Landlord ownership impacts student satisfaction

The majority of students at Geneseo opt to live off campus for their junior and senior years. Landlords, the village, and the students interact to create the off campus housing system. Students who live off campus participate in life as part of the college and citizens of the village. A survey of students who live off campus provides insight into the distribution of property management among landlords, and the satisfaction of their respective student tenants.

The Lamron editorial board distributed the survey via social media on Nov. 15, 2013. The survey addressed a range of questions concerning off campus housing. 214 people responded to the survey.

Students rent from various landlords in Geneseo. Some property owners manage only one residence, while others own many housing units.

rocco CMYK
rocco CMYK

Zoe Finn/Photo Editor

Rocco Dragani houses about 230 students, many of whom approve of his level of service.

Of the individuals who responded to the survey, the most frequently cited sources of housing were the complexes Ambassador Apartments and The Meadows. There were also a handful of individuals who were the landlords for a significant number of the respondents. About half of those who responded to the survey live on a property owned by an individual who also owns the residence of four or more other respondents.

The majority of respondents whose landlords own other properties do not feel that their service is affected by their landlord’s other responsibilities.

Rocco Dragani manages High Street Property Management, LLC, a company that rents to about 230 students. HSPM accounted for eight percent of responses to the survey; a sizable amount by comparison to other landlords.

He believes that the size of his business is beneficial to his tenants. “I think you have to have enough [properties] for it to be your fulltime job and to have staff to help you,” he said. “I think that that helps the tenant because you’re able to provide a lot more services.”

59 percent of respondents listing HSPM as their rental service said their maintenance was “standard,” with 80 percent of standard maintenance happening “quickly,” and the remaining 20 percent saying “somewhat quickly.” The the remaining seven percent of HSPM respondents said they received “above standard” maintenance, all of which said they were responded to “quickly.”

However, 35 percent of the survey respondents who listed HSPM as their rental service said that they received “below standard” maintenance. Of that 35 percent, the response time for requested maintenance varied greatly from within one day to a week or more.

Dominic Fricia is another major landlord, who made up for eight percent of responses. 86 percent of respondents who listed him as their landlord said they received “standard” maintenance, with seven percent saying below standard and seven percent saying “above standard.” 79 percent of the Fricia respondents said their response time for maintenance came “quickly.”

This data suggests that, when a landlord manages a great deal of property, it can have a negative effect on some tenants; in some cases nearly one-third, and others as low as 14 percent.

Margaret E. Duff, a trustee on the Geneseo Village Board pointed out that rental properties are often visibly less well kept than houses that are owned by their residents.

Geneseo does have a rental code, but it does not address aesthetic upkeep of rental properties.  The code was implemented in 2005 and gives general guidelines for rental properties. Most of the code focuses on safety regulations. The rental code also requires that rental properties be registered with the village. Dean O’Keefe, the Geneseo village code officer, said, “I think that the overall quality of rental units has gone up since we’ve had the law in place.”

Duff also said that landlords are responsible for enforcing rules that regulate activity in the houses that they rent to students. Landlords are fined if regulations such as nuisance laws are broken repeatedly.

The Village Board of Geneseo stressed that the presence of students living in the village brings activity that is predominantly positive for the community. Bob Wilcox, a village board trustee, said, “Being a college town with students keeps a small town from being stagnant.”

Deputy Mayor of the Village of Geneseo Sandra F. Brennan, said, “I think we’ve done our best, and this is a place where we can live and students can be welcome.”