Timeline: An investigation into The Cloisters “cluster”

A street-side view of the Cloisters Miami apartments with construction outside taken on Sept. 26, 2023. Photo credit: Jenny Jacoby

Updated Oct. 12, 2023.

A general record of the difficulties residents have faced moving into the Cloisters Miami student housing apartment and townhome complex.

Aug. 13

On Aug. 13 the would-be residents of The Cloisters Miami were notified that their scheduled move-in was pushed back two weeks due to unforeseen delays. They were moved into local hotels, THesis Miami and the Biltmore, until their units were ready — or so they thought.

Aug. 17

Four days later, an email reminder was sent listing the provisions the Cloisters would offer for its residents during their hotel stays. Hotel costs and parking were fully covered by the property, stipends for laundry and food costs were provided as well as a free shuttle to bus students to campus.

Aug. 27

The Cloisters’ apartment residents were told their units were further delayed another two weeks. On this day, the townhome residents, the other living facility option, were alerted that their scheduled move-in day was Sept. 2.

Sept. 19

Miami-Dade County’s Building Official issued the Cloisters’ Temporary Certificate of Occupancy (TCO) on Friday, Sept. 19, based on the inspection approval and recommendations provided by Universal Engineering Sciences, the private provider for inspections hired by Landmark Properties, that recommended the TCO be issued and to allow occupancy.

Sept. 22

On Friday, the apartment residents moved out of hotels and into their units at 5830 SW 57th Ave. They were given less than one day’s notice to relocate all of their property to their new units.

Sept. 22-Sept. 26

Over the next few days, residents experienced inconvenient disruptions including dirty units, sewage issues, foul-tasting water, no internet connection, incomplete electrical wiring and broken air conditioning.

Sept. 26

On Tuesday morning, and based on the complaints received, Miami-Dade County building inspectors of all trades were on site to meet with the private provider and contractor to inspect the complaints and current on-site conditions.

The Miami-Dade Water and Sewer Department also sent inspectors to collect water samples of the water provided by the city to the Cloisters residence. The results of these tests showed the water was clean of contaminants and safe to drink.

TMH was notified that an open-hydrant water flush was also conducted on this day.

Sept. 27

Following the County’s inspections, the Cloisters called the residents of four units, giving them less than a day’s notice to vacate the units. After three hours of incoherent communication, the residents were notified they would be moving back into hotel rooms until Oct. 4.

Some of those impacted negotiated until the Cloisters’ agreed to cover AirBNB accommodations after struggling in hotels with no access to kitchens and other utilities the previous month. The AirBNBs are being paid for by the residents with the understanding that the Cloisters will later reimburse them for those costs.

Sept. 29

Statement from Miami-Dade County Regulatory & Economic Resources

Oct. 3

The residents of the four previously vacated units at the Cloisters were notified at 6 p.m. to extend their Airbnb or hotel accommodations to Oct. 10 because of the ongoing repairs to the first-floor vacated units.

Oct. 4

In the evening, a gas leak in a unit in building one of the Cloisters drew law enforcement to the property and required gas to be shut off until further notice.

Out of caution, the Cloisters shut off the gas in Building one, alerting residents the following day that it will remain off for two to three business days. Residents have expressed frustration over having been unable to use their gas stove and oven, and some are hesitant to use other appliances.

On the same day, an anonymous member in the Facebook group posted a photo of what looked like mold on their unit’s ceiling. The photo raised concern, causing parents to continue to question the habitability of the complex.

Section 6a of the lease, the “mold disclosure,” signed by residents states that the Cloisters will not be held liable for mold damages.

Oct. 11

After seven days without gas, residents received an email notifying them of a hopeful gas restoration date of Friday, Oct. 13.

What now?

The County is currently conducting a full audit of the private provider’s services to ensure that all required inspections for the project were performed and the personnel sent to inspect have the proper credentials, are employees of the private provider company and maintain the proper level of professional liability insurance, as required by law.

Residents and their parents continue to voice concern and seek legal action, demanding either a reduction in the cost of rent or to be released from their leases. Several families sent letters to the Cloisters demanding changes be made to their units. As per Florida law, landlords are required to provide residents with liveable conditions that are up to code. Once officially notified that their property is not meeting these standards, landlords have seven days to resolve the issue or residents may qualify to break their lease.

TMH will continue to monitor this situation.

Jenny Jacoby contributed to the reporting of this article.