• Report: #937253
Complaint Review:

Cottonwood Creek Apartments

  • Submitted: Wed, September 05, 2012
  • Updated: Tue, July 01, 2014

  • Reported By: Erin — Menasha Wisconsin USA
Cottonwood Creek Apartments
1332 Trader Road Menasha, Wisconsin United States of America

Cottonwood Creek Apartments RMD Management Group LLC Slumlords Menasha, Wisconsin

*REBUTTAL Owner of company: Rebuttal to False Accusations

*Author of original report: Email Address for Company

*Author of original report: No Owner Number Available

*General Comment: does anyone have the owners number?

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RMD Management Group a/k/a Cottonwood Creek Apartments

PO Box 389
Menasha, WI 54952

August 31, 2012

Dear Sir(s):
After reviewing all of the correspondence you sent to me and my husband, I contacted my attorney and he stated we had every legal right to break our lease. It appears that you have more violations of the City of Menasha ordinances and the State of Wisconsin laws than one could ever imagine. I've done my homework, now it's time to do yours.

First, you as the owner must provide an initial walk through inventory. You claim you never received this from us which is an outright lie. I turned the initial walk through inspection to the office along with the Vacancy Fee Charges on October 30, 2011. I find it rather curious that you do have the Vacancy Fee Charges on file and not the Initial Walk Through. If you didn't receive the Initial Walk Through from the first rental date of 11/01/2011 as you claim, then after the first seven days and you still hadn't received it as you claim, it is your responsibility, not ours, to follow up with your residents.
Additionally, a copy of that form is to be attached to the legal binding lease. So you are at fault for not following up after the seven initial days of rental to obtain this information.

Fortunate for me, my mother was a property manager for many years and warned me of these types of issues that landlords/owners try to get around. She told me not to rely on a piece of paper and that pictures were worth a thousand words. So I took her advice and took photos of everything I had listed on the Initial Walk Through form. And I took photos of the same items when we moved out, proving that you are in breach of the lease for not providing me with any
maintenance. I would be more than happy to provide these before and after photos to a judge.

Speaking of my mother, when she came to visit, she was absolutely horrified at the condition of the grounds, the filth and mold in the hallways, not to mention no lighting at either exit. Not only did we not have lighting in the hallway, but we didn't have lighting at our other exit via the patio door. None of the light bulbs or globes had been replaced the entire time we were there even though we had requested these items to be repaired over and over again without response. Also, there was no lighting in the garage, nor did the garage door lock work. According to WI Law, Sec. 704.07 #114 Maintenance states that the landlord shall keep the structure of the building in which the premises are located and those buildings and equipment under the landlord's control in "reasonable state of repair." Do you think asking for light bulbs is
"reasonable?" Do you think the health, safety and welfare of my family was at risk coming home in the pitch dark garage, a pitch dark hallway, and a pitch dark patio entrance? Anyone could have been lurking around in the dark and attacked my family all because you refused to replace light bulbs.

RMD Management 2 August 31, 2012

As required by the Wisconsin Department of Industry, Labor and Human Relations, we were to be provided a written notice regarding the maintenance of the smoke alarm in our apartment. Not only did we not receive this notice, we did not receive a notice that the battery had been change prior to our move-in. I am at this time requesting, in writing a copy of the maintenance and battery changes made to the smoke alarm in apartment #33.

PET AGREEMENT #6 and #11 you have failed to enforce and another reason you have breached our contract: Another health and safety issue we had is the dog feces throughout the grounds. We have two dogs and faithfully took them to the woods, leashed, three times a day for them to do their business. However, our neighbors let their dogs out, no leashes and no pooper scoopers in hand. One in particular has a dog as large as a horse and excretes the same. Each and every day she would let her dog out without a lease and needless to say would excrete his feces in our yard. Not once did she ever clean up after that dog. When my mother was visiting, she was the one who cleaned up and even scrubbed down the patio because my husband, coming home in the dark with no lighting, walked through it and onto our patio and into the apartment. Again, we called to complain about this and nothing was ever done. Typical. Are you aware of the diseases one could get from all the dog feces laying around? We have a 14-year old son with cystic fibrosis, and we weren't taking any chances.

"Dog waste is an environmental pollutant. In 1991, it was labeled a non-point source pollutant by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), placing it in the same category as herbicides and insecticides; oil, grease and toxic chemicals; and acid drainage from abandoned mines."

"Dog feces are one of the most common carriers of the following diseases:

Not only are you in violation of the City of Menasha Building Codes and the City of Menasha Health and Safety Codes
and the State of Wisconsin Codes, but you are in violation of your own rules and regulations:

RMD Management 3 August 31, 2012

17. Do not attempt repairs or major maintenance. Contact Kelly McUseless on his cell phone. Is this another attempt at saying "you never called."Well guess what Wisconsin codes states that all requests for maintenance must be put in writing and the owner/landlord has 48 hours to respond in writing as to the day and time the repairs will be made. Another violation? I have also kept my phone records proving that I called more than 30 times for maintenance which all went unanswered.

