After a stranger was found living unknown to residents in an off-campus house, the company that rents the property is making safety and security adjustments.
The residents of a house on 13th Avenue are still recovering from the shock of finding a stranger allegedly named Jeremy living in their basement in the fall.
When the housemates opened a locked door in their basement in September, they discovered a full bedroom, complete with textbooks and photographs, belonging to a man named Jeremy, said Jimmy Alderman, a fourth-year in civil engineering.
“It was a dangerous situation,” Alderman said in a September interview with The Lantern.
Jeremy told the housemates afterward that his cousin had lived in the house the year before and given him a key to the basement room, Alderman said. When the cousin moved out, Jeremy stayed behind.
NorthSteppe has since taken action to prevent situations like this, said Mike Stickney, broker of NorthSteppe Realty, in an email Wednesday.
“We have made policy changes,” Stickney said. “We are inspecting our properties on a quarterly basis for safety, security and cleanliness issues.”
The house is split into two leases: one for five people on the first floor, and another for 10 people on the second and third floors.
When the housemates had previously run into Jeremy around the house, they had mostly assumed he was on the other lease, said resident Brett Mugglin, a fourth-year in computer science and engineering who encountered Jeremy in the basement one day.
“He was like, ‘Oh, I was wondering when I’d get to meet the people who live here,’” Mugglin said in September.
The housemates are currently pursuing legal action against NorthSteppe Realty, the company that rents out the house, but progress is slow, said resident MJ Dorony, a fourth-year in journalism.
“We’ve talked to Student Legal Services, who gave us advice on different people to talk to, but it’s just been a lot of different processes in itself,” Dorony said.
Shortly after the incident, NorthSteppe requested a formal letter from the roommates to explain what they wanted from the company and why. The roommates said they submitted the letter, but not much has happened since.
“At one point, we had great hopes (of getting free rent and other payment) … and now it seems a lot more dim,” Dorony said.
Several months later, the roommates are instead hoping to get their security deposit back and move on with their lives, said resident Jared Malvic, a fourth-year in materials science and engineering.
“It’s more like it’s been brushed under the rug, and maybe (they’ll) look at it later,” Malvic said. “My grades started suffering from all the stress of it last semester. I’m taking engineering classes, I’m involved in some clubs, and now I have this new house that is having all these problems.”
Though their story received national and international attention, the roommates’ lives haven’t changed all that much, Malvic said.
“The house is famous, not us,” he said.
In the end, Malvic said he just wants to see this situation go away.
“We’ve already been screwed,” Malvic said. “We just don’t want it to happen again.”