posted by chicago pop
Don't take it personally.
I'm just sayin'. We asked you to give us something to chew on about MAC, and you gave us nothing.
Sure, we're all busy, and actually getting to the facts, instead of rants on Yelp!, is kind of a chore. It's even a pain to write this post, kind of. But if something is really wrong out there, there's usually a way to find out, and the labor usually pays off with some nice juicy information that you can bring into the light of day that will generally addle all sorts of complacent people. We've been doing it for a few years now.
But when it came to our contest to see who could demonstrate that MAC was really worthy of the world-class grad-student world-weariness endogenous to the neighborhood, well, we got the null set. Rents are high? Show us comparables for units in other buildings and other neighborhoods. MAC is a slumlord? Show us code violations from city inspectors and compare them to K&G's record. Horrible service from MAC leading to loss of market share? Show us percentages of lease renewals.
The truth, as they say, is out there. And we're happy to hear about it.
There are a few stories on Yelp! about cockroaches, mouse droppings, and stained carpet, but MAC owns a lot of buildings, which adds up to a lot of apartments, which means that if these complaints were doctoral theses and were making their cases on the basis of statistically negligible samplings, I'm afraid they'd all fail their defense. MAC has over 3,000 apartments in over 70 buildings. To make up for this statistical negligibility, our contest manager, Elizabeth Fama, went out of her way to find people who were really, really pissed off at MAC. She looked hard and found a "No, I don't want to be a fan of Mac Property Management," group on Facebook with 4 members.
That was in early November 2009. As of 5PM today, it has 15.
She also found a a "MAC Property Management is a Huge Disappointment" group. They currently have 17 members, and determined one month after MAC acquired its building portfolio from the notorious K&G that, well, MAC was a huge disappointment. The group seems to have lost steam sometime in the early fall of 2007.
Similar story with most of the complaints on Yelp!
What we see there, though it's only 9 or 1o reviews, does suggest a pattern. MAC had a rough time getting started. If you read the Yelp! comments, a good number of them are concerned with renters who received erroneous eviction notices and had to deal with poor communications. MAC was, at this early stage, a little trigger happy with the payment non-compliance thing, so much so that they mistakenly sent eviction notices to paying tenants with good payment records. This is certainly enough to anger anyone, and seems to have been a real problem. But again, the complaints cluster in the early months of MAC's transition. You can read about a few of the various botch-ups yourself here, together with more recent cockroach-type horror stories.
But does it add up to anything we can make a case on?
I'll admit that I've seen a number of freshly rehabbed MAC apartments -- generally those targeting young working professionals, not students -- and they were nice. But no one had been living in them for 3 years. So we'll see going forward how the upkeep goes. And there's a possibility that the student rental market is not MAC's primary concern, which may make it a second priority to leasing out the higher-revenue properties. But MAC's business model differs from that of K&G: it's not in their interest to extract rent from buildings that they are happy to let decay.
So we'll see. As of now, with the info we've got, HPP stands by the conclusion it has reached in reviewing MAC (and Antheus') investment activities: MAC Property Management is good for Hyde Park.