 18. Landlord shall be liable for all maintenance and repairs...

 20. Management will provide snow removal and yard maintenance. Really? Thegrounds are in horrendous condition, a multitude of weeds some of which look like trees they are so over-grown. Perhaps you'd better investigate the City of
Menasha's Noxious Weed Ordinance. But don't worry, I have pictures of the grounds also.

And my favorite is #24. Renters cannot move out between November 1 and February 28 due to inclement weather. This is Wisconsin, people move in the winter all the time. Furthermore, do you allow people to move in between November 1 and February 28? If so, why? It's inclement weather. I am investigating the legality of this issue too.

I am at this time requesting copies of Internet ads, newspaper ads, radio copy, etc. proving that you have made every effort to lease apartment #33 as required by law.

I also want written proof that the fire extinguisher in apartment #33 has been maintained on an annual basis as required by law, even though we never found a fire extinguisher in the apartment.

As far as your vacancy fees are concerned, this is what I had on my Walk Through Inventory list and which I have before and after photos that was never taken care of and I am charging you for:

Replace drip bowls $28
Clean Greasy Parking Space $25
Clean Fireplace $35
Sweep Garage Floor and remove garbage $10 (Floor not swept or garbage removed from former tenants)
 No cutting board in kitchen $40
 No fire extinguisher $35
Replace Garage Door Lock $50
Fix Garage Electricity $50
Repair Carpet $150 (edging fringed)
Replace Bathroom Linoleum $385 (cracked)
Replace Kitchen Linoleum $385 (cracked)

RMD Management 4 August 31, 2012

Fireplace Ceramic Tile $150 (broken and cracked)
Remove Mildew and Treat $25 (all walls)
Replace Hallway Door $285 (didn't shut let alone lock)
Replace Sliding Door Screen $55 (torn at botton)
Replace Kitchen Faucet $95 (cracked, molded)
Replace Toilet Seat $25 (broken, we replaced it ourselves)
Replace Kitchen Light Fixture $55 (two of the four light bulb holders worked)
Replace Electric Cover Plate $1.50 (cracked)
Major Yard Cleanup $425 (Dog feces)
Minor Yard Cleanup $225 (Remove weeds and mow lawn)
Exterminate for Mice $200 (Mice came in through hole in outside wall)


Non-fundable pet deposit less $100 which covers the cost of carpet cleaning.

$2,735.50 less $625 deposit

Balance due us $2,109.50

So when all is said and done, you have breached the contract in so many substantial ways, and have not abided by the City of Menasha ordinances nor the State of Wisconsin law, if you continue to pursue additional monies for September and October rent, or any damages you claim to the apartment, I will be more than happy to meet you in court. In addition we will have no alternative than to file a counter suit against you for your breach of contract in the amount of
$2,735.50 which includes reimbursement of our security deposit.

We signed a contract with you in good faith believing that you would abide not only by the lease agreement but the pet agreement also. You have failed in every way. We had no alternative than to find a clean, decent place to live to
protect our family from the health, safety and welfare issues you do not provide.

As a final note, today is August 31, 2012 and I tried calling Kelly for him to be available when I return the apartment and garage keys. As usual, I get his answering service for his cell phone. Therefore, I will be taping the keys to the office door and bringing not one but two witnesses with me.

RMD Management 5 August 31, 2012

In reality, I don't understand how RMD Management Group expects one person to do the leasing, maintenance, repairs, yard care, snow removal. It is certainly less than realistic. Perhaps it is time for you to hire the appropriate number
of personnel to complete all the tasks involved with keeping a property such as Cottonwood Creek maintained in a healthy and safe environment while fulfilling the terms of your part of the contract. You should be ashamed, very ashamed at the condition of this property.

Erin & Dennis G

cc: City of Menasha Building Inspector
City of Menasha Housing Inspector
City of Menasha Department of Health, Safety and Welfare
City of Menasha Weed Commissioner
State of Wisconsin Department of Labor, Industry and Human Relations

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 09/05/2012 04:03 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/cottonwood-creek-apartments/menasha-wisconsin-54952/cottonwood-creek-apartments-rmd-management-group-llc-slumlords-menasha-wisconsin-937253. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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Updates & Rebuttals

#1 REBUTTAL Owner of company

Rebuttal to False Accusations

AUTHOR: RMD Management Group - ()

These accusations are false and have been refuted and addressed with the Bureau of Consumer Protection. The accuser has since agreed to not slander the name of RMD Management Group, LLC (RMD), now and in the future and has paid a settlement to RMD.

We are only responding to these accusations now, as we were just made aware that this posting existed.

