Action News Troubleshooters: Renters issue complaints against Home365

The 20-unit building has been cited for multiple violations by Licenses and Inspections.

ByNydia Han and Heather Grubola WPVI logo
Thursday, December 15, 2022
Action News Troubleshooters: Renters issue complaints against Home365
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The 20-unit building has been cited for multiple violations by Licenses and Inspections, including repairs that need to be made to Faith Smith's living room ceiling.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The Action News Troubleshooters investigated an off-campus apartment building, which is home to many Temple University students. Some families say the company that runs it, Home365, is failing to make timely repairs, even putting the safety of students at risk.

"I don't feel good when I drop her off," said Kelly Smith.

Smith's daughter, Faith Smith, is a Temple University student and rents a two-bedroom apartment on North Broad Street.

"You want to feel safe, but like no one feels safe here," said Faith.

Especially after the lock on her door broke such that she and her roommate couldn't unlock it from the outside.

"So we had to leave our door unlocked like every day," Faith said.

Smith says she put in a request with Home365 to fix it but it took 10 days to schedule a maintenance person. And before the lock was repaired, Smith says her unit was broken into and burglarized, shattering her sense of safety and her mother's.

"When something like this happens, you want them home," said Kelly. "It's not safe. You know, being a mom, you don't want your kid going through that."

The 20-unit building has been cited for multiple violations by Licenses and Inspections, including repairs that need to be made to Faith's living room ceiling.

Repairs are also needed for a fire alarm and extinguisher and an elevator.

"It hasn't been working for about three weeks. It's pushing four now," Faith said.

Smith has had to climb up and down four flights.

"It is kind of scary to go in the stairwell, especially when there's no security here or anything," she said.

When asked if she felt safe living there, Faith responded, "not really anymore, no."

Smith filed a police report and requested that Home365 reimburse her for the stolen items. Home365 has refused, saying it needs more proof.

"I just think that their customer service is really very poor," said Linda Smith of Allentown, Pennsylvania.

Linda, who has no relation to Faith and Kelly, says Home365 is unfairly keeping more than $500 of her daughter's security deposit. It's a claim Home365 denies.

"I really feel like they take advantage of the college students. I really do," Linda said.

Home365 manages multiple properties nationwide.

"We try to do our very best," said a Home365 representative. She wouldn't provide her name but claims the company has addressed many of the issues.

When asked if she has a statement on why it took so long to fix their lock, she said, "We don't have any on-site property maintenance so all of our maintenance is outsourced by vendors."

She continued to say, "We have somebody coming out to service the elevator."

But when asked when that would happen she said, "I can't answer that question. That's up to the vendor."

L&I says Home365 has not yet addressed several of the noncompliance issues and each unresolved violation can trigger a fine of $300 per day, and the case could be taken to court.

"They need to be held accountable," said Kelly. "These are young kids, this is their first experience having their own place. And it's not a good experience. They need to do better."

Home365 answers to Action News' questions

Question: Linda Smith tells us Home365 has failed to provide a refund owed for her daughter's unit. She says that instead, she continues to get payment reminders every day. Will Home365 provide Linda Smith the requested refund and stop sending the payment reminders? If not, why?

"Home365's stance is that these tenants are not owed a refund and the tenants should pay their rent. As long as their account is delinquent they will continue to get automated rent reminders."

Question: Faith and Kelly Smith tell us one of Home365 property managers promised she would be reimbursed for items that were stolen from her apartment in September, but Home365's CEO has denied that. Can you please explain why?

"The mothers told me that as well. I'm not sure if one of our employees "promised" a refund or not. I did ask her for an itemized list of what was stolen and told them that I would submit this request for approval. That request was denied. There are a few reasons it was denied:

1. There is no proof anything was actually stolen. We are not sure if this story was fabricated or not. We have yet to see even a police report.

2. Renter's insurance would cover this type of loss. Renter's Insurance is required in our leases.

3. If a loss did occur we do not believe Home365 is liable for a loss."

Question: Will the CEO reconsider?

"As new information becomes available we will continue to reevaluate the merit of a refund."

Question: Faith and Kelly Smith say it took about 10 days for Home365 to schedule someone to fix the lock and Faith's apartment was broken into on the day of the scheduled repair. Emails and screenshots of portal messages appear to support this.

"Yes, it took the vendor 10 days to finally finish the repair. The girls could lock the door while they were there but couldn't lock it when no one was in the apartment. Also worth noting, the main door to the front of the building was locked and required a code to gain entry."

Question: In addition, Faith and Kelly Smith also told us Home365 promised to hire a security guard to staff the building but there is no guard. Will Home365 be providing additional security?

"They mentioned this to me as well. I highly doubt this was ever promised to them. I told them we would look into it to see if it was a possibility. We do not believe that a security guard is necessary. There are only 20 units in this building. Having a dedicated security guard for a building of this size is highly unusual."

Question: Also, when we interviewed Faith and Kelly on October 13, they cited a number of other issues, including an elevator that had been broken for a few weeks, an ongoing leak in their ceiling, and more.

"Yes, there are regular maintenance issues at this building, which is pretty typical. The important part is remedying the issues when they arise. The elevator is only about two years old. There was a warranty process that needed to be followed."

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