One Pearl Place Is A Shithole

Doug has set up a fun website to put his former apartment complex, One Pearl Place, in the stockades. Hot dogs in the hot tub, thin walls, windows that won’t open, broken glass left on stairways, and a little thing about them trying to get him to pay $400 extra dollars.

After his dad had a stroke, Doug left his San Jose apartment to take care of his father in Louisiana.

He figured his deposit would cover the 13 days outside of his required 30-day notice. One Pearl Place assured him the unit would rent within a week.

Now One Pearl Place wants to charge Doug $400 over and above his deposit to cover not having a renter. This might have something to do with them not listing it for over a month.

They’re offering to “meet him halfway” and only take $200. Doug is balking.

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Previously, Doug delighted us with his baiting and pranking of online pharmacy telemarketers.— BEN POPKEN

Come Home to One Pearl Place [Doug’s Site]


Edit Your Comment

  1. bambino says:

    Since I could barely cut through the sarcasm on his site, let me get this straight. He wasn’t able to give the month’s notice of vacancy, and expected his security deposit to cover the rent? How many times do we have to go over this? SECURITY does not equal RENT. If he had trashed the place and moved out early, then what is the complex supposed to do? Settle up your obligations and stop whining.

  2. Sam Glover says:

    There are two things here. First, Doug’s notice was probably ineffective until the end of the following month, if he gave it late. I nail landlords on this all the time, but it goes both ways.

    On the other hand, OPP (love that acronym) has a responsibility to “cover” its loss by making all efforts to re-rent. If they really did not advertise the apartment, Doug might be able to convince a court to let him slide.

    If he waits to get sued, that is. I’d probably just pay up. It’s the path of least resistance in this case, but also–and I hate to say this–Doug kinda screwed the landlord by leaving without proper notice.

    I have to say, though, Doug’s website lists a ton of other problems with the place. Looks like a pretty icky place to live. Maybe he would have other legal claims that aren’t obvious from this post.

  3. bambino says:

    I agree the place looks like a hellhole to live in, but if that’s where you sign a contract, then you’ve agreed to live in such conditions. You rent covers your living time/space, your security deposit covers broken stuff. Two different things, non-transferrable. Maybe if the story was approached from a different angle, i.e. fecal matter in the hottub, I could see this as being relevant to Consumerist. But as it is, I’m tired of seeing all these ‘victims’ crying because they can’t decide where owed money gets allocated.

  4. Actually, I did give 30 days’ notice. The mandatory re-paint, carpet cleaning, “janitorial” services (why did we bother cleaning the place for two days, then?) and miscellaneous other charges ate into our very sizeable deposit – which if you’ll read carefully, was gladly accepted by the landlord in lieu of the 8 days rent balance because she was sure she’d rent it out quickly. Once again, eager to please, they overpromised and underdelivered.

    Otherwise, we’d gladly have left a check. The property manager neglected to prepare a move-out statement, so we left a forwarding address in case correspondence was necessary. Instead, they used the “personal reference” from my move-in application (a close friend of over ten years) and their collection agency called him, asking “do you know the whereabouts of Doug…he owes us a sizeable amount”.

    The tactics of a company interested in being fair? Not quite.

  5. sam says:

    On the other hand, OPP (love that acronym) has a responsibility to “cover” its loss by making all efforts to re-rent. If they really did not advertise the apartment, Doug might be able to convince a court to let him slide.”

    This depends on the state. Some states require landlords to attempt to mitigate their losses and some don’t. New York doesn’t. In other words, in a non-mitigation state like NY, landlords can sit on their asses for the entire balance of your lease and force you to pay.

    Thus ends this week’s lesson in “random facts sdow1 remembers from the bar exam.”

  6. Did anyone get a chance to record the harrassing phone calls?

  7. bambino says:

    Cajun – After reading carefully (thrice times), I can’t find the mention on your page that they accepted the deposit as rent. Also, if you did give the proper 30 days notice of vacancy, then what’s the problem?

  8. miss_smartypants says:

    Sdow1 should have studied harder! At least in residential leases in NY, the landlord IS in fact under a duty to mitigate (which is the majority view – i.e. the law in most states). 2004 NYSlipOp 24103.

