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The Mason is located on the 3700 block of Chestnut St., north of Penn's campus. Credit: Abhiram Juvvadi

Residents of the Mason on Chestnut reported continued maintenance and communication issues after a change in management earlier this year. 

Located at 3701 Chestnut Street, the Mason is run by the building management group CSC, who took over in June in an attempt to address complaints over maintenance and security. Under new management, residents are reporting ongoing frustration due to a lack of heat, burst pipes, and flooding issues. 

The main complaint in recent weeks has been a lack of heat in the apartment units. According to residents and management, the heat for the building was supposed to be running by Oct. 15, but did not turn on until Nov. 6. During the three-week period, the rooms “fell below the legal temperature requirement of 68 degrees,” Mason resident and Perelman School of Medicine postdoctoral researcher of dermatology Geeta Ahuja said. 

Another Mason resident, who requested anonymity for fear of retaliation, described the heating as "very inconsistent."

“When they said they turned on the heat, it worked for a day or two and then the heat would go back to a lukewarm temperature," the resident said, adding that once the heating system is fixed, it would break again.

Aaron Jacobs, a manager of the Mason, acknowledged that the heat has been the biggest issue. However, he told the DP that a lack of heating has only affected a small portion of residents – 34 of the building’s 409 units. 

Flooding issues caused by burst pipes have also affected multiple residents. Ahuja told the DP that she woke up one morning to multiple leaks in her ceiling. 

“My room would have flooded if I hadn't been awakened and able to put things under the water,” she said. 

Ahuja added that she has been forced to relocate multiple times due to various maintenance issues and is now in her third different unit during her four months of residence in the building. 

Residents also expressed frustration with the management's lack of communication. 

“Their response rate is very slow,” College junior and Mason resident Absaar Malik told the DP. “And even when they do respond, they don’t take action. I don't feel like it's fair to charge full rent when you can't even give people the bare minimum of what they should expect to live in any place.”

This is not the first time Mason residents have felt dissatisfied with their living conditions — residents told the DP in August that the building has faced ongoing complaints about maintenance and security issues over the years. 

This year’s management change was intended to address these problems. Jacobs noted the recent installation of a front door camera and monitor to improve security, and he told the DP that he hired three new maintenance workers and is trying to emphasize communication with residents. 

However, residents report no improvement in conditions. According to a resident, there has been “no change in how things are done,” and “management is not responsive to complaints.” 

As residents push for more permanent solutions to the ongoing maintenance issues, Jacobs told the DP that in his two months on the management team he has seen progress by focusing on upgrades that will help improve the resident experience. 

“Our job is to be there and to be on top of it, and to provide solutions as quickly as we can. And that's what we're committed to,” Jacobs said.