Prometheus draws ire from tenants, again

Tenant's online videos document 'construction site hell'

Residents of downtowns's largest apartment complex are demanding compensation from their landlord, Prometheus Real Estate Group, after enduring the noise of a months-long construction project.

Park Place South resident Guy Kulman has gone as far as to post videos on his blog to illustrate exactly how he's suffered from the work to repair water damage to the apartments. Kulman, who works at home every day, appears tormented by noise in his videos, including the ear-piercing fire alarms that ago off after confusing construction dust with smoke.

Rod Standard, vice president of property management for Prometheus, said construction dust set the alarms off at first, but managers later found a resident pulling the fire alarm and referred the matter to police.

"This is absolutely a horrible place to live," Kulman says to a manager in one video. "Would you live here and not be compensated to endure this crap? I don't think so. I just called the Hearing Loss Association of America and we're going to have a conversation."

In other videos, Kulman opens his door to the sounds of high-pitched electric saws and hammers right outside his door. He complains about the smell of port-a-potties emanating from the parking garages below the apartments. Construction workers walk around in hard hats right outside his door. Kulman wonders if he shouldn't have on of his own, along with a dust mask.

Prometheus also owns the massive Americana apartment complex behind Camino Medical Group, where numerous tenants protested roof work in 2007 that showered home interiors with asbestos dust. At least one tenant was awarded damages in small claims court.

"Our chief complaint is that the management did not disclose the extent of the renovation yet continues to refuse to lower the rent to compensate for all the problems it causes," said Park Place resident Rob Smith in an e-mail.

"In my mind, they leased us a BMW, and then gave us a Pinto," Kulman wrote in an e-mail. "At the very least, we should at most pay for the Pinto."

Kulman said he wanted a 30-percent reduction in rent or to have Prometheus pay his moving expenses.

Standard said Prometheus was willing to sit down with residents like Kulman to talk about compensation but would not go into specifics beyond helping people out of their leases and buying lunch or a movie. He added that facilities were set up at Park Place North where residents like Kulman could "work and relax" and avoid the daytime noise.

Despite the complaints, three large moving trucks were parked on High School Way on Friday. Movers were moving people into the complex, not out of it.

"That shocks me," Kulman said. "I never would have chosen to live here if I had known. I know a number of people have moved out."

Prometheus recently gained City Council approval for a project to build 200 apartments at the site of Minton's Lumber and Supply on Eleven Avenue.

The project is scheduled for completion on Nov. 19, Standard said. Updates on the project are posted by Prometheus at


Like this comment
Posted by Marshall
a resident of Whisman Station
on Oct 19, 2010 at 4:07 pm

Prometheus is about as low class as you can get when it comes to apartment management!

I've had the unfortunate opportunity to live in a Prometheus "managed" apartment complex, and it was by far the worst living experience I have ever had. The noise levels were always high, maintenance was only done after something was broken for quiet a while. More than a week without hot water, 2nd floor flooded 3 times in 1 year, pool always closed, reduced security, poor parking, mice everywhere, cracking walls,....a total nightmare!

I doubt Rod Standard knows whats going on at the places they manage....nor do I think he wants to know.

Save yourself the pain, and avoid Prometheus at all costs.

p.s. Its a shame that Mountain View is getting rid of Mintons for this low class company to profit!

Like this comment
Posted by scooter
a resident of another community
on Oct 20, 2010 at 8:32 am

I be leave that this management company owns quite abit of apartment complexes through out the bay area and all through california and allso out of state! they hire people to do every thing that are not trained thr right away,because if they did you would know how they would treat you like a person and not just atm machine for rent money money money!!!!!!!!!!.as a owner of a duplex and living on the site your frist priority is the people who rent from you and if they have any problems you handle them and treat them with respect if some thing needs to be replaced and they have paid there rent be willing to help them out money and like wise."and by the way the law states that you can with hold your rent in a speperate saveings account intill the problems are fixed on any rental in california there is a book out there called the renters law book it has every thing you need or go to the law libary in palo alto and look up lodgers (aka) so i hope this will help some of you out there when in doubt with hold the rent...........Good luck

Like this comment
Posted by Not quite
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 20, 2010 at 2:38 pm

Marshall writes:
"p.s. Its a shame that Mountain View is getting rid of Mintons for this low class company to profit!"