    This is important, because for those of us tenants in NY and in majority states it can save thousands of dollars but you need to know the law to put your landlord in the tough position – they’re not going to volunteer it. For any month that the landlord could have had a tenant if they’d used “reasonable” efforts, the abandoning tenant won’t necessarily be obligated to pay the rent (and since security is not rent, it can’t be taken out of security either). The kicker is that as I remember, if the landlord does nothing or essentially nothing then the tenant can pretty easily get off the hook for the rent.

    /just worked for me in October, loving the new apartment

    /on the edge of my seat waiting for those NY bar results.

  9. Sorry if it wasn’t clear – but in my discussion with the property manager, she indicated that any rent due should be covered by my deposit – but didn’t do the math before telling me that. Because of mandatory repaint, cleaning, and miscellaneous “rehab” charges, there was a $400.00 difference over and above the deposit.

    One Pearl Place requires tenants resident for less than 24 months to pay these mandatory cleanup fees. We didn’t abuse the place or force a cleanup – to the contrary, we spent extra time cleaning – but this requirement is in the lease/rental agreement. (we were month-to-month at the time we moved out.)

    We gave 30 days notice, but were forced to move sooner than expected and not required to pay for those 30 days in advance, ecause we were assured that our deposit would cover the due amount.

    This rent due amount is what I was told would be covered by our deposit by the property manager when we gave 30 days notice – but either because she doesn’t own a calculator or was too busy to tell us the truth, we’ve ended up owing money and being embarassed by bill collectors calling our “personal references”, provided at the time of move-in for character reference.

    That’s nasty practice – and that, along with all the other stuff we put up with while living there is why I’m asking them to eat the $400.00 they insist I owe them – as a customer satisfaction gesture. It’s their choice – admit that they messed up by assuring the apartment would be rented/that our deposit would cover rent due – or I leave the page up for anyone smart enough to use Google before signing a lease.

  10. Ben Popken says:

    Brian writes:

    “I say all of the following as a resident of One Pearl Place since July of this year (even in the same building as him if I understand his photos correctly) All quotes are from Doug’s webpage

    “Robust construction!”
    While the windows aren’t stellar, they certainly aren’t the worst I have encountered and they function acceptably. As to the window blinds, they are higher quality than I have seen in many apartments. The ones that were broken were all replaced by maintenance and now they all work fine.

    “One entertainment and connectivity choice. Slow Internet. No HDTV. No options. Live with it.”
    This sucks if you don’t know to ask the correct questions before signing the lease. That said, I have no clue where his numbers came from. I pay just under $100 a month for local phone, 10 cent a minute long distance, 3mb/512 DSL, and DirectTV’s Total Choice Plus package. The directTV is hooked up happily to my tivo, although a dvr from DirectTV is an option. Don’t know about HDTV, as it doesn’t interest me.

    “Easy access to transportation!”
    I don’t hear the planes, the helicopter, or the highways. Now if he foolishly rented an apartment that overlooked the highway, than he should have known what he was getting himself into. But I keep the windows open most of the time and don’t have problems with noise other than the trash trucks.

    As to spending 20 minutes to get to the highway… Welcome to a big city during rush hour. I can take the highways to work, it will indeed take me 20 minutes to even get onto the highway. Or, I can take an expressway and surface streets and get to work in half the time during the peak of rush hour.

    “Enjoy the street performers!”
    My porch overlooks the “odd side” of “Terner Way” and I have never witnessed nor heard anything more than a seemingly healthy neighborhood being mildly rambunctious at times. As to the police… yes the surrounding apartment communities have some issues (so say the police reports for the area anyway), but nearly all of the complexes I looked at
    had nearby neighborhoods that fit this description. It’s part of life in a big city.

    “No Parking…Anywhere!”
    I don’t believe the situation is as dire as he makes it out to be. I have only on very rare occasions not found parking around the building after 6pm. There are no extra dings or dents on my cars after a few months of living there. As to the cost of the extra parking underground and the small size of the garages, it’s quite typical of apartments in the San Jose area. Nothing new here.

