving disposables of any sort really isn’t worth it at all.  I’ve decided instead of going with a larger tank which was the plan to instead go with a smaller tank.  Though looking at my fish, temporarily in a 10 gallon tank, it looks like the six-lined wrasse could be happier in a tank larger than 10 gallons.  Though I feel a little bit that surface area is more important than volume.  So I need to get rid of furniture, downsize aquarium, and not move anything disposable next time.  It’s a plan.

Lease Day

I signed a lease! Friday actually so I’ll have somewhere to live.  It’s absolutely shocking how people speak as if the actual wording and meaning of the lease is above you because they assume you’re uneducated.  In fact they’re not hard to follow, they’re terribly written, sometimes not making any sense and rife with typos and other mistakes but not fundamentally complicated documents.  So that’s one thing.

In my newfound time after getting that mostly wrapped up I’ve started to look for my cycling legs out on the road again.  I feel tired but I seem able to put in a pretty good effort when I want to.  I’m excited to get some more cat 3 races under my belt, especially ones that aren’t overrun with legit pro riders looking to collect prize money.

The downside of the move is that the apartment most likely won’t be ready by the time my current lease expires.  Also why is it that leases end on the 31st and new leases start on the first.  I feel like these things should be negotiable, because otherwise anyone who’s moving will be homeless for at least a night when they move.  Also in more complaining about “Stellar Management”, they gave me a huge amount of trouble when I wanted to stay one extra night (paid for of course), saying this is not a hotel.  Really?  After I’ve been living there for 2 years, which for a young person is a long time to live in any one spot.

The new place not being ready means I’ll be moving my stuff there on one day then existing in limbo until it’s ready to move in.  I really hope it doesn’t take long, but in the interim I need to find somewhere to put my pet fish.  This could be real trouble, but I’m planning now and hoping for the best.

Apartment Search Hints in NYC

Looking for apartments in NY is an awful experience.  I don’t think there’s any way around that.  There are a few things you can try to do to make the experience as painless as possible.  Many people have a very specific neighborhood in which they want to live, this can actually work in your favor.

1) Cut out brokers.  Take a walk through the neighborhood with a notebook.  Most building will have some sort of a sign that dictates the management company/owner of the building.  Google the management company and try to come up with a phone number.  Call building owners or managers directly and ask if they have any apartments available and if they are willing to work directly with tenants, they oftentimes are.  They really don’t get much out of brokers, and in fact often they have to pay the broker as well, so it’s in the best interests of both the management company and you to cut out the broker.  The catch here is that it will be very hard to see the actual apartment.  You can ask if the super can show you, or apartments are often left unlocked while vacant especially if being renovated, in which case they may tell you that you can just peek in.  Calling the management company directly can often save you what amounts to 13% on rent (assuming you would have paid 15% of your annual rent money in a brokers fee).

2) If you use a broker, don’t waste your time and make them work for you.  If you have certain requirements, i.e. I want to live between 75th and 85th, and you’re sure you won’t be swayed by a “super deal” at 89th, tell them that you don’t want to see it.  If they’re annoying about it talk to another broker in their office or another broker entirely.  If you use a broker you really have no obligation to them, feel free to set up appointments with multiple people throughout the day.  Don’t worry about keeping it a secret that you have other possibilities, they should have to fight for your business.  If they’re not willing to negotiate don’t be worried about walking away.  In fact telling them no will often net you a phone call the next day on more favorable terms. If you saw a specific posting on craigslist that looked great, be adamant about seeing that first, if they can’t show it to you ask why.  It’s not unlikely that they are fabricating listings just to generate interest.

3) A little help in finding management companies http://www.nybits.com/ this site seems to be more legit than craigslist which is inundated with false postings, however the vacancies don’t seem to be very up to date.  There are apartments available in general, look up the vacancy rate, usually you can find them by congressional district or zip code.  A 5% vacancy means that 1 in 20 apartments is open.  Given that many residential buildings in NYC are 6 floors or so, with maybe 15 units per floor, you’re looking at 4 vacant apartments _per_building_.  So if someone tells you that there’s nothing in a 5 block radius, you pretty much know for a fact that they’re either intentionally misleading you or totally incompetent, either way you don’t need to be dealing with them.

If you have any questions I don’t know if I can answer but put them out there.

