Resident • 1998 - 2005 Not Recommended
I have lived at the Saddleback for seven years, however, I left a few months before my lease expired. As you can tell, I was very eager to get the hell out of Saddleback!<br><br>During the first five years, things were reasonable. Then, during my last two years, the real problems started. I had lived in three rental apartments for over ten years and never had a problem with neighbors or with landlords/apartment management before. It was also about the same time that a lower caliber of tenants began moving in.<br><br>A tenant who had just moved in recently knocked on my door and told me his ceiling squeaked every time I walked. I asked him if he brought it to the attention of management, he said yes, but was told there was nothing they could do for him. He was never specific as to what he wanted from me, except to tell me that he goes to bed at a certain hour and I guess he wanted me to stop walking in my apartment when it's time for him to go to bed. I told him I was sorry about his situation, but I also made it clear to him that his request was not reasonable, that his squeaky ceiling was beyond my control and that there was nothing else I could do for him either. I also mentioned that I had no problems with the previous tenant who lived there before him for a few years. He wasn't happy with my answer, but then again, I didn't feel I was responsible for structural issues regarding the building. I called management about it and they agreed that he shouldn't have come up to bother me about this, since I am not responsible for an old, poorly structured squeaky building. They also said that if he should bother me about this again, it would be considered unwarranted harassment and that I was to let them know. While I agree that tenants have a responsibility to be mindful of their neighbors, some things have to be tolerated when you are living in such close quarters, as is the case with rental apartments.<br><br>Then, six months later, as I stepped out of my apartment, he was coming home and right there from out of the blue, he just verbally lashed out at me and said a lot of horrible things about me being inconsiderate towards him. His surly attitude was something you would expect from someone from the East Coast, not Phoenix. Our verbal exchange lasted for almost ten minutes. During our fight, he again never specifically told me what he wanted me to do about it. Afterwards, feeling threatened by his irrational behavior, I called the Phoenix police, but they told me unless he assaulted or verbally threatened me, there was nothing they could do. The following morning, I met with management and filed a written complaint against my neighbor charging bullying, intimidation and harassment. I was told that a new management of the Saddleback just took over and hired a new staff during the summer of 2003, so everybody there now was completely out of the loop regarding my first encounter with my neighbor six months earlier. They offered to have me move to another apartment, but I told them that I didn't feel that I should have to move to another apartment to please a nasty neighbor and that if he was so unhappy with his living conditions, then he's the one that should move. The bottom line is that I don't give in to bullies. They told me they would offer to move him but warned that the onus would fall back on me if he refused their offer. The following day, they told me they had a talk with him and I was told that he would move out when his lease expires by the end of 2003 and not harass me with his problems again. However, that was not the end of it. In retrospect, I probably should have just ignored him and just reported him the following morning. However, I felt his behavior was irrational and unreasonable.<br><br>Five months later, there were two incidents in the same week just a few days apart in which Phoenix police stormed apartments in the same area of the complex I was in and arrested tenants. In both incidents, the suspects resisted arrest, screamed and cursed at officers and had to be hit with Tasers and pepper spray, just like on that Fox TV show "Cops".<br><br>A month later, just less than a week after I signed what would be my final 13-month lease with them, another person in management posted a nasty threatening note at my door, falsely accusing me of making "banging noises" (they weren't specific) and for the "heavy walking" thing the bullying neighbor complained about. Apparently, he never moved out. I confronted someone in management about this and it was like talking to a blank wall. I told this person that management already resolved this "heavy walking" issue and that my neighbor behaved badly towards me six months earlier, however, it went nowhere. I spoke to another person in management and I was told that I wasn't in any trouble. They said that a different person lives there, but the person I saw coming out of the apartment in upcoming weeks and months looked very similar to the tenant that bullied me six months earlier. They offered to have me move to another apartment, but I declined feeling that my neighbor is the one that needs to move if he wasn't happy.<br><br>Six months later, I was stepping out to leave when another tenant moving in parked his U-Haul truck blocking both my car and another tenant's car. Both of us honked our horns for over 15 minutes but no one came out. A Saddleback employee passing by knew who the tenant was and went up to his apartment to get him. When he came out, he gave us his attitude and acted as if we were making a mountain out of a molehill, never mind that he made us both late to wherever we were going.