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Campus Housing changes structure

Amanda Gray | Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Off-campus students renting property from Campus Housing at South Bend may have noticed a change in how their apartments or houses are managed.

National property management company Campus Apartments terminated its relationship with Campus Housing at South Bend in November, according to a statement released by Campus Apartments Chief Operating Officer Miles Orth. The properties include Notre Dame Apartments and several homes near campus.

Orth cited differences between Campus Apartment’s management and owners of Campus Housing at South Bend as the reason for terminating the relationship.

“We felt that the situation prevented us from providing the high level of service we demand, so we proactively removed ourselves,” Orth said. “We hope to continue our relationship with the South Bend community under better circumstances in the future.”

Campus Housing at South Bend is now self-managing its properties, managing member and majority owner Pat Kulisek said.

“We’re now involved on a personal level,” he said.

The transition became official the first week of November, Kulisek said. The management partnership with Campus Apartments began April 2010, according to an Observer article published at the time. The properties were initially purchased from Kramer Properties in February 2008.

Kulisek said the major change in management structure emerged from dissatisfaction with previous management companies.

“I felt our properties were underperforming and not meeting standards of our tenants and prospective tenants,” Kulisek said. “I felt we could do a better job.”

Kulisek cited his role as a father as inspiration for this change in management.

“As a parent, I wouldn’t want this,” he said. “We found work orders unfilled. I would not have accepted this performance from a landlord for my own children.”

Students living off-campus should be mindful of tenant-landlord relationships, according to offcampus.nd.edu, the off-campus student website provided by the student government’s Division of Student Affairs.

“Tenants entering into any rental agreement should make a concerted effort to learn about their legal responsibilities and become familiar with the protection granted to them under the law,” the website states.

With regard to maintenance and repairs, the website advises tenants to keep clear records.

“Always notify the landlord about any problems in person or over the telephone,” the website states. “Follow that first notification with a signed, dated letter noting the problems that you stated in your conversation. Putting the situation in writing will not only look business-like, but will also establish a record if there are problems later.”

After the relationship with Campus Apartments was terminated, improvements began immediately, Kulisek said.

“The biggest improvement made is for the services for our existing tenants, including maintenance and upgrades,” he said.

The company changed its website as well. It now operates from www.campushousingSB.com instead of the Campus Apartments address.

“Some people have had a hard time getting a hold of us [since the change],” Kulisek said. “We’re trying to make our place more tenant-friendly. Our website will contain links for other recommended businesses, and we are doing more promotions and sponsoring.”

Sponsoring includes everything from t-shirts for Late Night Olympics to other projects involving tenants.

“We want to touch base with what our tenants are involved in,” he said. “If they have something they want us to sponsor, we want to know what it is.”

Other changes include a completely new office staff, Kulisek said.

“We’re willing to work with tenants on every property. We’re really willing to listen to tenants and we’re more flexible and open,” Kulisek said. “When people stop in and talk to us, they will see we’re different.”