GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) – Some college students were met with an ugly surprise on move-in day at the Block 43 Apartments in Greensboro.
They said the apartments were in unlivable conditions over the weekend. Around 100 students have been displaced while the apartments are cleaned.
Some of the apartments won’t be ready until Thursday.
“It looked like the place hasn’t been cleaned in years,” said Leah King, a UNC Greensboro student who moved into the off-campus apartments.
Some of them told FOX8 it was so bad, they had to find other living arrangements for the time being.
“This is her first apartment,” said Dennis Berry, who moved his daughter into the complex. “This is supposed to be fun for her, not a nightmare.”
The off-campus apartment complex is located off Spring Garden Street and is minutes away from UNC Greensboro and North Carolina A&T State University.
Some of the students were met with a sign on the front door that stated the apartment was ready. King expected to have a clean apartment.
“It was pretty surprising walking in here and seeing that nothing was left how it was supposed to,” she said. “It actually looked like people just moved out before we walked in.”
King said it was her first apartment as a transfer student at UNCG. She walked in to find a leak in the ceiling, mangled cords, the stovetop torn apart and damaged door molding. A cleaning checklist was marked done on the front door.
“It looks like they just walked in and walked out,” King said.
Sheleea Holland-Casey told FOX8 she waited hours for the keys to her daughter’s first apartment only to find a mess.
“When we walked in, we were completely just shocked,” she said. “The apartment looks nothing like what we previewed. It completely looks like someone moved out this morning.”
This is the first time her daughter would be living away from home.
“Just a very, very horrible experience,” Holland-Casey said. “Countertops are dirty, bathrooms are dirty.”
She said the bad odor was over overwhelming on top of the broken window. There was a dirty sink, toilet, and air vent. She even spotted crab legs outside near the walkway.
“I just don’t understand like why, why we weren’t informed earlier that this is going to be a disaster,” she said.
Parents including Holland-Casey lined up outside the Block 43 leasing office while inside Varsity Campus Director of Property Operations Clayton Hayer met with each tenant one-on-one to discuss the issues. According to the Varsity Campus website, the company owns and manages Block 43 Apartments.
Hayer told FOX8 the apartment complex was not ready for move-in because of a staffing shortage. There were not enough people to get the apartments cleaned and ready for move-in day.
He said they were focused on getting everyone into another apartment or hotel room while additional cleaning and maintenance crews come in to help.
Holland-Casey said she’s looking elsewhere for her daughter to stay.
“I may be trying to break this lease,” she said.
On Monday, FOX8 spoke with Jerry Wojenski, the CEO of Varsity Campus, who said the conditions were unacceptable of the standards his company holds.
“This is a distraction that [students] don’t need, and we apologize for it. We’re going to investigate what happened more thoroughly,” he said.
Two days before students start classes, Wojenski, and others from his staff, were on-site in Greensboro trying to work through the problems.
A dozen carpet cleaning and maid service teams have spent the day tearing out old carpet and cleaning molding walls and bathrooms.
However, Wojenski explained that it has become difficult to get even local cleaning crews to come out and help.
“There’s move-ins happening in colleges everywhere, so a lot of these companies are doing contracts elsewhere,” he said.” We just got a crew that finished up a student housing project in Raleigh that’s on their way up here.”
Varsity Campus managers were made aware of the room issues on Friday as students began to show up early for a Sunday move-in.
Wojenski said, from their perspective, it appeared there was a lack of communication from the contracted individuals and their own complex staff on site.
“Unfortunately, we had some vendors who were short-staffed. They didn’t let us know this, and they were trying to get more staffing in place. The communication wasn’t that great with the vendors,” Wojenski said.
When asked if the problems were known on Friday then why were students given keys on Saturday and Sunday, Wojenski said his employees became disorganized and overwhelmed with the number of students and parents.
“I think there was the assumption that [the apartments] were ready,” he said. “I believe they got lost and confused, and they got lost in making sure that they were done. As students were coming in with their parents, they kind of got inundated. People saying ‘I want my keys, and they just kind of gave keys out.’ They felt a little bit under pressure to hand out keys.”
The complex hopes to have 95% of the over 100 students impacted moved-in completed units by Tuesday or Thursday.
Campus Varsity is also working to compensate individuals on a case-by-case basis in the coming weeks.