When Google went public in 2004, co-founder Sergey Brin became a billionaire overnight. But despite all the wealth, as recently as two years ago Brin was still living in a modest two-bedroom unit at 725 Cowper Street in Palo Alto. Comparable apartments in the low-rise building rent for around $4,000 a month, all share a communal swimming pool, and many get consistently low ratings on ApartmentRatings.com. Of course, there's no way of knowing for certain how long Brin continued to bed down here despite tooling around in a Tesla roadster and sharing a private 767 with business partner Larry Page, but if he did, he remained familiar with the sort of plebeian apartment problems that often afflict the masses. Brin has since moved onto an estate in Los Altos that cost $7M for the land alone, and for good reason. His former neighbors have plenty to say about the shoddy construction and unresponsive management. Just how did Brin live before meeting the real estate expectations of his tech-titan status? Below, the laundry list.
Complaint #1: The Construction
The apartments look alright, but the construction is crappy. No lighting in rooms. Noise goes through walls like they were made of cardboard. The landlord illegal enters your room with no notice. They take $300 off your deposit just for a standard cleaning. Ceilings have fallen down in multiple apartments which contain asbestos. 2 weeks to fix. I would not recommend this place.
Complaint #2: Noisy Kids (+ more construction issues)
Decent apartment, fantastic location. Would have been very enjoyable if not for the rambunctious children and their inconsiderate parents above me. They would let their children cry for hours in the middle of the night, and let them run amuck during the day/evening. Despite constant complaints from myself and other tenants, nothing was ever done. I also had parts of my ceiling cave in after a rainstorm. Landlord was unresponsive and hard to deal with.
Complaint #3: Declining Management
The building used to be extremely well managed by a woman and her husband...however, the woman's brother-in-law recently took over as building manager and doesn't bother to do anything for tenants. He didn't return phone calls, was oblivious to the fact that rent was completely above market rate. The few times he returned calls was either at inappropriate times (10 pm or later) or he would knock on tenants doors without informing them beforehand. The rare times he actually followed through on scheduling service appointments, he would not keep tenants updated, and instead would randomly show up at the door without informing the tenants in advance. Oh - noise is terrible unless you're on the top floor. You will hear the people above you walk all night long.
Complaint #4: "Horrible" Super
The location of the apartments is great, but not worth the angst of dealing with the landlord. On-site manager is horrible, confrontational, and socially inept. Additionally, the walls are so thin that any noise from neighbors is easily audible. The only positives are parking and location. Best to find a place where you need not deal with the current management.
· 725 Cowper Apartments [ApartmentRatings.com]
· Sergey Brin's Home [Virtual Globetrotting]
· The Over-the-Top Mansions of Rich Tech Entrepreneurs [Curbed National]