Author Topic: COVID-19 and paying for amenities/services not available  (Read 916 times)

ThreeCarbsNoGrains

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COVID-19 and paying for amenities/services not available
« on: May 15, 2020, 02:20:53 PM »
Let me preface this by saying that I understand this situation is trivial in comparison to the sickness, death, grief, unemployment and financial hardships others are experiencing right now.  I am extremely grateful I and my family are healthy, employed, and financially secure.

That being said, I am interested in how others are handling being automatically charged for memberships and services which cannot be used currently due to COVID19.  For example, if you have a monthly gym membership but the gym is/was closed (either voluntarily or complying with government orders) did you continue to pay for the membership? 

For example, I continued to be billed for my monthly gym membership until I called and inquired and found out there was an option to ďfreezeĒ the membership.  I did so, but I would not have found out about this if I didnít ask. 

I live in an apartment building and pay a monthly amenity fee; all amenities have been closed for the past two months and foreseeable future.  This includes the gym, pool, office area, conference room, club rooms, but also our outdoor green spaces.  I completely understand being cautious, particularly the indoor areas, but I also believe the outdoor green spaces could be utilized in a responsible way. 

Currently, by my estimation, property management is collecting at least  $15,000 per month in amenity fees ($33x500+ Units).  Itís definitely in their best interest to continue to collect the fee and leave the amenities closed.  Management has no idea when anything will be open again.

I would appreciate input on this situation.  Part of me feels like Iím being petty about $33 a month when others are in terrible situations.  But at the same time, one of the primary reasons we moved here was for the amenities (we could do without a yard or balcony because we would have access to the spacious courtyard/green spaces).  Having no access to outdoor spaces has made staying home in 700 sq feet more difficult.

Iíve inquired about breaking my lease early to move but I would be charged all the associated early termination fees.  I understand the current pandemic is no oneís fault but I feel like the least that property management could do is suspend the amenity fee until they are reopened. 

I guess this has turned into an ďam I the a**holeĒ post.  (I have not made any complaints, to property management..  Nobody needs to hear me complaining- except you guys). I would appreciate your feedback (and face punches if I deserve them)

slappy

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Re: COVID-19 and paying for amenities/services not available
« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2020, 02:26:42 PM »
Let me preface this by saying that I understand this situation is trivial in comparison to the sickness, death, grief, unemployment and financial hardships others are experiencing right now.  I am extremely grateful I and my family are healthy, employed, and financially secure.

That being said, I am interested in how others are handling being automatically charged for memberships and services which cannot be used currently due to COVID19.  For example, if you have a monthly gym membership but the gym is/was closed (either voluntarily or complying with government orders) did you continue to pay for the membership? 

For example, I continued to be billed for my monthly gym membership until I called and inquired and found out there was an option to ďfreezeĒ the membership.  I did so, but I would not have found out about this if I didnít ask. 

I live in an apartment building and pay a monthly amenity fee; all amenities have been closed for the past two months and foreseeable future.  This includes the gym, pool, office area, conference room, club rooms, but also our outdoor green spaces.  I completely understand being cautious, particularly the indoor areas, but I also believe the outdoor green spaces could be utilized in a responsible way. 

Currently, by my estimation, property management is collecting at least  $15,000 per month in amenity fees ($33x500+ Units).  Itís definitely in their best interest to continue to collect the fee and leave the amenities closed.  Management has no idea when anything will be open again.

I would appreciate input on this situation.  Part of me feels like Iím being petty about $33 a month when others are in terrible situations.  But at the same time, one of the primary reasons we moved here was for the amenities (we could do without a yard or balcony because we would have access to the spacious courtyard/green spaces).  Having no access to outdoor spaces has made staying home in 700 sq feet more difficult.

Iíve inquired about breaking my lease early to move but I would be charged all the associated early termination fees.  I understand the current pandemic is no oneís fault but I feel like the least that property management could do is suspend the amenity fee until they are reopened. 

I guess this has turned into an ďam I the a**holeĒ post.  (I have not made any complaints, to property management..  Nobody needs to hear me complaining- except you guys). I would appreciate your feedback (and face punches if I deserve them)

You can't go outside at all?

ThreeCarbsNoGrains

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Re: COVID-19 and paying for amenities/services not available
« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2020, 02:31:22 PM »
Let me preface this by saying that I understand this situation is trivial in comparison to the sickness, death, grief, unemployment and financial hardships others are experiencing right now.  I am extremely grateful I and my family are healthy, employed, and financially secure.

Tó-snipó-

You can't go outside at all?

