GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — Local students and parents are upset over student housing conditions across the City of Greenville. In recent weeks, 9OYS has received numerous reports from viewers that issues are arising in not one but multiple student-living apartments.

Students and their parents tell 9OYS it’s frustrating, to pay so much money for these complexes that boast about luxury student living when it comes to what students describe as mold issues. “It’s deferred maintenance. They’re not maintaining these units”

They go home for the summer, only to come back to school and find potential mold in your apartment and your HVAC faulty.

“August 10th, around like one o’clock, she came in and found mold on the floors, cabinets, fridge, couch, everywhere,” said one resident. “We kept ours (A/C) on 71° and when my roommate went in there, late August, she saw that it was on 78°.”

That’s what residents at the Eastern on 10th apartment complex say happened to them after the power went out in their building in early August, with no notice to residents who were not yet back at school.

“The Maintenance Manager came in and he said, ‘Yeah, that is definitely mold. Like I’ve dealt with a lot of it and that’s definitely it.’ But management of Eastern on 10th is claiming that it’s not mold, there’s no mold in our apartment like we don’t know what to tell you. But there’s still like black stuff all over the bottom of the sink. So he found water moisture obviously in there. And then where our AC unit is, he found it in there too.”

Eastern on 10th Resident

City Code Enforcement was called by the tenants. After assessing the situation, they noticed excessive dust particles surrounding the ventilation and said it needed to be cleaned. So the tenant and her parent called a third-party remediation company to come in and sanitize the unit, costing them $2,300 out of pocket. A bill they say Eastern on 10th should reimburse.

9OYS reached out to Eastern on 10th. They provided the following statement:

“Thank you for reaching out regarding the reported issues that you have received regarding our community. We take great pride in our ability to rectify any maintenance related issues as quickly as possible. Instances of mildew and moisture issues can occur in multifamily units for a variety of reasons. Many of the residents in our community are living independently and away from their parents’ homes for the first time, and often without realizing, misuse HVAC and other systems in their apartments. This misuse unfortunately leads to these types of issues that inadvertently become larger in cases that are not promptly reported to us by the resident. Despite being two very different issues, instances of mildew being confused with mold are common. We have no known issues of “mold infestations” in any of our units at Eastern on 10th. When a resident reports mildew inside of their unit, our office quickly addresses and rectifies all issues except for any personal belongings. If any outstanding items remain, we’ll be happy to address any issue and restore the unit to satisfactory conditions as rapidly as possible. Should you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.”

-Sincerely,
Eastern On 10th Management

Letters from the Eastern on 10th attorney claim the settings the tenants left the HVAC on, caused the mold to form, and therefore, management is not liable financially or otherwise for any issues that occurred. They then told tenants they would pay for repairs they made, but wouldn’t pay for the outside mold cleaning fee.

“[They said] ‘You pay for your thing, and Eastern on 10th will pay for their thing, we’ll just consider it a wash.’ You know what the repairs were? The repairs were; there was a hole in the wall next to the fire sprinkler head and the garbage disposal was leaking. How is that not their responsibility in the first place?” Says the parent of that tenant.

These residents do not plan to resign their lease after this situation and response from management.

Another student living resident claimed he came back after three weeks to find mold on the majority of surfaces in his unit, causing him to throw out upwards of $5,000 in property, including a laptop.

“Obviously contacted my parents, and they didn’t know what to do,m and then contacted my insurance from our renter’s insurance, and didn’t touch a thing”, says former Jolly Roger resident Grant Miller. “There was a bubble in the bathroom, and also a water spot in my bedroom, so I told that to my renter’s insurance agent. I got in contact with the building manager. We walked through it, and he said it was improper use of the A/C, but he also said that he looked at my past utilities, and it was all normal. It hadn’t been shutting off or anything, it was set at 71°.”

Making a list of all that was lost to submit an insurance claim, Miller waited for an official cause of damage to be determined for the claim to be approved.

“The manager was, you, know, pretty like, ‘Woah’, I mean, ‘Oh, geez sorry dude, I’ve never seen anything like this before. Let’s you know, we’ll dig into it, you go through your stuff see what you can salvage, and we’ll figure this out,” says Miller’s mom.

The claim is denied by insurance because The Jolly Roger says they were unable to find a source or water leak, so therefore, they say, they are not liable for damaged or thrown-out items.

9OYS reached out to Jolly Roger Management who says this is an isolated incident, and their team has been working diligently to resolve past issues. They provided the following statement:

“New development construction projects occasionally experience items that require additional attention.  Our team early on was able to act swiftly and address the root concerns with permanent solutions resulting in increased resident satisfaction.  These efforts and resolutions have led to phenomenal retention where residents are proudly calling The Jolly Roger home for another year.  The Jolly Roger is and will continue to be an integral part of the ECU and Greenville communities, and we are all looking forward to another great year.”

-Jolly Roger Management

9OYS also reached out to residents from our prior look at the Jolly Roger, who say for them, living conditions since last year have been great. All problems were remedied, and the apartment complex made a promised effort to rectify its reputation among residents and the community. Miller said this was the first and only issue he experienced while living at the Jolly Roger. He has since moved out, a prior arrangement to the situation.

9OYS spoke with City of Greenville officials about the standards of living they expect from student housing management and landlords. Brock Letchworth, Public Information Officer with the City of Greenville says this time of year, as college students return to classes, they get the most complaints about housing conditions.

“Know what you’re signing a lease for, take a look at the property which you’re going to be living in before you agree to anything. I think what happens is a lot of times folks are from out of town and they see these complexes and agree, then they get here and it’s of course not quite what you see in the pictures.”

Letchworth said the city performs initial inspections on properties after construction, but after that, their involvement is complaint-based and gauged by the city’s Minimum Housing Code Standards.

“It was very frustrating,” said the parent of Eastern on 10th’s resident. “We didn’t expect not to get support, you know. We didn’t expect that they would just throw their hands up in the air and go, ‘you know, this is not, this is not mold.’ It really was disappointing, and mold is a huge issue.”

Maintenance officials say if you leave your residents for an extended period of time, it’s best to leave your A/C unit on “auto” as opposed to “on.” That way new air is circulating throughout the space instead of stagnant air being moved around.

It’s something not all homeowners may know, but a good rule of thumb.

WNCT also received complaints and documentation of poor living conditions at additional student living complexes including The Davis and Copper Beech. All parties declined to interview.