Complaints Mounting Against Lakeview Apartments

Lakeview Apartments
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Lakeview Apartments in Haslett comes with a great view. It's a great area and often has great prices. But a quick check of some online reviews finds many of the people who've lived there have had not-so-great experiences. Two of them told about some outrageous conditions.

Elisa Villarreal and her boyfriend were excited about their first place together at Lakeview Apartments in Haslett-- until they moved in.

"My boyfriend and his mother found black mold," Villarreal said. "And having a young son, there were power outlets hanging off the wall and he would try and touch those."

So they were moved to a second apartment which provided its own surprises when they moved in. Two puddles of urine that appeared to be human urine.

Elisa and her boyfriend got $50 dollars off their first month's rent for the mess, but when winter came their third floor apartment wouldn't warm up.

"One vent out of our nine only worked," she said. "We'd have to have 4-5 blankets on us just to stay warm."

When they moved out three years later they were blamed for problems that were there when they moved in and were forced to go to court. And they won.

"We'd have calls from people asking 'Where's my deposit? Where's my deposit?' says Colleen Nye Shunk. She's a former resident who worked in the office and has heard Villarreal's story and others like it many times.

"There was a whole section of a building where the roof had flooded into several of the floors and they couldn't use them," Shunk said, describing the damage. "They couldn't repair the roof leaks, the water heaters that were leaking, (or) the apartments that had flooded and were sitting there molding."

And maintenance couldn't keep up.

"They were told 'Just fix what's absolutely necessary, and that's it.'"

Sakti Pramanik owns Lakeview and is a professor at Michigan State University. He wouldn't do an on-camera interview for this story, but he told me they were a victim of the cold winter with freezing pipes causing a lot of the damage.

However, rental complaints with Meridian Township obtained by tell a different story. More than six pages of complaints over the last seven years from flooding and mold to crumbling infrastructure and management not responding against Lakeview, and virtually all after the Pramaniks took over in 2009.

Complaint records from two other apartments with comparable units-- Nemoke Trails Apartments and Lakewood Apartments-- are only one page. That's a sixth of the complaints in the same time period.

"To me, it just honestly seems like a couple that got in over their heads," says Shunk.

Pramanik disputes most of these allegations, though admits if things did happen they were isolated incidents and it's not how they do business.

"Those people are complaining (so they can) break the lease," Pramanik says. "They don't want to pay the rent."

A maintenance worker told us things aren't as bad as they used to be and Lakeview has turned a corner.

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