Please read the responses filed with the Bureau of Consumer Protection below which addresses Mrs. Gordon's complaints:

Dear Bureau of Consumer Protection,

RMD Management Group, LLC (RMD) is responding to your letter dated September 18, 2012 in reference to File 551552 and relating to the property at 1332 Trader Road #33, Menasha, WI 54952.

First and foremost, RMD is denying any and all claims made by Mrs. Erin Gordon (tenant) and stated in your letter. 

Prior to July 13, 2012 RMD had no issues or concerns with the tenant and had no written correspondence with the tenant. 

This matter began back on July 13, 2012 with the tenant notifying RMD that they were intending to vacate the premises on August 31, 2012, which was two months prior to their 1-year lease term was set to expire on October 31, 2012. Per their signed notice to vacate (See Attachment A), they agreed to be “responsible for paying rent through the end of the term agreed to in the Lease/Rental Agreement or until another tenant is approved by the management and has taken occupancy, whichever happens first…” The tenant stated on this notice that they had “Found a house to rent; we need more room for a family of 4 with two dogs.” There was no other mention of any violations or poor living conditions at this time. 

In response to the tenant’s notice to vacate, RMD’s Complex Manager, Kelly verbally told the tenant that their lease did not expire until October 31, 2012 and RMD would not mutually surrender the lease terms. 

In response to RMD’s denial of the surrendering of the lease, the tenant responded with a new letter dated July 16, 2012 and postmarked July 17, 2012 (See Attachment B) and a new “reason” for wanting to vacate. Only 3 days after the tenant’s initial notice stating the reason for termination of the lease early was in fact that they had “Found a house to rent; we need more room for a family of 4 with two dogs.”; the tenant now stated in the letter postmarked July 17, 2012 the reason for wanting to vacate was “due to the ongoing dissatisfaction with the quality of life provided to us by Cottonwood Creek Apartments. While we have always been pleased with the cooperation and understanding of you and the apartment management to our situation…” As you can determine from the letter postmarked July 17, 2012, the tenant had a positive experience with RMD only altered their tone after RMD denied the request to terminate the lease early. 

In the course of business, RMD has seen this pattern before. A tenant makes a request to vacate early, they are denied, and then pretty much immediately they start making up accusations of all the things that RMD did to break the lease. This specific apartment complex was 96% occupied (July) and at the time the tenant vacated the premise the apartment complex was also 96% occupied (August). This is a very good occupancy ratio in terms of rental housing and further illustrates that RMD runs the apartment complex with integrity and professionalism. 

Now that you have the background, here are RMD’s responses to the tenant’s complaint she made signed and dated on September 4, 2012. 

First RMD would like to point out the tenant made the complaint on September 4, 2012 which is only four days after the tenant vacated. According to the signed lease (lines 45 – 46) (See Attachment C)  and state law, RMD has 21 days from the last date of occupancy by the tenant, which in this case was August 31, 2012, to return the tenant’s security deposit. The tenant’s complaints for violation of misuse of the security deposit (ATCP 134.06(3)(b) and ATCP 134.06(4)(b)) were made 17 days prior to the security deposit even being due back to the tenant and 14 days prior to RMD actually sending out the security deposit documentation and withholdings on September 18, 2012. At the time the complaint was made there was not an infraction of the lease and by no means would allow the tenant to legally be removed from the obligations of the lease. 

RMD did charge the tenant for damages related to three items in the kitchen (Cleaning stovetop; oven; and ceiling fan) as well as charges for carpet replacement and past due rent (September) and late fees (September). The stovetop, oven, and ceiling fan resulted in charges of $75.00 and are broken out on the Security Deposit Settlement Statement (See Attachment D). The carpet had excessive stains and a heavy animal urine scent. RMD’s professional carpet cleaning service came to inspect as they do to all our vacated units and they wrote to RMD, “Unable to save carpet’s due to extreme pet urine and mold caused by it!!!” (See Attachment E) Also in a separate letter from the City of Menasha Building Inspector it states, “the carpets needed to be cleaned to remove the smell left by the previous tenants.” (See Attachment G) Furthermore in a letter from the City of Menasha Health Inspector it states, “inspection of unit #33 found strong pet urine odor upon entering the unit, and noted stains on the living room carpet.” He went on to state the “…Health concern is the pet urine related to carpet.” (See Attachment H

Again, these were all charges detailed out and sent to the tenant within the 21 days window allotted by the state and after the tenant’s claim was falsely made on September 4, 2012. 

