Penn's largest off-campus landlord has revised its "as-is" policy to discourage current tenants from passing down furniture to incoming tenants, prompting students to criticize the change as an annoyance.
Under the new policy, Campus Apartments requires residents to move all furniture out of their rooms at the end of their lease, even if they are passing down the house to residents they know. The change in policy was designed to ensure rooms were in a clean condition at the beginning of a new lease term, Campus Apartments Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Miles Orth wrote in a statement.
The policy gives students the option to leave their furniture behind, but if they do so, they must have the unit professionally cleaned by a Campus Apartments-approved vendor before they leave.
Some Campus Apartments tenants are frustrated by the inconvenience caused by the new policy, which will require significantly more investment and effort when passing down a house from one set of residents to another.
College senior Olivia Mukherjee, who is renting from Campus Apartments for the first time this year, said she and her roommates purchased big leather couches and a lot of furniture with the expectation that they would be able to sell it to the next tenant.
With the policy change, even if the next tenants decided to buy Mukherjee's furniture, the tenants would have to put the furniture into a storage unit for the summer before they started paying rent on the house.
"It's just unlikely that we're going to be able to sell it successfully to the next class of people who might be moving in here," Mukherjee said.
Engineering junior Jonah Miller and his friends' Campus Apartments house was passed down to them by upperclassmen they knew. Miller had intended to sell his desk, bed frame, and dresser to the next resident of his current house.
"I live on the third floor of my house; I don't want to have to carry all that stuff down, and I was just planning on selling it for 90% of what I bought it for," Miller added. "Now I have to figure out what I'm going to do with all that furniture."
Miller acknowledges that the new policy has benefits in theory, as residents will receive new carpets and repainted walls. Mukherjee, however, did not sign the as-is policy when it was still offered and said her apartment was dirty when she moved there in August.
"We didn't take that furniture thinking that the apartment was going to be thoroughly cleaned and that issues were going to be addressed. Then, when we [moved] in, we [moved] into an empty apartment: The floors were filthy, [and] there [was] just damage throughout the house that [had] clearly not been addressed or even looked at," Mukherjee said. "It [was] so obvious that I looked at it and thought 'Okay, that definitely is not up to code.'"
Mukherjee said she understands that the policy change is intended to help clean out the apartments, but said she and her roommates had chosen "that option, and [Campus Apartments] didn't deliver on that promise," Mukherjee said.
Miller is skeptical that Campus Apartments will keep its word and clean out the apartments before the next tenants arrive. Over the summer, Campus Apartments told Miller that it would clean out the house's basement, and Miller and his roommates stored their personal belongings in a friend’s basement next door. However, over the summer, the neighbors were burglarized and many people had their belongings stolen, including Miller’s Xbox.
The basement had been untouched when they came back. Campus Apartments had not cleaned it over the summer.
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