<br><br>Shortly afterwards, I received another nasty threatening note on my door from yet another person in management. In this case, the noise accusations were less specific. I brought this to the attention of one of the employees and he just agreed with the complaint even though he had no idea what it was about. He was making me unhappy, then he started to argue with me and he accused me of "barking" at him. Well, when you're dealing with a judgmental power-hungry jerk like him, who wouldn't? He had this insensitive attitude that having deliberate false accusations lodged against you is no reason to get upset. I then met with management about this and they admitted that this note was a mistake. I also found out that the bullying neighbor told them that I was "deliberately" making noise, again offering no specifics. I suggested to them that they have a talk with him about bringing deliberate false accusations against me, however, they didn't sound too eager about doing that. They conceded that an increasing number of Saddleback tenants were suffering from cabin fever in which some tenants would make such a big issue over the slightest noise. They claimed that someone else complained about me, but I didn't believe them.<br><br>You would think that by now the management would take disciplinary action against my neighbor and at least threaten him with eviction for harassment. I guess they only evict people who are falsely accused of making noise or for not paying the rent, but behaving badly against other tenants is tolerable, as long as you're paying the rent on time. At that point, I decided that I would not be renewing my lease with Saddleback the next time it comes up for renewal.<br><br>I consulted an attorney who specializes in landlord/tenant issues and she told me that it was very common for apartment management to be very disorganized, to have papers out of place and that apartment staff are too lazy to go through the files of tenants thoroughly before taking any adverse action. I also personally concluded that the management were also too lazy to take action against tenants who harass other tenants, but have no problem going after tenants who fall behind on their rent. The attorney also told me that since the harassment was "only" once every six months, I didn't have much of a case against them and that the only solution would be for me to move out. She also told me that because this involves a landlord/tenant dispute, legally I don't have a case to seek an injunction against harassment.<br><br>After putting up with his bullying and harassment for over a year and a half since he moved in, my former neighbor finally moved out a month before I left. I will pray for whoever will be living next door to him.<br><br>To add insult to injury, a monthly newsletter Saddleback puts out carried an article aimed at upstairs tenants telling us to be mindful of downstairs neighbors and not engage in "heavy walking". I guess the fact that the buildings were old and structured poorly was clearly lost on both the former neighbor and the Saddleback employee who wrote that article.<br><br>By then, I decided I had enough of the crap at Saddleback. The harsh fact is that when someone makes a serious accusation against you, no matter how false it is, it stays in your file. When someone complains about you, they won't bother to contact you to get your side of the story, you will be presumed guilty. You won't know where the complaints are coming from and you won't know the specific nature of the complaint. After seven years, I submitted my notice to leave and moved out three months before my lease expired and made a decision that I would never live in rental apartments again. At least because I took good care of the apartment, I received my entire deposit back, not one penny was taken.<br><br>During the final two years I lived at Saddleback, I noticed an influx of tenants who were either riff-raff, mentally unbalanced or trailer-trash types. This once friendly complex has turned into an unfriendly ------. Many of the tenants there now are very petty, immature, childish and hypersensitive to living in close quarters with other tenants. They are also prone to unwarranted confrontation and making slanderous accusations against other tenants. Based on the irrational behavior of my former neighbor, some of Saddleback's tenants may also be on drugs. An increasing number of them also steal shopping carts from the Fry's supermarket across the street, leaving the carts in the complex and contributing to shopping cart blight. This was a radical change from what kinds of people lived at Saddleback when I moved there in 1998. There was also a different staff working there when I moved in as well.<br><br>In summary, the first five years was fine, but the last two years was about as bad as living in Maryvale or south Phoenix. The management is never interested in taking any adverse action against tenants who bully and harass other tenants (unless they're falling behind on their rent). They are also poorly trained, rude, unprofessional, on a power trip, not very good listeners, have an adversarial attitude toward the tenants and tenants like myself were forced to live in adversarial conditions.<br><br>I realize that for only $565 a month for a one-bedroom 600 sq. ft. apartment, I'm not getting the Ritz-Carlton, but I still expect tenants to behave themselves properly and not bully or harass their neighbors with their problems. And I also expect employees to behave more professionally and not be rude or surly with their tenants.<br><br>The Saddleback is no different from a Section 8 ------ housing project.
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