Friday, February 29, 2008

Don't move to Hillwood

If you're in the market for an apartment in Northern Virginia, don't bother with Hillwood. Save your business for someplace that appreciates it.

I'm debating whether to write the rest of this now while my rage is fresh. At the moment, I'm past a level of seething I didn't know was possible.

Here are the unvarnished facts: I parked illegally last night. I got towed.

I take responsibility for that; my fault and no one else's.

Dig past the top level, however, and that's where the source of my frustration lies.

I parked across from a dumpster, which has ample room around it - including the spaces directly across from it, where I was. An SUV was parked in one space next to it that's just as illegal; yet when I walked out this morning, there sat that SUV. Mine was gone.

We seem to have a problem of selective enforcement; how much Hillwood plays into this and how much the towing company, Henry's, does is unclear.

To legally park in our lot, a car requires decals available only from the main office. We walk past multiple cars each night that display no stickers; there are two motorcycles in a front space that show no signs of a decal yet have sat there for several months, despite the presence of a motorcycles-only space about 50 feet away.

Most of my neighbors have stickers. I do too.

But when I arrive home late, as I have twice in the past week because of basketball playoffs, spaces are extremely limited. I have to park pretty far away from my building; but I understand that. Most people get home at 6 p.m. or so. Because I don't, I pay the price. I do understand.

This week, on both Tuesday and Thursday nights, there were no spaces available. Zero. None.

So this tells me that one of two things is happening: 1. The management company is unconcerned about how many decals they give out. Each person that rents with them gets one sticker; a second can be purchased. But is there any sort of regulation that goes with this? If they sell too many stickers for a certain lot, where will the overflow cars go? Each of the other lots nearby is packed at midnight, too.

2. The management company or the towing company is paying lip service, nothing more, to towing those without the proper credentials. When I called Henry's, I was told that looking for non-decaled cars was the thrust of their operation; why, then, has parking gotten harder, not easier?

So here I sit, waiting for my wife to disrupt her day to pick me up to take me to this towing company.

This has been the only place we've ever lived since Linds and I moved in together. With one exception, we've paid our rent on time every month; to our knowledge, we've never caused so much as a complaint from our neighbors.

Yet we're continually treated with indifference. Borrowing a phrase from my work blog, we're simply viewed as revenue supply.

Do yourself a favor. Go look elsewhere for an apartment.

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