In regards to the alleged violation of ATCP 134.07(1), prior to the letter postmarked July 17, 2012, RMD did not receive any written requests for repairs or maintenance from the tenant, nor were any repairs promised in writing to the tenant by RMD. On August 31, 2012, the date the lease was breached by the tenant, the tenant sent out a letter (See Attachment F) to RMD and a copy to City of Menasha Building Inspector. The Menasha building inspector came out on September 7, 2012 to inspect the property and the complaints of the tenant and noted no material violations, but did reference in writing that “the carpets needed to be cleaned to remove the smell left by the previous tenants.” (G

Furthermore with regards to the alleged violation of ATCP 134.07(1), prior to the letter postmarked July 17, 2012, RMD did not receive any written requests for issues with mold, dog feces, and other health issues from the tenant. In the letter dated August 31, 2012 sent letter (F) to RMD and a copy to City of Menasha Department of Health, Safety and Welfare. The Menasha Health inspector came out on September 6, 2012 to inspect the property and the complaints of the tenant and noted in the public Environmental Complaint Record (H) that “no current issues warrant orders issued to property owner related to abatement of a health hazard.” The inspector did however document that during his “inspection of unit #33 found strong pet urine odor upon entering the unit, and noted stains on the living room carpet.” He went on to state the “…Health concern is the pet urine related to carpet.” 

In regards to the alleged violation of ATCP 134.08(2), RMD honestly does not know where this stated in the lease. If this is in question to whether or not we put forth a “reasonable effort” to fill the tenants unit, then RMD would like to offer these thoughts. RMD’s sole advertising outlet is Craigslist and this has been our only outlet for advertising the apartment complex since March 2011. We post the opening once or twice per month depending on what is available. In the listing of postings (See Attachment I) it shows RMD posted the availability at the apartment complex 4 times during the months of July and August 2012. During the 17 month period of only advertising on Craigslist, RMD has maintained a 95% occupancy rate which is extremely great for the industry and the market here in Menasha, WI. Also, if a tenant is vacating a unit it is the tenant’s responsibility to keep the unit in a reasonable state for showings. As one can deduce from the written comments from the carpet cleaner, building inspector and health inspector, having a unit with carpet saturated with pet urine is not a state to show prospective tenants. 

Furthermore, with regards to the alleged violation of ATCP 134.08(2), per Wis. Stat. 704.29(2)(b) “If the landlord has other similar premises for rent and receives an offer from a prospective tenant not obtained by the defendant, it is reasonable for the landlord to rent the other premises for the landlord’s own account in preference to those vacated by the defaulting tenant.” As of September 1, 2012 the tenant’s unit was one of eight vacant units resulting from turnover, evictions, and/or passing of a tenant. Except for one of the evictions, there were six other units left in much better shape and were rent ready after the unit was vacated. As noted to the tenant several times, RMD will make a reasonable attempt to lease out the unit, but also made the tenant aware that if the unit was unable to be rented by October 31, 2012 that the tenant would be responsible for rent, utilities, and damages. 

Also mentioned in the complaint under Question #8 was the fact the tenant did not receive a Check-Out list. Per lines 49 – 52 of the signed lease agreement (C), it states it is the tenant’s responsibility to return the Check-In sheet within seven days of occupancy. The tenant did not turn in the Check-In sheet that was provided at lease signing and therefore the Security Deposit Settlement Statement (D) is used by RMD in its place to list the items needing to be cleaned or repaired. The tenant also made this claim on September 4, 2012, which was 17 days prior to the walkthrough needing to be completed. 

The tenant went on to deliver letters to every tenant with this false propaganda and slandered the name of RMD and our Complex Manager. This is a separate topic, but the tenant will have legal actions brought against them in court if this slander continues. 

As you can see from the documentation above, RMD feels the accusations by the tenant are false. RMD feels it is an attempt by the tenant to justify in their mind of why they feel they can vacate the lease early and to not be responsible for the final two months of the tenants lease. Again, we would like to point out that the tenant stated that her original reason for wanting to vacate early was that they had “Found a house to rent; we need more room for a family of 4 with two dogs.” It was not until their request was denied that they came up these accusations, of which several Menasha Employees have deemed to be false and felt their time had been wasted. 

We thank you for taking the time to read through this information and welcome any further questions you may have with regards to the complaint filed by the tenant. 

Kind regards,  

RMD Management Group, LLC 

------END LETTER-----

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#2 Author of original report

Email Address for Company

AUTHOR: Erin - (USA)

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#3 Author of original report

No Owner Number Available

AUTHOR: Erin - (USA)

I never did find a number for the "owners" of the property.  But here is an email address.  Hope this helps!  rmdmanagementgroup@gmail.com
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#4 General Comment

does anyone have the owners number?

AUTHOR: katie - (United States of America)

i am a current resident at the cottenwood apartments in menasha wi and i hate it here. i can never get kelly to answer my phone calls and when i finally get a hold of him he has no idea what im talking about.  i have a one year old that cant even play in his own house without me being 2 steps behind him because im scared for his saftey. so my question is does anyone who has or is living here have the real owners number??
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