MUNCIE — Tenants protested a large property management company in Muncie on Saturday afternoon. For weeks, tenants have been sharing their stories of renting with BSURentals.
They say the company's homes are full of mold, mildew and mess when they move in, and maintenance requests go unanswered for weeks. There are many other complaints, as well.
"Maintenance would come at all hours with no warning at all. And we're both single women living alone, it's dangerous to have grown men walking into our apartment," Zeenat Tabaku, a two-year tenant, said.
"Yeah, just unlocks the door and walks in," Audrey Prater, Tabaku's roommate and also a two-year tenant, said.
Saturday afternoon, tenants took to the street to protest in front of BSURentals' office. Muncie City Council President Jeff Robinson was there to show support.
"Really as a local government, our hands are tied on what we can do. We don't really have a lot of authority to regulate those rentals in our communities," he said.
Robinson said that he doesn't think the company is doing anything illegal, but he sponsored a council resolution that would call on the Indiana General Assembly to strengthen tenants' rights. The vote is expected Monday night.
"Indiana is one of only five states that does not have protections for tenants that would allow tenants to withhold rent until repairs are made, or make the repairs themselves and then seek reimbursement," Robinson said.
"We're just college students trying to make it. And we don't need a property group treating us with this disrespect," Tabaku said.
Middletown Property Management, who owns BSURentals, provided WRTV a statement.
"BSURentals is sorry to hear about this protest. 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 hope to collaborate with city leaders to address issues related to tenant housing such that general protests are not a threat to our livelihoods and the ability for students to find rental housing in Muncie."
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