If you’ve considered looking at Aimco’s Nashville Hillmeade Apartments…DON’T! Let me just save you the heartache right off the bat. Our family lived there for two and a half years and I can tell you one thing: it is not so “Home Sweet Home”.
Just to be clear, I’m talking about Hillmeade Apartments in Bellevue, TN in this not-so glowing review.
It all started out well enough; though the apartments are old, they offered a great value for the amount of space. In fact, they offered a multi-level, townhouse style apartment that seemed perfect for our family. Yet after moving 3 times in 9 months, we only cared about two things: SAFETY & CLEANLINESS (which, by the way, I was VERY clear to share with them from the beginning).
The most appalling of the community’s faults came after the Nashville Flood of 2010, just a few months after we moved in. While our apartment itself didn’t sustain any major damage, one of the handrails on the outside stairs leading down to our apartment disappeared shortly after. It may not seem like such a big deal, and it wouldn’t have been…had it been replaced promptly.
I wish I could list every call, email and inquiry I made about getting the handrail replaced.
I wish I could tell you that they responded promptly…but they didn’t.
I wish I could tell you my then 5 year old son didn’t slip and fall on the ice 7 months after the handrail went missing….but I can’t.
I wish I could tell you that after the fall & injury, the Hillmeade community apologized and immediately rectified the situation.
It was a YEAR LATER when I finally contacted someone on the regional level that things started moving. Even then, I was still told blatant lies, ranging in everything from “We need to get approval from someone in an office higher than us” to “it’s been back-ordered”. When it was eventually replaced, it was with a shoddy, rusty handrail that was obviously not new – not that I wanted a new hand rail – but I was told the delay was because we were waiting on a new handrail.
Oh, and did I mention I didn’t feel comfortable even stepping foot in the Hillmeade apartment office for the last year I lived there?
This was partly due to the community manager entering the apartment un-announced one day with the regional director and never saying a word to me. This was particularly offensive because at that point we had lived there a year and I had never once seen or met the woman. To be honest, I thought she was a ‘ghost manager’ and they just signed her name to the emails to give an air of authority. Not even a “Hi, sorry you’ve been having so much trouble. My name is Lynn and I hate that we have to meet under such circumstances.”
I guess that was too much to ask.
After that episode (did I mention I was still in my pajamas when the Aimco entourage showed up without notice?), I felt violated and belittled. The district manager at the time (who was actually the 2nd I had dealt with and has now moved on as well) pretty much told me he had a hard time believing how I was being treated because his staff was ‘award-winning’.
I realize this is turning into quite the venting session, but let me just mention one more reason I didn’t feel comfortable stepping inside the apartment office: the ‘award-winning’ staff (in particular, the gentleman who leased us our apartment and continues to work there today, despite what I’m about to tell you):
*He told me I was a fool for buying vitamins from a “multi-level pyramid scheme” when I went to pick up a box at the office.
*When I asked about the type of air filters used in the apartments (we were trying to rule out some allergy issues), he said not to worry about is because “they’re the cheapest crap you can get”.
*When friends of ours went to tour the apartments and my girlfriend got there first, he refused to give her information about all the apartment layouts until she picked just one. Once her husband arrived, he said, “I’m glad you’re finally here because I wasn’t getting anywhere with your wife!”. (They didn’t end up living there…surprise, surprise).
*Another friend of ours we met while living there also happened to be an apartment manager. He cornered her when she was in the office and questioned her about her community, asking what kind of money was in it and freely offering that “this was just a temporary job until he could find something better”.
I decided not to subject myself to that kind of treatment anymore after that.
The final straw was when we found a hole in our sub-floor (yes, literally a hole in the concrete under the carpet) and we didn’t receive so much as an apology. When I once again confronted the district manager (the 3rd since we’d lived there), her explanation was, “How could we possibly know there was a hole in the floor when you moved in?”
I documented every grievance we had, tried contacting a variety of employees at a number of levels and every interaction basically went the same way: I’d have a nice conversation, get cautiously optimistic that our issues were being heard, then get pushed on to someone else or simply never get contacted back from that point on.
My only concern in writing this is to make sure another family doesn’t suffer the same fate we did. I even went so far as to warn their national media representative about my concerns and the fact that I was going to write a blog post on our abysmal experience with Hillmeade (since I thought it would be unfair for her to have to deal with the backlash when she wasn’t the one who caused it).
Once again, we had a very nice conversation and she even followed up with me when I didn’t expect it. Yet when I tried to contact her by phone AND email after that to confirm the conditions of our move out, I once again got ignored.
I can’t tell you how worthless it made me feel as a human being.
What’s interesting was that in our folder was a multi-page train of emails (that a Hillmeade employee gave me at move out with our move-out papers) that included phrases like, “…right now it is just more important that we get her moved out without incident.” and “we don’t need any bad press”. I wish they had chosen to have more direct communication with me than each other…
I didn’t enjoy spending countless hours on the phone telling my tale or on the computer documenting their errors and oversights.
I didn’t particularly appreciate the fact that I didn’t feel comfortable in my own home.
And I certainly didn’t enjoy that my family’s safety was put at risk repeatedly, yet when I tried to bring it to someone’s attention, I was made to feel utterly insignificant.
What’s even more interesting was that they obviously liked us and our apartment enough to feature us in their Hillmeade website; when they informally surveyed the maintenance men about which home was always the nicest when they entered, the consensus was ours. We took pride in our home and wished the property managers would have shared just an ounce of that care and concern.
So if you are looking for apartments in Nashville, TN or are considering moving here, please stay far away from Hillmeade apartments. I don’t think I’ve ever used this blog as a place to rant, but I simply couldn’t let anyone else live through the torment that we experienced in our years there.