Upperclassmen living in the newly renovated Kardon Building have begun griping about what they perceive as unfair treatment, alleging new rules developed due to the building’s high freshman population were not spelled out in their leases.
Chief among the complaints is the ban on kegs.
Students have also expressed frustration with the rent prices and the use of three floors for freshman housing.
John Bugbee, a student living in Kardon, said that after bringing a keg of beer into the building on Sep. 26, he was approached by Sandy Zerbe, the Kardon property manager.
“We had a small gathering the night before- about fifteen guests, and the next morning Sandy knocked on the door and told us she had heard we had a keg and it wasn’t allowed,” he said, “When we pointed out that it wasn’t in the lease, she told us it was building policy.”
“Ninety percent of the students [in Kardon] are underage,” said Zerbe.
She added that allowing kegs in the building would run the risk of the freshman going to the parties and drinking.
In a Sept. 27 letter addressed to Bugbee and his roommate Geoff Graboski, Zurbe noted that “most of the tenants are underage and you must think about the consequences if anything were to happen.”
“First off, its not like we had an open party, and secondly, there was nothing about kegs in the lease,” Bugbee said.
“We rent privately and shouldn’t be bound by Temple rules simply because freshman live here.”
Zerbe said that although students over 21, they are not allowed to have kegs in the building, and they are allowed to bring alcohol into their rooms.
According to the director of counseling at the Housing Association of Delaware Valley (HADV), it is not a violation of a lease for renters to create new rules in response to new situations that arise after leases have been signed.
The director, Khalil Walker, said that this kind of change is called a contingency, which is intended to safeguard the health or safety of the tenants.
HADV is a tenants-rights organization that was founded in 1909.
The no-keg policy and other situations have left Bugbee and others further disgruntled with Kardon.
“I’m not the type of person to start trouble, but it is more than annoying that this has been done to us,” Bugbee said.
According to Zerbe, approximately half of Kardon’s residents lease apartments directly through Philadelphia Management.
Students such as junior Rosie Castaglani have complained about the $412 a month rent, without utilities, for a two-bedroom apartment with four tenants.
She said that Temple should have leased the whole building from Philadelphia Management, which owns the Kardon Building, and used it for student housing.
“It’s completely unfair,” said Castaglani.
“They get all of it– cable, utilities, phone–at basically the regular housing rates, and we have to pay outrageous prices for everything.”
However, freshmen living in a four-person unit at Kardon pay $682 a month during the course of a semester.
Although the freshman can apply financial aid to the cost, this still amounts to an additional $270 a month more for utilities.
“Temple sold this building to Philadelphia Management, but [Temple] still has a lot of control over the policies here,” she said, “We live on our own, pay our own rent, and signed our own lease, but we still have to live by Temple rules. We’re having to abide by Temple policy more and more.”
Ciocco said that residents have recently been asked to sign in guests and leave guests’ IDs at the front desk, a policy similar to that of Temple’s residence halls.
“There was not anything about signing in or limiting guests in the lease,” said Ciocco.
“Maybe it’s for safety, but the point is, we didn’t agree to it when we signed the lease.”
Temple has made it clear that they have no say in what residential life policy is implemented for students renting through Philadelphia Management.
“We did not impose those restrictions to Philadelphia Management,” said James Fitzsimmons, associate vice president of Student Affairs at Temple.
“We have been working with them, but if they choose to follow those guidelines [for private renters] it is their decision. We do not have jurisdiction over those students [renting privately] in housing matters.”
Zerbe said that although they had implemented a policy of signing in guests, she said that this was common at many similar buildings around the city.
“This isn’t a jail,” Zerbe said, “[we are] trying to make this a safe, happy, home away from home for everyone.”
Kristine Povilaitis can be reached at email@example.com