Delayed construction and reimbursements have left several Virginia Tech students frustrated with the Cascades Pointe Condominums housing complex.
Sumit Mittal, first year student at the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine, signed his lease with Cascades Pointe Condominiums in March 2010 for an Aug. 1 move in. At the time Mittal signed his lease, Cascades Pointe was undergoing construction on its second phase.
Two days before his scheduled move-in, Mittal said he and his roommate were contacted by Cascades Pointe, informing them their apartment would not be completed because of issues with occupancy permits. However, Mittal was assured the apartments would be ready for occupancy by Aug. 14.
“We were new to the area,” Mittal said. “We didn’t know what was going on.”
The website for VIP Development, the Henrico, Va.-based parent company that operates Cascades Pointe, currently projects work on phase two to be completed in Spring 2011, with marketing and leasing done by September 2011.
Frustrated with Cascades Pointe, Mittal and his roommate found another apartment complex and moved in immediately. Cascades Pointe guaranteed to pay for a hotel room for residents for a specified period of time, but Mittal refused the offer, saying he did not believe or trust the company.
Reginald Viray and his fiance Charlene Echague, both students at VCOM, faced a similar problem. Looking to move closer to the VCOM campus, they signed their lease at the complex in March for the beginning of July.
Viray called between March and July to make sure the apartment complex was developing as scheduled. Each time a Cascades Pointe representative assured him that the apartment would be completed on time.
However, a week before Viray’s move in date, Cascades Pointe contacted him and told him the apartment would be not be ready for at least another month, again because of permit issues. After a month, the couple booked a hotel and rented a moving truck, but were called the day before their move-in to say Cascades Pointe still did not pass inspection. They quickly searched for and found another apartment complex.
Mittal said his lease stated if Cascades Pointe did not deliver the property to residents within seven days of the assigned move-in date, the security deposit would be returned to the tenant and the contract would be voided.
In early September, Mittal visited the Cascades Pointe office in Blacksburg to retrieve his money. The manager at the time, Jackie Lowery, requested Mittal fill out paperwork that would be sent to the parent company’s headquarters near Richmond.
After two weeks, Mittal did not receive any reimbursement. He continued to call throughout the fall until mid-October, when he could no longer get in contact with a representative from Cascades Pointe. Mittal still has not received the $150 security deposit.
“Every time I called her, she said two more weeks,” Mittal said.
Viray also asked for a refund on his lease, but the money has not been returned.
Chris Phelps and his wife, two more students at VCOM, received a check in the mail in mid-December refunding their security deposit.
“I don’t know why I was the only one that got my money back,” Phelps said.
Phelps faced similar problems with Cascades Pointe.
When Phelps asked for alternative lodging while they were waiting for their apartment to be finished, Cascades Pointe declined any reimbursement.
“I scrambled to get a place to live,” Phelps said.
Although Phelps received his refund, he is still fighting for the other tenants of Cascades Pointe.
Phelps said he and others displaced by the incident have joined together to spread the word about Cascades Pointe to make sure that no other individuals encounter the same problems.
Calls seeking comment with Cascades Pointe Condominium and VIP Development were not returned.
Viray said that he doesn’t plan to take the issue to court.