I should clarify- I can (and do) use public city sidewalks, however all the ďgreen spacesĒ that belong to the building (two large outdoor areas with patio furniture etc) are off limits.

Megma

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Re: COVID-19 and paying for amenities/services not available
« Reply #3 on: May 15, 2020, 02:38:32 PM »
If it's a small business that you appreciate and will need in the future and you do not need the money, I would let it go. For example, I know many people who continued to pay their housekeeper or childcare provider if they didn't have a job loss personally, though they cannot currently use the services.

For the giant apartment complex, I would push back. I am sure they still have some costs for the spaces to be maintained but likely considerably lower. I would at least ask, like you did at the gym.

I personally had some gym credits (small local studio) that I had gotten a good deal on because they were only 90 days to use them  and I was pleasantly surprised to see they extended the validity to September without my having to ask.

Frankies Girl

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Re: COVID-19 and paying for amenities/services not available
« Reply #4 on: May 15, 2020, 02:47:28 PM »
I was paying for a YMCA membership that was unavailable. I also paid my neighborhood fees that were closed down (things like tennis courts, exercise stations, playgrounds were declared closed and we were on the honor system for these - they posted signs but no one was standing around enforcing).

In both cases, I was fine with them keeping the money and doing what they could to pay for things that are still in need like maintenance, utilities, staff salary, landscaping, etc.

The Y in my city switched over to child care for essential workers and free food distribution, and their workers are getting paid/facilities used. The CEO also declared last month that they were suspending charging folks for the membership fee, but if you wanted to pay it anyway to help out, then you could opt back in. I did, because I can afford it and feel like it's the right thing to do personally, but I am not upset at anyone taking them up on the fee suspension because the can't afford it.

Can you afford the fees? If so, do you think you can work around the idea that you are contributing to helping people even if you don't personally get any benefit right now? I don't think it's a question of you being an asshole here; these are extraordinary times and it is magnifying the issue - you moved in there for the stuff, you're paying for the stuff, but due to X, you don't get the stuff you're paying for. You are not out of line for feeling trapped/cheated.

But a slight shift in perspective may help a tiny bit: you are not being lied to or denied the facilities through some nefarious plot by the management company to steal money from you. They would love to let you use what you're paying them for. They aren't doing this on purpose to hurt you. They are likely also scared, bored, stir-crazy people too, but with the added bonus of worrying if they'll have enough tenants to support the current workforce and maintain the complex and facilities. If everyone left, they'd be in serious trouble. And there very likely are people that can't afford their place any more and are stiffing them on their rent and facility fees (and remember, evictions in most areas of the country are suspended so landlords are getting royally screwed - and most mortgage/property taxes, utilities won't likely cut THEM a break). Or moving out to cheaper places or in with relatives. So what you pay is desperately needed even if it is a larger corporate entity to try to keep things status quo.

I agree it would be great if everyone just got to suspend all payments to everywhere if they aren't able to use/afford things. But realistically, we need things to keep being supported. Sucks to be the one(s) left holding the bag but that's the cost of being a smart, responsible adult sometimes.

And there is always pubic parks, open spaces you can use near you, at least I would hope. Not close as your complex but it's still an option if you are going crazy.

slappy

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Re: COVID-19 and paying for amenities/services not available
« Reply #5 on: May 15, 2020, 02:57:36 PM »
I guess I would call and ask about the outdoor spaces. Maybe there is some way that you can be allowed access. Otherwise, it does seem a little harsh to be worried about those small fees right now. To consider moving because you only moved there for those amenities and now you can't use them for two months due to the pandemic seems extreme. If there was some sort of repair or something that was taking a crazy long time and restricting your access, then I can see being upset.

ThreeCarbsNoGrains

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Re: COVID-19 and paying for amenities/services not available
« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2020, 03:01:20 PM »
).

But a slight shift in perspective may help a tiny bit: you are not being lied to or denied the facilities through some nefarious plot by the management company to steal money from you. They would love to let you use what you're paying them for. They aren't doing this on purpose to hurt you. They are likely also scared, bored, stir-crazy people too, but with the added bonus of worrying if they'll have enough tenants to support the current workforce and maintain the complex and facilities. If everyone left, they'd be in serious trouble. And there very likely are people that can't afford their place any more and are stiffing them on their rent and facility fees (and remember, evictions in most areas of the country are suspended so landlords are getting royally screwed - and most mortgage/property taxes, utilities won't likely cut THEM a break). Or moving out to cheaper places or in with relatives. So what you pay is desperately needed even if it is a larger corporate entity to try to keep things status quo.

