Recently, we met with a group of residents from the Camden apartment to discuss a number of issues the residents have been facing over several months. At last night’s meeting, the City Council sent a letter to the Camden management inviting them to a future Council worksession. Please see below that letter.
Mr. Richard Key
Regional Vice President, Atlantic Regional Operations Center
Camden Property Trust
1420 Spring Hill Rd, Suite 200
McLean, VA 22102
Dear Mr. Key:
On behalf of the City of College Park, I am writing to bring to your attention a number of serious concerns we have recently heard from residents of Camden College Park. These concerns have been ongoing for several months, and while residents have attempted to work out the issues with on-site property management, they have not been successful.
Concerns include the following:
1. Lack of adequate security. In October 2014, Camden residents experienced a rash of breaking and enterings in their apartments, some during the daytime, due to broken security gates and other lapses in security. The Camden College Park Residents’ Association then wrote a letter to management asking for security improvements and the presence of a security guard, but management failed to act. The residents report that only after a homicide occurred on New Year’s Eve 2014 did Camden agree to meet with residents. However, residents report that, after residents requested management to install deadbolts, Camden management first wanted to charge residents $50 to install these deadbolts and then informed residents that they are not permitted by City Code, even though they are, and refused to install them. Management has also delayed in installing requested secure entry pads on the doors leading from the garages into the hallways.
2. Problems relating to renovation of balconies. According to sites like https://www.capitaldeckandstair.com/our-services/balconies/, in October 2014, Camden management began renovating several balconies around the complex. During the construction work, balcony doors were replaced with plywood and tarps, sometimes for several months, which still exist on many of these doorways. These apartments are not adequately insulated, leading to cold air seeping into the apartments and higher electricity bills for residents. Residents report that a sealant used to do the repair work released fumes that went into their apartments, making several residents sick and dizzy, with headaches. Upon inspection by College Park and Prince George’s County, code enforcement staff found that no permits had been applied for or received for this work, and issued a stop work order.
3. Regular false fire alarms. Residents report that, approximately every two weeks, false fire alarms sound in some parts, but not all, of the building. These alarms have woken several residents and kept them up for several hours. According to the residents, management has told them that, when they hear an alarm, they should call management to determine if it is a real fire or false alarm. Also, some residents are concerned that these alarms can only be heard in portions of the complex, possibly leaving them vulnerable if there actually were a fire.
4. Lack of Consistent Communication. Residents expressed concern over the lack of communication and responsiveness regarding the problems they report. Residents have regularly requested the property manager to attend the Residents’ Association meetings to respond to their concerns, but the property manager only has attended one meeting.
Camden residents have a right to expect a high standard of living and appropriate responsiveness from their management. Residents report that several of them have felt that they have no choice but to move out due to these ongoing problems.
You and representatives of Camden management are invited to attend an upcoming City Council Worksession to discuss these concerns further with representatives of the Camden Residents Association and to develop a plan to address them. Please contact Janeen Miller, College Park City Clerk, at 240-487-3501 to discuss your availability.
Thank you in advance for your cooperation and your time.
Andrew M. Fellows
cc: Mr. Muhammad Ali, District Manager, Camden Properties
Council Member Mary Lehman, Prince George’s County Council, District 1
Mr. Cory Sanders, President, Camden Residents Association
Mr. Bob Ryan, Director, College Park, Department of Public Services