Konover Residential Corporation will replace New England Realty as the managing company for 13 off-campus properties by mid-November.

New England Realty has been managing the 13 complexes since ING insurance purchased the properties in 2006. Mark Melhuish, who manages investments for the ING U.S. Community Living Fund, said there was no specific reason as to why ING decided to turn over management, but that Konover’s managing approach is “customer-oriented and very well-organized,” he said.

New England Realty was contacted twice for comment, but did not respond.

The 13 complexes that Konover will soon be in charge of include Ashford Hills, Clubhouse, Hunting Lodge, Knollwood, Maplewood, Millbrook, Oakridge, Oakwood, Orchard Acres, Perry Hill Estates, Renwood, Ridgeview Heights and Willington Oaks.

These are 13 of the 14 complexes that New England Realty manages. Birch Hill Apartments is the only complex not owned by ING.

Melhuish said ING informed New England Realty about the switch in September, keeping inline with ING’s termination clause, which requests either a 30-day or a 60-day notice.

A managing company for an apartment complex is responsible for everything that happens on site, according to Jim Hintz, director of off-campus student services. This includes day-to-day maintenance issues, handling leases and even things like marketing, he said.

“Ninety-nine percent of the tenants interact with the management,” Hintz said.

Melissa Bove, a 7th-semester psychology major who has lived in Clubhouse Apartments since August, said she is glad New England Realty will not be in charge anymore.

“The way they [New England Realty] handle things is a little unprofessional,” she said. “We made complaints about how our toilet was broken and how the sink leaked, but they never answered.”

Bove, said the conditions of the apartment when she first moved in were unhealthy.

“There was mold in the cabinets and in the bathroom. I was surprised they gave it to us in that condition.”

Stephanie Hoffman, a 7th-semester sociology major who has lived in Willington Oaks Apartments since August, agreed with Bove. She said the basement in her apartment was completely covered with mold and she sneezed uncontrollably whenever she was in it.

Hoffman said she had to call New England Realty several times until they sent someone to handle maintenance issues.

“They never do what they say they’ll do until you yell at them,” she said. “They’re unorganized.”

Bove expressed similar sentiments.

“I think it took someone to yell at them, for someone to actually respond. They weren’t going to do it on their own.”

However, Hoffman acknowledged New England Realty’s efforts to aid residents when there was E. coli found in the drinking water at Willington Oaks.

“They were pretty good about giving us water, I’ll give them that,” she said.

November 4, 2008