    “Beautiful Grounds?”
    I can not speak for the pool area (having only ever walked through it a couple of times), but the paths I take into and out of the complex have always been clean and maintained as far as I have seen. Sure the trash can by the mailboxes overflows a little on days when the weekly ads come in, but that’s to be expected when everyone dumps the junk mail straight to the trash can.

    “Have a problem? Need to get in touch? Good luck!”
    I am always able to speak with someone pretty promptly. On the matter of over-committing themselves, totally a real issue.

    “Make sure to read your lease carefully if you decide One Pearl Place is for you – if you move out within two years, you’ll be dinged for carpet cleaning, repainting, and repairs that may not be needed – check your lease – it’s in there!”

    Yes, everyone should read their leases carefully. This is an unfortunate fact of life in modern America, particularly in big cities and even more particularly in California.

    “When you move out, ATT might be good enough to refund your deposit – or they might not, depending on whether One Pearl Place decided to send your equipment back. (It’s their responsibility to provide return mailers for the ATT DirecTV equipment, but had none the first time I checked.)”
    So let me get this straight, he trusted leaving a fairly expensive box with a company (OPP) he questioned the integrity of. Not exactly a wise move on his part. I’m not excusing OPP here, just pointing out that OPP gave him no reason to trust that they would do the return properly and thus he shouldn’t have trusted them to it.

    “One Pearl Place is conveniently located near a light-rail station, which means you’ll have to deal with lots of riff-raff and traffic when entering and leaving the area.”
    Can’t say I have ever encountered an issue with this. Sure there are people walking on the sidewalks outside to or fro someplace that might be defined as “riff-raff” but they have the right to be there on public space.

    The matters with collections and the promises about the apartment being able to be rented out promptly are totally unacceptable.

    This story, like many shared on The Consumerist, are about people that like to nitpick and complain about every teeny tiny issue (as if anything in life is perfect) in some hope for sympathy on a bigger matter that they themselves are partially to blame for (or at least should have been leery of when they went into it).

    There are ONLY two real complaints in the entire page; 1) he believes he was promised something by the management (seemingly knowing that they frequently over commit themselves and make promises they can’t keep) and that promise was not upheld. 2) they involved collections even though they had contact information.

    We live in a crappy world where one must assume the worst, plan for the worst, read the fine print, and get everything in writing. It sucks. I would certainly like to live in a world where I could give everyone and every company I deal with the benefit of the doubt and assume that no one will try to screw me over. That is not the case unfortunately. Hopefully Doug learned a lesson from this shitty experience and won’t make the same mistake in the future. If he didn’t here are the lesson that I think should be highlighted…

    * If it’s not in writing it wasn’t promised
    * Always read the fine print, and while reading it think about through the eyes of an evil-hearted corporation that seeks
    * Always plan for the worst and be happy when it’s not that bad in the end.”

  11. Ass_Cobra says:

    sdow1; New York makes a distinction between residential and commercial leases. Commercial requires no effort to mitigate losses under New York Law. This is not the case for residential leases, while it was murky initially, 29 Holding Corp. v. Diaz outlines that a landlord must offer evidence that a residential unit was actively marketed in order to collect damages from a terminated lease.

    As you said, it varies from state to state, but as of 2004 there is a clear distinction between commercial and residential leases and the landlord’s duty to mitigate in each circumstance.

  12. bambino says:

    Cajun & Brian,
    Thank you for the clarification. I get the full picture now.

  13. Law-Vol says:


    They’re required to treat the apartment as any other part of their “inventory.”

    If they failed to advertise for a month and, in the interim, rented other units, Doug owes them nothing.

  14. If they failed to advertise for a month and, in the interim, rented other units, Doug owes them nothing.

    Given that there are ads on Craigslist for apartments on this property – but not ours – I think asking for a retroactive rent adjustment is what I’m really after.

  15. Kornkob says:

    Is craigslist the only ad medium that that company uses? Better verify that your apartment wasn’t advertised elsewhere during that month. I know around here places will often start with one ad venue and then, if there are not any takers, start hitting some of the other ways of advertising.

    Did you have a friend call and ask about your specific unit? That’s the best way to find out of the landlord is actively trying to mitigate your lease losses. “I looked here and didn’t see the ad” doesn’t present as strongly as “I have here someone who called and asked about that specific unit and was told it was not available”