Editor's note: The original version of this story said Granite Student Living didn't respond to multiple phone calls or emails. Granite did respond to a phone call, requested that we send an email, which got no response. The story has been updated to reflect this change. 

For most students, shopping around for a place to live is a large part of the college experience, albeit not an easy one. Amid the frantic search for the best deal on a home away from home, some students say property management companies have taken advantage of them and other tenants.

Students have alleged that such companies have not given due notice for apartment tours and maintenance.

Shiraz Khan, a graduate student in the College of Engineering, said he received a vague email from Basham Rentals that said apartment tours can be held in any residence between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m.

“We are not required to give notice as stated in your lease which is quoted below,” the email read. “You do not have to be home for us to tour. Please make sure your apartment is tidy and any important items are out of sight.”

The email said no response after an initial knock serves as permission to enter.

Khan responded on Oct. 4 to the email from Basham asking them to give him due notice as to when tours will be happening in his apartment. He cited Indiana Code 32-31-5-6 (g), which says “A landlord shall give a tenant reasonable written or oral notice of the landlord’s intent to enter the dwelling unit.”

“We have not received ‘reasonable notice,’” he said in his email. “Rather you are just informing us that you can enter our apartment on any day according to a clause in the lease (which once again, is void).”

Basham Rentals hasn’t responded to Khan’s email, he said, and a representative declined an interview with The Exponent in an email. Khan signed with Evergreen Campus Rentals for the 2022-2023 school year.

Khan and other tenants of Basham Rentals signed a “Lease Explanation and Understanding Checklist” upon leasing the apartment. The checklist explains leasing agents can show apartments without notice until the lessee renews their lease. The checklist, though, says tours can happen between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m.

He said he has yet to experience Basham Rentals walking in to tour his apartment but knows of other tenants who have experienced this. These tenants declined requests for comment.

Granite Student Living, a management company known by its signature banana logo, allegedly has similar practices.

Matthew Rusnak, a senior in the College of Liberal Arts, lives in a property owned by Granite. He said he found the tile of his kitchen floor had a large gray streak from the previous residents, possibly left by a rug previous tenants glued to the tile. He also said the washing machine had mold in it when he moved in.

“I contact them for maintenance, and the maintenance employees come in, but I haven’t reached out to them about any of the other problems because I get the vibe that they don’t really care,” he said. “They know that most people living there are college students who have never done this before, and just think this is the way it works.”

While Indiana statutes say rental companies must give lessees due notice before entering a residence, Granite allegedly told Rusnack they would be in to fix an issue sometime during business hours — Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. — and didn’t get more specific.

“Sometimes they will come in without us knowing,” Rusnack said, “and we’ll come back to find that our stuff has been moved.”

Rusnack said he hasn’t contacted Granite Student Living about these conditions.

“It doesn’t really matter if we complain.” he said. "Because if we leave, there’s going to be an infinite supply of more people that are going to move in anyway, so what do they care if they do things wrong?”

Rusnack said he has not signed his lease again for the next year, and plans on renting from a different management company.

Christopher Chen, a graduate student studying public health, said Granite “chipped (him) out” of his security deposit when he lived there.

Chen explained that while he received his security deposit back, Granite charged him the same dollar amount for “cleaning service fees” at the end of the year.

When Chen contacted Granite about this, the company told him that it was normal for a cleaning fee to be this expensive.

“Once we’re in college, we have this new financial freedom, and you’re now responsible for your own finances,” Chen said. “Many college students are naive, and there’s a lot of opportunities for businesses like these to take advantage of that naivety.”

Chen has since moved to River Market Apartments because of his issues with Granite.

Granite Student Living replied to a phone call and directed the Exponent to an email account. The Exponent sent an email and received no response. 

While Granite and other companies have given some students trouble, other, smaller companies seem to be a better fit for some.

“My experience in particular has been pretty flawless, but I know other people can’t say the same,” Patryck Baranski, a senior in the College of Engineering, said about Evergreen. “As far as maintenance, they’ve taken care of all the tickets we have submitted.”

When Baranski moved into his apartment in 2019, Granite managed it. Management changed hands in fall 2020, and it’s now managed by Evergreen.

“I think Evergreen is a bit more responsive as far as maintenance requests go,” he said. “I think they’re way quicker at coming in and checking stuff out. We also now have a dog that lives here, and Evergreen made that a pretty process whereas Granite did not allow pets.”

Liam Moran, a student in the College of Engineering, agreed that Evergreen takes care of its residents. He said that as the apartments are “old” and a decent price, students shouldn’t expect high level service, and that Evergreen fixed the mold in their bathroom with clear signs of repainting. Moran’s apartment also received a new dishwasher upon request.

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