This is a great point - although itís a giant property and asset management company, presumably they are giving some of the residents a break who are having hard times (I hope so).  As someone above mentioned, if it was small business I would be glad to keep paying.  And just because itís a large business doesnít mean they arenít also being hit hard themselves. 

Normally I am not the type to ďnickel and dimeĒ over things like this.  I donít have the utmost trust in the property management due to how things have been handled since they purchased the property. However I think itís probably best for everyone if I just assume the best.

Freedomin5

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Re: COVID-19 and paying for amenities/services not available
« Reply #7 on: May 15, 2020, 03:45:38 PM »
Iíd keep paying. We have a cottage in a resort with management fees of about $10K per year. It was supposed to open on May 1. Right now there is no opening date. I donít mind paying because itís keeping their staff employed. And there is still work. The management company has a lot more work and expenses involved in disinfecting the public spaces and getting it ready for reopening. There may be government regulations in place regarding public health measures that they will need to meet in order to reopen. All of that costs money.

If everyone thought like you and stopped paying fees, several hundred people would be out of work. The company might shut down. Now is really not the time for employed people who make good money to quibble over a few dollars.

mm1970

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Re: COVID-19 and paying for amenities/services not available
« Reply #8 on: May 15, 2020, 05:26:33 PM »
We are continuing to pay for our YMCA membership.  We will continue to pay and probably not go for a couple of months after they open.  Let's be honest, it's a family membership, and I am the only one who works out there.  We take the kids to the pool.

Our YMCA automatically continued the deductions, however, as they are a non-profit, for every month we pay and the Y is closed, they email me a document for my taxes, as a tax deductible donation (which is moot in my tax bracket).

We are also paying our cleaning lady and will likely continue until it is safe for her or her people to return.  I expect August?

Cranky

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Re: COVID-19 and paying for amenities/services not available
« Reply #9 on: May 16, 2020, 04:34:47 AM »
Our Y actually hasnít billed for the last 2 months. They did say you could pay if you wanted.

Theyíve provided childcare for workers at the hospital next door, and theyíve had quite a bit of online stuff available though I havenít used it.

I donít know what to do about the membership in the long run. I think theyíll reopen in a month or so, but I donít see feeling okay to go to classes or use the indoor track or pool. Itís always busy. Weíre old (and the classes we go to are all old people) and I think weíll be laying low for a long time. Itís something I really miss, though.

11ducks

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Re: COVID-19 and paying for amenities/services not available
« Reply #10 on: May 16, 2020, 04:48:57 PM »
Iím paying for my martial arts gym membership, because I want it to be there when isolation is done. Part of me dislikes paying for services I am not using, but i know I am privileged to have a solid income right now, and many people arenít so lucky. Much as I wouldnít choose to work in one of the non-essential industries (leisure, recreation, sports, beauty, hospitality, events), I definitely recognise their value in society and want them to exist.

partgypsy

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Re: COVID-19 and paying for amenities/services not available
« Reply #11 on: May 16, 2020, 09:03:19 PM »
My y was weird. I was on the fence about keeping the membership pre covid, wasn't quite going enough to justify it. Covid happened, and I decided to cancel so sent the info. They then sent an email that they were going to freeze the membership (not charge) but I need to call them to fully cancel. And so I thought well this gives me time to decide. I then noticed this month they still charged me March and April. So I decided to call and cancel the membership. They can keep March and April as a donation. They did say I could rejoin by September without paying the initial joining fee, but I don't know at this point. otherwise they are a good organization.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2020, 09:04:55 PM by partgypsy »

FatFI2025

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Re: COVID-19 and paying for amenities/services not available
« Reply #12 on: May 16, 2020, 09:21:51 PM »
I have a $1,350/mo office lease in a serviced building. The staff comes in for two hours a day and I could theoretically still use it although my clients have all gone 100% remote so there's no point.

What I want to know is if the megacorp office company is still paying staff 100%. I could definitely see them delaying their payments to the owners, furloughing staff, and still charging customers. But maybe that's a bit too pessimistic.

In the end I have a contract and they report untimely payments to credit bureaus, so I'm stuck. Just hoping that the rates go WAY down when my contract is up for renewal in September.

branman42

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Re: COVID-19 and paying for amenities/services not available
« Reply #13 on: May 16, 2020, 09:27:47 PM »
they email me a document for my taxes, as a tax deductible donation (which is moot in my tax bracket).


The CARES act added a $300 above the line deduction for charitable giving, so if you werenít giving that much before it should be a benefit for you.