Would you sign sight unseen? Canyon Apartments lease raises questions

Before 23-year-old Jase Patrick moved to the Panhandle, he spent some of his undergrad at Baylor working as a Leasing Specialist for a local apartment complex. It was that same experience that caused him to raise an eyebrow while speaking with a leasing agent from Canyon Apartments after checking out a few apartment complexes in Canyon.

"I said we can go back to the office and I can go over the application process with you and go over the lease," explained Patrick. "She said, 'oh, we don't show you the lease until after you sign it'."

Jase, sure that he was allowed to read that lease before he signed anything was frustrated and decided to go back the next day to speak with a different employee. He got the same story the second day, but that time, had it all on tape. He used his iPhone to record the conversation.

The conversation went as follows:

Jase: "You're telling me I have to put down a deposit to look at the lease?"

Leasing Agent: "You have to put down a deposit to get the lease and then you have to sign the lease to look at it."

Jase: "You want me to sign the lease before looking at it?"

Jase said several employees were standing around, all saying the same thing. He even went back to check the recording to make sure that's what was said.

"What she might have meant to say was we'll go over it at the same time as you sign it," Jase said. "I was thinking that's what she might have meant to say, but when I went back the next day, you can hear the recording, they say you have to sign the lease to read the lease."

Still upset, Jase made several phone calls hoping to speak with a manager. When he finally did, Jase said the man seemed unconcerned with the issue.

"He said they did have a miscommunication then," said Jase. "He said that they were new and that they haven't had an opportunity to be trained yet. He refused to set up a meeting, didn't apologize and didn't even want to listen to the recording."

Pronews 7 spoke to the Project Manager of LEMC, which manages the Canyon Apartments. He refused to go on camera but was upset during the phone call. He said his employees did "nothing illegal" and expressed that the Texas Apartment Association did not allow them to give someone a blank lease before they filled out an application and paid an application fee. He said he made that clear to Jase when they spoke on the phone. Toward the end of the phone conversation with Pronews 7, the manager did add that his employees should have treated Jase with more respect and they had been reprimanded for those actions.

Even after speaking, both parties were left uneasy. Jase said the incident should serve as a good reminder to be extra careful when dealing with a lease or contract of any kind.

"I don't know how many people they've said that to," said Jase. "It may very well just be four times and all four happened to me but this could be happening to some 19-year-old that goes by themselves and I'm sure that's what I looked like to them," he added. "I would just take someone who looks much older, an adult, someone that's going to stick up for you."

Since the incident, Jase looked at other apartment complexes in Canyon and found another place to live.