Navy Yard ANC calls for license revocation for apartment management over poor conditions

Residents of 鈥渓uxury鈥 apartments complain about pests, maintenance failures, floods, and bad management.

The Navy Yard Advisory Neighborhood Commission is continuing its campaign to get the District government to crack down on the company that manages the apartment building, Onyx on First.

At its most recent meeting in October, ANC 8F urged the Office of the Attorney General to follow up on the ANC鈥檚 earlier resolution to revoke management operations at Onyx on First apartments.

Residents of the apartments came to ANC 8F Chairman Edward Daniels last year with complaints about the property, including resistance to maintenance issues, security concerns, and hostility and derision from property managers. At residents鈥 request, the ANC passed a resolution in July to 鈥渁lert, abate and revoke UIP Property Management at Onyx on First.鈥

Flooding in the Onyx had a lasting effect on residents.
Source: ANC resolution files & Onyx residents

The July resolution asked the Department of Licensing and Consumer Protection to suspend the business license of Onyx鈥檚 parent company, UIP Property Management. It also asked that the D.C. Zoning Commission Board stay any requests to build new UIP properties in the city, that the Department of Buildings follow up on Onyx residents鈥 abatement requests, and that the D.C. Office of the Attorney General investigate UIP and its residents鈥 complaints.

James Simmons, who lived at the Onyx on First in 2021, confirmed many of the complaints brought forward by residents.

鈥淚 can confirm things are pretty bad there. I used to live there with my roommate, and our unit was across from the one that caught fire,鈥 Simmons said. 鈥淭he flooding damaged the whole floor, and we were unable to stay there for a while, given the blowers working all day to dry the place out.鈥

Residents also complained about a lack of security. Cars were stolen out of the Onyx鈥檚 garage, which had been left open, and people were found sleeping in the hallways. Simmons said he had personal experience with Onyx鈥檚 security failures.

鈥淓arly last year, we had a break-in where a woman got into my room through our balcony during some sort of mental episode. She fell or jumped from my balcony when running from the police,鈥 Simmons said.

Another former resident, who wished to remain anonymous due to past incidents of hostility from UIP management, also spoke about the lack of communication between property management and residents.

鈥淚n January before I moved out, the sprinklers went off and the communication around that was terrible. They didn鈥檛 help people find hotel rooms or communicate when we could return,鈥 the resident said.

One current Onyx resident, who also wishes to remain anonymous due to past UIP management hostility, said that she and her husband had also noticed the management鈥檚 failure to communicate.

Source: ANC resolution files & Onyx residents

鈥淪o we moved in this early summer after taking over a lease from a friend of mine,鈥 the resident said. 鈥淭here has been an estimate of three property managers that have abruptly left or been fired. No emails at all about the change or staff or who the staff is in general.鈥

Simmons said he was glad to have moved out of the Onyx.

鈥淚 didn鈥檛 have anything close to that with my other two apartments I鈥檝e lived at here in D.C. It鈥檚 pretty shocking to think about in hindsight, but at the time, I think I was just telling myself that these are isolated incidents,鈥 Simmons said.

A long-running problem

Onyx鈥檚 problems are not isolated incidents. Residents claim the issue stems from a central source: UIP Property Management, Inc.

The company represents the property management arm of the Urban Investment Partners group and owns several properties all across D.C. It describes itself as 鈥減roviding exemplary, proactive, and responsive customer service.鈥

Its website offers various about the helpfulness of UIP property managers.

Justin Purvis, a resident of the Kiley apartment building, another UIP property on Fourth Street in the Navy Yard, said that while the management at his building had been very helpful, the management on the corporate level of UIP had not.

鈥淸Kiley management] has been great. They’ve been responsive to everything, doing everything they can do, escalating it to the corporate side of things. And then after that, there hasn’t been anything that they’ve been able to really do,鈥 Purvis said. 鈥淭he managers have been fine. But the corporation has been crazy.鈥

Purvis said that he had looked into the Onyx when he was searching for a place to live, but he chose the Kiley because it was a newer building. This proved to be a good choice, and the building saw very few maintenance issues overall. However, earlier this year, Purvis noticed something strange in his bank records.

最新蜜桃影像 six months ago, Purvis paid his rent in full through the UIP online rental portal, as he normally did, almost $4,000 total. Several days later, the system claimed that the payment did not go through and automatically pulled another $4,000 directly from Purvis鈥 bank account.

鈥淭hey had some kind of payment glitch or something. And then they said that my bank didn’t send them the funds,鈥 Purvis said. 鈥淭hey just did it automatically. They didn’t send me a notice. It was more like four grand because they took everything, they took the whole thing, the water that goes into it, and parking and everything.鈥

Purvis said he did not have automatic payments set up with the Onyx portal, so it was unusual for them to take the second payment again without notifying him directly.

Purvis said that other residents of the Kiley had also dealt with the rental portal issue.

鈥淚’m not the only one in the building that has had this problem. It鈥檚 six or seven people in the building that it鈥檚 an issue with,鈥 Purvis said.

Purvis said that the rent portal issue was where his troubles with the management at Kiley and UIP began.

鈥淚’ve sent emails to the manager here, she escalated. I sent it to the district person and never got a response,鈥 Purvis said. 鈥淚 actually caught the district person here one day and got her to talk to me for a few seconds, and I just got the same runaround answer of, 鈥楾here’s nothing we can do, I’m going to be on top of it, I’m new in this position.鈥欌

Purvis said he had found a way to deal with the problem, but he knew others may not be so fortunate.

Street view of Onyx on First apartments
Photo by Madeleine Sherer

鈥淔or me, it wasn’t the biggest deal in the whole world. I had extra money in there. It didn’t ruin my weekend,鈥 Purvis said. 鈥淏ut they took it out on a Thursday. If it had happened to somebody else, and they can’t live without that kind of money, or they have kids. That鈥檚 a whole weekend without that money. That鈥檚 a big deal.鈥

Purvis said the Kiley property manager eventually recognized their team鈥檚 mistake and apologized to him, which he appreciated. But he can no longer use the portal to pay his rent.

鈥淸Kiley management] has been keeping on point of things and making sure not to charge me a late fee, because I can’t use the portal to pay anymore,鈥 Purvis said.

What鈥檚 being done

ANC Chairman Daniels repeated his request that the D.C. attorney general investigate UIP at the most recent ANC meeting.

ANC members and the Office of the Attorney General have not responded to 最新蜜桃影像鈥檚 requests for comment.

Daniels said that when Onyx residents put up posters advertising a mental health support group, the property manager at the time tore them down, saying they, 鈥渄idn鈥檛 apply to everyone in the building.鈥

鈥淚deally this agenda item would not be at an ANC meeting, but because we don’t have any other recourse and since it鈥檚 been months since I was brought into the discussion and have gotten nowhere with the regional property management, I wanted to introduce this resolution,鈥 Daniels said.

One Onyx resident, who went by Brendon, said at the July ANC meeting that UIP had failed them on an 鈥渦nconscionable鈥 level.

鈥淎ny requests, questions, concerns or communication with the management about the ongoing issues in the building are met with either silence, hostility, closed office doors, physical and verbal assault, and threats of financial penalty against residents,鈥 the resident said. 鈥淯IPPM must be held responsible for the rapid deterioration and unsafe living environment that they have knowingly allowed to continue. That鈥檚 it. It鈥檚 as simple as that.鈥

Onyx and UIP did not return 最新蜜桃影像鈥檚 requests for comment.

Madeleine Sherer

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