Residents at Liberty Square apartment complex, owned by Redstone Residential Management, are claiming the complex has failed to provide them with water, are not communicating and caused a giant hole in the middle of their quad, among other issues.
The water shut-offs started sporadically — for a day every other month but they have become progressively more regular. At one point, residents went 14 days with no water for most of the day, with nine of those days being consecutive. The water was shut off for six to nine hours each day during the middle of the day.
Residents themselves do not know the exact reasoning for the shut-offs and claim Liberty Square has been communicating with them at the bare minimum.
“They never communicated exactly what happened with the water, because they didn’t believe we deserved to know… inferring from the gigantic hole in the courtyard,” said Asher Belanger, a Liberty Square resident and BYU student.
The hole Belanger is referring to is located in the middle of Liberty Square’s quad. He said a pipe broke between his building and the office and the office said they would turn the water off to drain the hole and find the leak. Although the hole has been recently filled, residents say it is a safety concern for those nearby.
Belanger and other residents said they tried to discuss their concerns with management, but they were often brushed off or ignored.
“A group peacefully and civilly went into their office seeking a resolution and decided a petition would be the best way to accomplish that,” Belanger said. “We let the office know that is how we would proceed but I went in a few hours later to hear the office manager telling some workers that if they see or receive the petition to put it in the trash.”
With these water shut-offs, residents said they could not complete daily tasks such as showering or drinking water, and were forced to find other places to carry them out because they couldn’t at their own apartment.
“Water is not an amenity, it’s a necessity. We shouldn’t be expected to find solutions to this problem. It is not our responsibility as residents at Liberty Square to find solutions to problems we didn’t cause,” Belanger said. “It’s the things you don’t really think about that were upsetting. I mean, your toilets don’t flush, you’re not able to do dishes, you can’t really cook or can’t brush your teeth, you can’t do anything.”
At the beginning of May, residents went 11 hours without water and without receiving any warning. Residents then received a text message stating the shut-off, which came two hours after the water had already been off.
“For me, this is a really big issue. It proves that Liberty Square and Redstone Residential want to rob students blind rather than be an honest business. As BYU students we are expected to live by the Honor Code but the management apparently does not,” Belanger said. “We have to be honest in our dealings and Liberty Square is not. It’s so frustrating to live where management doesn’t care about you and you still have to pay for the necessities you need and that management is not providing.”
Jacob McCoy, a Liberty Square resident and BYU student studying computer engineering, emailed Liberty Square asking for a utility credit on May’s rent as a compensation for no water. He emailed the address he was told to for questions and concerns on the packet Liberty Square gave him when he moved in, but he never got a response.
Frustrated, McCoy came to hear about a settlement Liberty Square was offering stating they would give some residents a $35 credit if that resident were to withdraw all complaints. When he looked into the settlement further, Liberty Square offered it to him but he declined to sign it.
“The part that really bothered me about the settlement was that we had to give up free speech to do it. They said we had to withdraw our complaints, could not speak negatively about Liberty Square online in reviews or other formats and we couldn’t tell anyone if we did sign it,” McCoy said. “If it got back to them that we did speak about the settlement, they could sue us for a minimum of $2,000. Kind of harsh.”
McCoy said he finds irony in this situation, stating he lives at Liberty Square, yet the only way he can be treated fairly is to give up his liberty.
“I didn’t think the settlement deal was fair. I wanted to make a counteroffer to them that removed the confidentiality part of the settlement,” McCoy said. “I went to the leasing office and asked the manager if there was anyone I could talk to about making a counteroffer and he told me very tersely ‘no.’ I said, ‘Really, there’s no one at all I can talk to about making a counteroffer?’ He said again that there wasn’t.”
The residents frustrations continue as they still do not have answers and do not know when their water will be shut off next.
“It makes me feel hopeless. There isn’t much you can do as one student when management doesn’t listen,” Belanger said.
Additional residents expressed their frustration to The Daily Universe but would not give their names for fear of backlash from Liberty Square.
Liberty Square failed to comment when contacted multiple times by The Daily Universe.