Cardinal Pointe complaints continue; resident to meet with regional manager

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By Staff Brunswick Beacon

SHALLOTTE—Cardinal Pointe resident Amy Bass is continuing her fight against the managers of the apartment complex, next to the Highlands off Frontage Road, claiming they are overcharging and harassing renters.

This week, a manager at NRP Management LLC, Cardinal Pointe’s property management firm, said she wants to meet with Bass next week to discuss the problems and find a resolution.

She says she’s confused because Bass recertified her lease for another year but continues to complain to authorities.

Last fall, Bass filed complaints with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the N.C. Human Relations Commission and the N.C. Attorney General’s office.

Bass said recently she will continue to file complaints about Cardinal Pointe, mostly because she and her neighbors feel they are being treated unfairly.

Two other Cardinal Pointe residents, who wished to remain anonymous, say they have a list of complaints about their treatment by management, including maintenance personnel being able to come into their homes when they are not there or without proper notice, incorrectly installed appliances, threats of eviction and unfair fees.

Bass also claims Cardinal Pointe is charging too much rent for her income.

“My new rental rate is at $640,” her letter states. “My disability income is approximately $19,000 per year, and all government agencies advise not to have house payments or rent over one-third of year income. My new rate constitutes 42.3 percent of my gross—and this is a low-income housing development?”

NRP regional property manager Lori Sharp said this week that, under the IRS Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program (LIHTC) laws, NRP Management must abide by the Department of Housing and Urban Development income limits.

“Basically, when Ms. Bass was recertified for her Jan. 1, 2008, annual recertification, we verified her income and assets, and we determined she had exceeded the HUD income limits for a 1-person household,” Sharp explained.

Because many of Bass’ complaints are about the managers on site at Cardinal Pointe, Sharp says she wants to meet with her and any others who have issues.

“I was aware she was unhappy,” Sharp said. “She just renewed her lease with us, but at the same time, it sends mixed signals if she’s going to the paper, the attorney general’s office and from what I understand, talking to a number of neighbors. We’re confused.”

In her complaint to the attorney general, Bass, who receives Social Security benefits because of a spinal disability, claims she was denied the first-floor apartment she was originally promised and charged additional rent.

“One week before moving, I was called by Pat in the Cardinal Pointe rental office and was told that if I was moving there, I had to take an upstairs unit,” Bass wrote in one of her complaints.

“I reminded them of my back problems, but they said there was nothing they could do about it. I had to take the upstairs unit.”

According to the N.C. Fair Housing Act, it is against the law to “refuse to permit, at the expense of a handicapped person, reasonable modifications of existing premises occupied or to be occupied by the person if the modifications are necessary to the handicapped person’s full enjoyment of the premises.”

During her time in the second-floor apartment, Bass says she developed bone spurs and had to undergo more treatment. She soon learned downstairs units were available, but to have access to one, she had to have a doctor’s note, the manager told her.

Once she provided the note, a manager called her and said she could have the unit right below where she was living, but she had to put up a $530 deposit on a new unit, “and if I did not do it that day, they would not guarantee that I would have an apartment.” Bass borrowed the money from a credit card, she said.

When she renewed her lease, the manager told her they were going to increase her rent $45 per month. She complained $45 was the entire Social Security increase she was receiving.

She also complained about being charged fees for damages to her unit.

The attorney general’s office is investigating her complaints and recently sent her a letter of response from NRP Management.

The letter from Sharp states neither she nor the current community manager were employed by NRP when Bass moved into her first apartment in January 2005.

“But I have enclosed for your reference a copy of a letter from her file [that] indicates that she agreed to accept the second-floor apartment,” Sharp states.

“Effective 1/1/2006, Ms. Bass renewed her lease at a rental rate of $535. I found no indication in her file of any request to transfer to a ground floor apartment.

On 10/26/2006, Ms. Bass requested that she be relocated to a first-floor unit. The landlord accommodated her request, and she was transferred to apartment #101 on 1/1/2007, at which point she signed another one-year lease.”

In her response to the attorney general’s office, Bass states that Sharp “has no idea of the hardship Cardinal Pointe put on me to climb stairs for two years, and the hardship of having to move again and be charged more deposits when I should have been in a ground-floor unit to begin with, given my disability.

“I was given an upstairs apartment after I was told I could rent a ground-floor apartment and after I had already made final arrangements for the move.”