LYNN — Jarid Clapp couldn’t believe his luck when he and his wife landed an apartment at The Vault, the downtown’s newest luxury building.
“It was like a gift from God,” he said. “The price was right and the location, near mass transit, was perfect.”
But four months into their tenancy, the 37-year-old auto mechanic who moved to Lynn from the west coast, is having second thoughts.
Tenants say problems with the heat, hot water, drafty windows, mice, security, and trash removal have plagued the building since it opened over Labor Day weekend. The management company and the developer said they are taking the complaints seriously and working to solve them.
Clapp leased a two-bedroom penthouse unit with ocean views, stainless steel kitchen, in-unit washer dryer, and an “energy efficient” individual heating and air conditioning system for $2,200 per month.
But amid a host of problems, the couple discovered their first electric bill topped more than $140 and given the frigid temperatures they expect their December bill to triple. The reason: the apartment is heated with inefficient electric heat the tenants pay for, Clapp said.
“If it’s $140 for mild fall weather, what will it be when the December bill comes,” he said. “Management offered to seal the windows, but we can’t see how that would do much.”
The couple is not alone, others in the 47-unit property have similar complaints.
Chad Santorilla, 37, moved from New York to take a job at a digital media company in Lynn. He leased a one-bedroom, 600-square-foot unit on the fourth floor for $1,700 sight unseen.
“The first thing I noticed when I moved in was the management office is in Boston and there’s no one on-site,” he said. “Strangers hang around the building trying to get in, security cameras are not in place, tenants had to fight to get the elevators to work and trash picked up.”
Like Clapp, he is worried about the cost to heat and cool the apartment. In September, his electric bill was $75, in October it rose to $106, his November bill soared to $323 as the cold New England weather set in.
“Given the frigid temperatures this month, my December bill will top $400,” he said. “When you add in the outrageous cost of the utilities, it’s costing me closer to $2,300 to live here and I am not satisfied. I will not pay my January rent unless I see repairs.”
The MG2 Group, a Boston developer, bought the 103-year-old property at Central Avenue and Willow Street in 2014 for $2 million. The former bank building underwent a $12 million facelift and most of the units were leased before the building opened in September.
Joseph Donovan, vice president of MG2, said he got a heads-up last week about heating system complaints and its cost last week from Charlesgate Property Management, the Boston manager of the 8-story building.
“The heating system is brand new and was designed for that property,” he said. “We went back to the manufacturer, the engineer who designed it, and the contractor who installed it, and asked them to diagnose the extent of the problem.”
The inspections were made over the weekend, he said, and Donovan is awaiting word on a fix.
On the drafty windows, Donovan said they are in touch with the manufacturer and installer on how to correct the problem.
“We are on it and we won’t stop until it’s fixed,” he said.
Todd Mikelonis, Charlesgate’s general manager, did not respond to requests for comment.
In an email to tenants, Charlesgate managing partner Michael DiMella apologized and said he understands there are problems that must be corrected, and are committed to correcting issues as fast as possible.
“Once the (heating) system is functioning as intended, the ownership is committed to reviewing any heating/electric bills that may have been higher than normal due to the heating system not functioning properly,” the email said. “We will create a clear process to address the financial impact on the tenants as we move the repairs forward and heating issues are resolved.”