Hinshaw Properties’s lack of accountability affects quality of life

The East Campus community makes unfavorable living conditions bearable.

As a college student, I did not start my housing search with granite countertops, wood floors and a remodeled kitchen in mind. My criteria were simple: a house that was close to campus, clean and cute (yes, I’m a little superficial).

Paul Hinshaw (of Hinshaw Properties), an East Campus realtor, delivered all of that and more — but not in the way you would imagine.

My precious six-person house on Rosemary Lane came with two mold-infested bedrooms, a baseball-sized hole in the front window and a landlord who frequently shows up unannounced, particularly when my roommates and I are showering.

But the house is cute! That counts for something, right?

The living conditions are typical of Hinshaw, who owns a large number of houses and apartments in the neighborhoods bordering MU’s campus. If you squint hard enough, you can almost picture the structures in their glory days, some 80 or 100 years ago. As wave after wave of college students has moved in and out of the buildings, however, they have sunk further and further into dilapidation.

But I digress. Prior to moving in, I was well aware that my choice of residence was not brand-spanking-new. Granite countertops are but a dream. But my five roommates and I have transformed the janky house, which we fondly call “Brosmary,” into a home.

As with many East Campus houses, it is the living experience that counts more than the actual house. On any typical day, I will return home to find the frat boys across the street heaving a mattress off of the roof, the girls who live behind us throwing a rager or the boys next door perching on the roof, their feet dangling in the air. This is the kind of solidarity and experience you cannot have in a fancy apartment building.

The problem is not the rundown (but still lovable) house. The problem is Hinshaw.

In every situation, Hinshaw has been completely unwilling to complete basic repairs, communicate clearly and respect us as tenants. Have a shower that needs unclogged? Better call your father, who happens to live five hours away, and hope his voodoo repair magic can cross state lines. Have a front door that won’t lock? Make friends with the buff boys next door and hope they have a power drill. Want information on when groups of complete strangers will be touring your bedroom? Don’t get your hopes up. Oh, and be prepared to face said group of strangers half-naked following a shower or in your pajamas.

East Campus housing, with all its flaws and faults, is worth the experience. But find any landlord other than Hinshaw.

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