“The Harvard AC unit negotiation”
I am currently a resident in one of the university’s on campus apartments, Soldiers Field Park, in which my wife and I lease on an annual term. When we moved into the unit last July, the weather in Boston was extremely hot and air conditioning was essential. The unit we occupy is a duplex with bedrooms on the upper level and a kitchen and living area on the bottom level. There was a custom model air conditioning unit already installed on the bottom floor but the upper level had no unit. Moving from a New York apartment that we own and currently lease out, we decided to keep our AC unit and bring it with us to Boston. Upon arriving at school we were presented with a stack of pamphlets introducing us to the apartment and information about the building guidelines. One of the guidelines clearly stated that under no circumstance should a resident install or remove any AC unit, and included with this information was a listing for Harvard Real Estate Services recommended HVAC firm, Lincoln AC. Lincoln was familiar with the many buildings under HRES management and had been their go to firm for installing and removing AC units. Next, we called them and arranged an installation. When Lincoln arrived we were promptly told that they do not install “owned” AC’s and rent out custom units that fit the unique windows in the upper levels of Soldiers Field Park. As the heat bore down on us we caved in and paid to “rent” Lincoln’s AC unit and had them install it. The contract states that in accordance with HRES guidelines they must remove all external units by October 31 of each year. A year goes by, and it is now time to re-rent the AC Unit for the next summer/fall period, we do so, paying the same fee for rental, installation, and removal as we did the previous summer. Fast forward to October of 2010, we received a call indicating that Lincoln will no longer be operating as a company and that we can keep the unit.