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Ball State University cuts ties with MiddleTown Property Management Group

Posted at 7:20 PM, Sep 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-21 19:20:07-04

MUNCIE — Ball State University is demanding BSURentals, an off-campus property group, to stop using its trademark BSU.

This comes after seemingly complaints from residents about living conditions.

"It's kind of a statement from the university that they care about the students and they know a lot of students that are in the community are in," Seth Rawlings said.

Rawlings is a former tenant of BSURentals and MiddleTown property group.

The property group serves thousands in the area including Ball State university students.

The university says BSURentals is a non-licensed business name also being used by the management group.

"There is black mold. There is people walking in on you," Rawlings said. "I experienced people walking in on me as I was sleeping in my room."

For more than a month, WRTV has voiced resident concerns.

"It's embarrassing honestly," Cheyenne Brooks said.

The city and attorney general's office are investigating dozens of complaints.

WRTV has obtained a copy of those complaints from the AG's office.

The city tells us it's found mice droppings, faulty furnaces and more in six out of its around 30 complaints.

Now, Ball State University is cracking down.

It cut ties with the property group which was overseeing off-campus university-owned properties.

"They started out as a company that was actually pretty good. What probably happened I think is they just got too large. They just don't have the staff they don't have the maintenance to take care of it. I don't think its' out of malice, but when you have this many properties you have to be able to take care of them," said Hawkins.

MiddleTown Property Group tells WRTV Ball State is less than 1% of its business.

In a statement, MiddleTown Property Group says Ball State renewed its longstanding management agreement in June, but terminated after recent media activity. It says it did not receive any reason for the action and is working with new vendors to ensure a smooth transition for residents.

Full statement:

As a family-owned and operated business, we take pride in addressing issues professionally and thoroughly when they arise. We live, work and invest in Muncie and are trying to establish a business that is responsive to tenants, property owners and the community. We are committed to improving in all aspects of our business to protect the livelihoods of the more than 100 people we employ in Delaware County and ensure students have the ability to find rental housing in Muncie. Ball State renewed our longstanding management agreement in June but terminated after recent media activity. We did not receive any reason for the action. We are working with the new vendor to ensure a smooth transition. MiddleTown Property Group’s legal counsel is reviewing the cease-and-desist order from Ball State University.

Full Ball State University statement:

BSURentals is a non-registered business name being used by MiddleTown Property Group, a company that is not affiliated with or endorsed by Ball State University. Ball State recently sent a cease and desist letter to MiddleTown demanding that the company cease using the “BSU” trademark and any other Ball State University trademarks in any manner whatsoever. 

On August 30, Ball State University terminated a separate contractual relationship with MiddleTown, which had been providing property management services for other off-campus University-owned properties that were not associated with any complaints. 

Ball State provides assistance for any student who has concerns with an off-campus rental property, including the free resources of our Office of Student Legal Services. Student Legal Services can provide a consultation before a student signs a lease. During the term of any lease, the office helps students understand their rights, and may advocate on a student’s behalf, when appropriate, to resolve the issue and makes referrals to other resources including local agencies.  

Additionally, in the case of emergencies, such as no heat or no hot water, Ball State can provide students with financial support or temporary emergency housing when available while the problem is being corrected.