This statement doesn't tell the full story. The City of Mountain View is not "getting rid of Minton's." The owner of the land on which Minton's sits has decided that, rather than operate a lumber yard on a prime piece of real estate in downtown near the train station, they would like to get a better return from their property. The owner has made an arrangement with Prometheus to lease the land for Prometheus to develop an apartment complex on it.

The comment above also neglects to mention that Minton's has been suffering from declining business for years. It's not as if a thriving business with a long-term future is somehow being forced to move to allow for Prometheus to profit. Minton's was likely to go out of business anyway; it was just a question of what would happen to the land afterward.

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Posted by Anky van Deursen
a resident of another community
on Oct 20, 2010 at 2:57 pm

I would like to recommend the Mountain View Mediation Program, provided by Project Sentinel and operating under the auspices of the City of Mountain View. We have experience with landlord/tenant disputes and provide neutral mediators who will help parties come together to talk about the issues in a calm, organized way. All services, including phone information services, are free of charge and confidential. For more information call (650) 960-0495 ext. 15

Like this comment
Posted by Member
a resident of another community
on Oct 22, 2010 at 8:20 am

I am not a lawyer, but it sounds to me like Prometheus's behavior is a violation of several CA state laws designed to protect tenants. In particular, see CA civil code sections 1941 and 1942. Residents may be entitled to (a) terminate their leases without penalty, and (b) receive compensation for any losses incurred.

If any residents of the complex are reading this message, I recommend getting the book "California Tenants' Rights" from Nolo. Economically, it probably makes no sense to hire a lawyer and sue Prometheus in civil court, but you may be able to receive compensation in small claims court.

Like this comment
Posted by Fubarito
a resident of Rex Manor
on Oct 25, 2010 at 2:49 pm

After renting for years we finally bit the bullet a few years ago at the height of the housing bubble. Being at the mercy of a landlord finally became intolerable as EVERY sort of regular maintenance became less and less regular while the rent, which we paid ahead of time for a great number of years, continued to raise. "You don't really need hot water. It's summer". Or "We don't turn on the heat at all. We wear warmer clothes in the winter." Good on ya, mate. Now fix the freakin' boiler.
Absentee landlords are the worst, but next-door scrooges can be a close second. I love the ones who offer to "pay for the paint (from Home Depot) if you'll do the work." What? Just what have you been smokin', Jack?

Like this comment
Posted by frustrated
a resident of Castro City
on Nov 2, 2010 at 10:23 am

Good work Guy!

I had recently moved out and found the company responsive to the extent of showing us the door. They said that we could be moved (at our expense) to regular Park Place and pay the same rent even tough Park Place South is pricier and marketed as up grade. Anyhow, looks like the city looks the other way:
Web Link

Like this comment
Posted by larson 138
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Nov 22, 2010 at 6:29 pm

Sadly, I must agree. Time tables are not communicated properly andlength, extent of repairs not clearly represented either. Workmen coming and goingin my unit without my knowledge,leaving black marks in the carpet, locking my animals in the house all day wihtout a call to me for permission, leaving large amounts of debris in the kitchen (nails, stucco, roofing materials> after replacing skylights - what a wonderful thing to come home find out each unit in the building was left with the same gift. This isn't a little bit of dust ...and the workmen told one neighbor to call maintenance if they needed any help cleaning it up??? After several phone calls to the management, Michelle, over the course of seven days - never received a call back. Then received one -- no apologies for starting earlier than expected nor for the mess caused by her supervized team; just to please call her with my concerns. If she had listened to any of my messages, she would clearly have known my concerns. Foolishly I called again --- yet to receive a call back - three days later - surprise. I strongly believe that this is a company focused on collecting dollars, not on providing a quality place to live nor "quite enjoyment" my rent was to ensure me. I am moving out!!!

Like this comment
Posted by James
a resident of North Whisman
on Dec 27, 2010 at 5:06 pm

I have lived at three different Prometheus communities and have not encountered any of the problems above. I've learned from many of my neighbors throughout my apartment-living years that there will always be some complaint. People are unhappy when there's construction and people are unhappy if the apartments are "neglected". I would rather the property be updated...afterall, construction at a single-family home I owned would be much more of a burden to me.

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