Apartment Woes in NY

So due in no small part to my troubles with my current management company I am in the middle of searching for a new apartment.  I’ve had a lot of bad experiences in housing in New York, so I feel like I’m pretty cautious at this point.  It’s worth checking out a broker you might be using, or a management company/landlord.  Just google the address of a building, or a phone number of a broker, or the brokerage agency.  You’ll find all sorts of useful information.  I have an upcoming appointment about a broker/no fee apartment (building pays the fee) with “best apartments” (the name is too similar “stellar management” for me to feel totally at ease with this).  So a few google searches unearth some interesting reviews.  They don’t have a great reputation, in fact they have a pretty amazingly poor reputation, so bad that I almost cancelled my apointment.  I’m still planning on going, I’m just not planning on giving them anything without some sort of assurance that what they say holds water, so to speak.  Anyways, far and away the best review of “best apartments” I have found:

Don’t try to intimidate me and don’t raise your voice.  Just don’t do it.  I might be small, but I am scrappy as hell and I will take you down, a*hole, kicking and screaming.  I realize your office looks like the dungeon of misery, but that doesn’t mean you get to take your frustration out on me.

Anyways the best apartments apartment (clearly their name has problems other than being structured similarly stellar management) is under renovation, which you would think would be a good thing, it means you’d move into a modern apartment where things work, and the appliances are shiny, blah, blah, blah.  However I interpret this in a very different way.  This means that you won’t necessarily have somewhere to live when your lease starts.  So what do you do in that case?  How can you make sure you’ll have somewhere to live?  I’m strongly considering attempting to move to a less desirable apartment just because it’s ready, as in ready today, and because the guy I dealt with was a total pleasure.  Anyways wish me luck with “best apartments”.

The Incompetence of Stellar Management

So I live in an apartment building in New York City which is owned by a management company named Stellar Management (to avoid confusion this is Stellar Management of 156 William Street).  Note that a management company has a very similar relationship with a tenant as a Landlord would.  A landlord is oftentimes also the property manager/supervisor and responsible for making repairs to the building and residences, however the management company employs someone in this capacity.  Stellar Management is owned by one of its founders Laurence Gluck (some background here).

Anyways, getting back to the point, stellar management, totally incompetent, and unresponsive.  I have been living in my current apartment for nearly 2 years now, and renewed my lease at the end of a one year term.  Stellar management increased rent at that point in time and also requested additional security deposit.  I sent the security deposit in the mail, however I received a call a while later stating it had never been received (note this is possibly the only time stellar management initiated communication).  I figured it had been lost in the mail and just put another check in the mail.  I looked at my bank account a while later to see that the replacement check had been deposited… Along with the original.

I was not a happy camper at this point in time, as I was essentially scammed, either through malice or incompetence.  I immediately called stellar management, however none of the people associated with my building were answering their phones, so I left messages on every machine, and waited for a return phone call.  A few days passed, so I called again, and left messages again.  I shuffled through some paperwork I had and found e-mail addresses associated with some of the people at stellar who work with my building.  I e-mailed detailing the problem, and got responses saying that I needed to contact so and so at another e-mail address.  So I sent the same e-mail to the new address.  The same thing followed, until I had accumulated 5 email addresses.  However, no response was forthcoming.  I continued to call, leave messages and email.  Eventually I elicited a response, from person a, saying it would be fixed by tomorrow.  I waited a week or so and sent the email again, eliciting another response from person B, saying person A had fixed the problem.  I of course responded that “tomorrow” was a week ago, and I had not been told that the problem was fixed.  I received a response a few days later saying that the problem was fixed, however I am disinclined to believe this until I see a bill zeroed out, and even then I will worry it will reappear at a later time (as happened before).

Finally I needed to contact stellar management to discuss my move out date with them.  I intend to sign a lease starting august 1, and my current lease ends 7/31, one might think that this would work out beautifully.  However my prior experiences with stellar lead me to believe otherwise.  I have been attempting to contact them for a week now to discuss, however I have only reached a human being on the phone once, and the resolution of the phone call was that they would send an email to the same person who I had both sent and e-mail and left a phone message for.

Finally, not personal experience, but it’s worth noting that stellar management has defaulted on $250 million in loans as reported Here.

A very unfortunate story showing the business practices of Stellar Management here.