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Resident · 2008 - 2010
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06/19/2011
I lived at Monterey (or Village Green; they go by various names, which should be clue #1) for almost two years. In real estate parlance I was a squatter. When I signed the lease with who I thought was the owner I believed I'd found Nirvana. A post-card, picture perfect oasis, albeit a "mature" property, but my unit had been renovated and seemingly upgraded with marble tile, granite counter-tops, beautiful window treatments, huge walk-in closet for a studio and QUIET as living in the country with a partial golf course view. BUYER BEWARE.... Literally after moving my last U-Haul box into the huge walk-in closet, I got a phone call from the real owner. He was the brother of the man who'd led me to believe he was the property owner. After two seconds of pleasantries the real owner advised me the lease I'd signed was incorrect. I'd signed a 12-month, $800 monthly, with a pro-rated, or 4-month payment plan, for the security deposit of $800. I'd already handed over a $1,000 check that had been cashed. The real owner went on to explain the "honest" rent was $860 a month. He cited the fact that I had two cats. His brother knew that already?!?! He agreed the miscommunication between he and his brother; and, I was being unjustly penalized. He restructured the "lease" to a 13-month tenancy with the 13th month free as long as I signed another one-year lease at such time. He'd keep the rent at $800 a month for the following three months and lower the security deposit payments to $150 monthly until full payment was satisfied. He also wanted me to forward IN ADVANCE six separate PRE-DATED checks for the rent and security deposit payments. NO WAY, JOSE I thought. I told him I was changing banks and going totally paperless (partially true re: paperless) and his brother had agreed to the bank transfer method of payments. Just as quickly (well, he probably knew from his brother) he apologized explaining he needed actual checks for tax purposes and every bank issued counter checks for such purposes. He concluded by telling me he was doing me a favor regarding the security deposit payment plan. Additionally, another favor as my credit history would not have met his nominal standards. The icing on the cake: any problems with the condo (apartment-studio) MUST be handled through him or his brother, and not the HOA/rental office. Incidentally, this was another favor to me from him. HOW? Because a $300 rental transition/sublet fee would be applicable that I would have had to pay. I was considered a guest of his and his brother and NOT a tenant. He told me he owned three apartments in the complex and I was listed as a guest on all his apartments. Standard procedure he assured me. YES, red flags everywhere. $1000 gone already. Storage room closed out. I sat motionless for two hours surrounded by moving boxes and furniture. His brother, who was also my neighbor living in the next building came a-calling. He, too, had spoken with his Boston-based brother. He thought he d explained that his brother and sister-in-law were the actual owners. OH??? NO!!! The next revelation was the Boston brother only owned two of the apartments. One that was currently vacant and the one I inhabited. The Las Vegas bro had managed to get his own financing/mortgage. He advised me almost as an afterthought that I should just be a guest of his and use his apartment number coming and going from the security gates. I outlined that entire story for two reasons. A lot of scams have popped up in Vegas since the beginnings of the Great Recession. A lot of them, like mine, have occurred in upscale neighborhoods where it is least expected. For legal reasons I ve not included names or actual address other than this took place on Village Green/Monterey property. AND, that reflects on their management as well; more to their flawed security abilities. I would find out in time it was their responsibility to verify every unoccupied apartment/condo at least once monthly. I learned if the tenant/owner was listed off-property for more than one year, the HOA fee s were vastly reduced or waived entirely; especially if it was considered an investment property. I find that hard to believe, but since so many of the condos were vacant at the Village it might have been a marketing tool? I do know over the two years of my residency the maintenance/ground crews practically disappeared. Garbage bins overflowed. Water and electricity outages became more common. They paid for the water and for six months the adjoining golf course suffered impacts as they installed new water pipes. Studio apartments do not have washer/dryers. The HOA maintains a few free wash n dry laundry rooms. Unless you really need or want to be in walking distance of the strip, which is a healthy one mile distant from the Village security gate, numerous other upscale communities exist. Better managed, at least. Also realize the entire golf course community, while a virtual oasis in an urban setting, remains in an urban setting. Outside the 9 foot brick walls and well-secured entrance gates the naked city of low-income, illegal immigrants, criminals with guns is overwhelming. Outside the gates is not a quiet, tree-lined, cheerful-child-at-play environment. Perhaps as little as 20 years ago the scenario would ve reflected a graceful past. No more. The HOA per se does not generate rentals. Such is the responsibility of the condo owners. Once the tenant is living on property interaction with the HOA is more active. However, a major crisis such as A/C burnout, fridge breakdowns, etc., remain between you and the condo owner. Cockroaches are a big problem in desert communities. Village Green/Monterrey perhaps due to its age, lack of care, vacancy rate, and golf course location is cockroach central. I don t think a day went by in the last three or four months that I didn t kill at least one of the little suckers. Springtime welcomes the oversized waterbugs. The cockroaches hold conventions; the waterbugs are rare and not an infestation. I didn t do my homework and paid $860 monthly in 2008 2010 for a 650 sq ft studio. I discovered at least two other residents who boasted their studio rentals at $625 unfurnished; and $685 furnished. The bulk of the condo/apts are 1 br, 1 ba, w/wash dry, dishwasher, garbage disposal, ceiling fan in DR or bedroom, many have small balconies . Go to Craigslist or contact a rental or real estate agency. It appears most of the 1-beds average about $850 unfurnished; about $900 furnished. Monterrey has some dazzling 3-bed, 2 bath for $1100 would not pay higher unless furnished, but is a good price as they are very large. 2-bed, 1 bath average about $1K. Again, newer (anything after 1998) in better neighborhoods are available. Also, the recently built are better insulated resulting in lower energy costs. Overall, Village Green/Monterrey is the tree-lined, golf-course centered lifestyle perfect for the recently retired. Security is excellent; of course it has to be due to the urban location. Jerry Lewis, Debbie Reynolds and Barry Manilow maintain townhomes on this golf course. They do not reside in the Village Green section. The mansions are at the southern end of the property behind additional security stations.
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