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New landlord enters off-campus housing market

Amanda Gray and Sarah Mervosh | Tuesday, April 27, 2010

When sophomore Meghan Donoghue decided to live off campus her senior year, she worked with Kramer Properties, a local retail company. A few weeks after signing her lease, however, she found out via e-mail that a different company would be managing her house.

“We signed for our house with Kramer, paid the first and last month’s rent and the security deposit and about two weeks later received an e-mail that Kramer was no longer our landlord,” Donoghue said. “I know a lot of people who had signed with Kramer were really confused or upset when they heard about the switch.”

Campus Apartments, a national retail management company, recently took over a portion of Kramer Properties.

Mark Kramer, owner of Kramer Properties, said he sold 56 homes and Notre Dame Apartments in February 2008 to Gross and Cohen Real Estate Investors.

Gross and Cohen decided to have Campus Apartments, a national chain managing off-campus housing at schools across the U.S., manage the homes and apartments for them, president Michael Cohen said.

This is the first time the company has worked with Campus Apartments, but  “they have great, national quality,” Cohen said.

For students who have not yet signed a lease, the management change could work to their advantage.

Rent for the homes now managed under Campus Apartments is lower than when they were managed under Kramer. Cohen said the lowering of the rent was a joint decision between Gross and Cohen investors and Campus Apartments.

“There were not many units rented when [Campus Apartments] took over,” Cohen said. “They had to be aggressive.”

Junior Mike Delach, who originally signed with Kramer Properties, said he was indifferent to the management change.

“I knew that my lease was going to be honored. They just said it was going to be the same kind of ownership. They didn’t make it seem like anything was going to change,” Delach said.

Delach said he hopes that he will still be able to have “the college experience” and would be disappointed if Campus Apartments was stricter than Kramer Properties.

The only complaint Delach has so far, he said, is the lack of communication between Campus Apartments and students.

“I’m feeling pretty under-informed from Campus Apartments,” he said. “[I’d like] more information. Security information would be good.”

Donoghue said she has not yet been contacted by Campus Apartments.

“Though we have not attempted to contact Campus Apartments, it seems strange to me that they haven’t reached out to us at all,” she said.

Kramer said he sold the properties to reduce the number of homes he owned and help improve business.

“We like to make it have more of a personal touch,” Kramer said. “It was getting quite large.

We want to be on a personal level with students.”
Kramer said he still has 75 student homes, as well as the Lafayette Square townhomes and other properties.

“Business is still booming,” Kramer said. “We’re still around and we intend to be in business for a long time.”