According to a deep dive into Jared Kushner’s introduction into the family real estate business, former tenants who lived in the first apartments the teen Kushner purchased — with family money — recall living without heat and problems with raw sewage that no one saw fit to repair.
The Boston Globe spoke with tenants who lived in apartment complexes in the city of Somerville, northwest of Boston, who remember when Kushner, then an undergraduate at Harvard began purchasing properties and converting them into condos.
According to several roommates who claim Kushner wanted who renovate their apartment for sale at a later date — while they were living in it — Kushner tried to lowball them in direct violation of their lease, offering them $100 for the inconvenience.
“My impression was that he was more interested in practicing playing hardball than being effective as a landlord,” Dan Neafsey recalled, with roommate Steve Vollmer adding, “The guy is, like, an 18-year-old Harvard trust kid. It seemed like he was very young and amateurish.”
Other tenants remember calls that went unanswered when their heat went out in the cold Massachusetts winters, with one tenant recalling, “We went a whole winter without any heat. We were going back and forth complaining all winter. We were cold.”
Claims of the smell of raw sewage, mold, smell of dead animals, infestation of insects also went unheeded, with a renters group writing, “We had the misfortune of being the first tenants to fight a landlord as vindictive and crooked as Kushner Companies.”
Added another tenant, Jennifer Douglas, who saw her rent double as problems continually arose and went unresolved, “My impression of him as landlord was he didn’t know what he was doing,”
“He wasn’t out to be a slumlord or harm somebody deliberately. But he didn’t really care about tenants either. It was just, ‘This is my building now. I want to do condo conversions.’”
“I was unable to negotiate with that guy,’’ she added. “He was just unbending.”