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Renting at Camden Interlocken

(10/2010) I've never lived in a place as terrifying as Camden Interlocken before. It's beautiful. It's corporate. It's run by lawyers. What with rules, regulations, penalties, and pitfalls, there's more to keep track of here than there was when I lived in my own home. On this, and subsequent pages, I've tried to document the aspects of my Camden Odyssey/Residency that would seem appropriate for the public and/or family viewing. Some of the negatives are sufficiently bad that I haven't included them here. However, you're welcome to use the search-bar at the upper left to have a go at reading some of the (mostly negative) reviews of Camden Interlocken on the net. Of course, there are positives, and those are not as well represented, but that is not to say the negatives are necessarily inaccurate.

Move-In: Document, Document, Document

When you move in, you are probably seeing your apartment for the very first time, and will probably be disappointed based on what you were shown. However, you are presented with "tabula rasa" (a blank slate, with perhaps some marks on the wall, cigarette burns on the carpet, etc.). Reviews of Camden Interlocken make clear that even the most microscopic flaw in the apartment that is not documented at move-in is something that you will be billed for at move-out. So, be sure to document as much as you can. Sadly, you will be finding out more as your stay continues, and you will probably cringe as I do, in fear of the bills you will face later. I have not included my documentation at this time, but will select some of the less horrifying issues I documented and include them later, so check back from time to time!

Power: Xcel Energy

The $9 "connection" fee you paid to Camden? Silly rabbit, that's not for YOUR connection, it's for THEIRS, when the previous tenant moved out. You will also be billed a $9 connection fee from Xcel on your first bill. When questioned about this, the Xcel representative used the "L" word (not "Love") to describe Camden's explanation of this charge.

"Free" Internet Access

Free Internet Access is available within a short range of what I call the "rabbit hutch" or "Visitor's Center". It can also be accessed around the pool/jacuzzi (the sauna has been broken since I moved in), and in the "Business Center". Otherwise, you probably won't be able to access it. There are very few open WiFi nodes in the complex, and these are rarely on all day.

Comcast ("Xfinity") Cable Access

You are paying $43/month for Comcast cable wether you use it or not. Take a look at your rent itemization. By the time you add a cable box or anything else, you are paying a premium for having cable at Camden; that is: more in total than regular cable customers pay. What a scam!

You can connect your television or video gear directly to the tap(s) in your apartment, and get sort of a "community antenna" feed mixed with some channels from Comcast, but not including some of the key ones like (in my case) CNN. Although basic cable service is included with your rent, you will need to contact Comcast in order to get a "DTA" or Digital Transport Adapter in order to get the full "basic service". One note, the tap on your apartment wall provides HD channels that are also available free by air (see "contacting Comcast" below. The DTA provides NO High Definition content. The adaptor works by re-modulating cable channels to channel 3: there are no video or HDMI outputs. A remote control is provided that might also be able to control volume and power on your TV set. You may want to hook up a switch so you can access both the output of the DTA box and the cable feed directly (so you can get the off-air HD channels), albeit a pain in the rear. Some experimentation revealed that one of the main functions is to report your viewing habits back to Comcast. Every time you change channels with the box, it initiatiates a handshake connection with Comcast; Big Brother is watching your every move.

Terry Lynch at Comcast

Do NOT call Comcast directly. They will not know what you're talking about when you can't give them a Customer ID number. They won't be able to give you any of the "special rates" (some not so special) that are offered to Camden Interlocken residents. This is possibly in recognition that you're already paying $43/mo. The person you speak to will, likely, hang up on you thinking you are a crack-pot.

There are Camden-related problems with Comcast as well. I had problems with my cable Internet connection after about a month. A crew was dispatched, and found incompatible (due to age) splitters had been used throughout the apartment. Some of the coaxial cable had to be replaced also. This resulted in a $44 service charge added onto my bill, as well as damage to the floor and carpets that I'll likely be assessed for at move-out.

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