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Apartment Tenants Start Change.Org Petition over Package Delivery. Really.

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As far as Change.org causes go, the petition to "Discontinue Plan to Cease Package Acceptance at All Camden Properties" sounds like it's about as minor a problem as they come. It's not about freeing an imprisoned journalist, or asking for a federal investigation into Sandra Bland's death or ending revenge porn. These people want their Amazon orders delivered with all the dispatch they deserve.

But please bear with us as we explain: Camden Properties' plan to stop accepting and holding packages delivered to its tenants is not really some trivial first-world problem (a phrase that's a bit unfair anyway, seeing as fatal car accidents, getting laid off, substance abuse, cancer and divorce are also, technically, "first world problems"). It's actually a very Dallas-fancy-apartment problem. Renting an apartment at Camden Farmer's Market, one of eight properties the company maintains in or near Dallas, will cost you at least $1,000 a month, and that's not including a mandatory $28 monthly fee for a service called "valet trash." (Trash should never have to park itself.)  And what does all that buy you? An apartment complex that's too busy to accept your  packages anymore.

"We're so happy you call Camden Farmers Market home!" says a letter the property recently sent residents, ominously warning them of an important change: Camden is no longer letting delivery companies drop packages off at the leasing office. "Since online ordering has and will continue to increase in popularity, the time required to manage packages has become overwhelming," the letter explains. "It has become necessary to shift this responsibility back to the delivery companies." And also, by default, to residents, who now must deal with delivery companies' bullshit directly. 

This is the same Camden Property Trust that three years ago faced a lawsuit from a resident alleging she was "seriously injured" at one of their apartments — while getting her mail. The resident had lived at Camden Valley Creek in Irving, her suit says. Water was leaking from a broken pipe out of a downstairs unit and had frozen on the ground near her mailbox, causing her to fall, her suit says. The two parties settled in 2013. And one year prior to her suit, a resident at the Camden Glen Lakes Apartments in Dallas filed his owns suit against Camden, alleging that he "stepped into a hole that was located near the Camden Apartments parking spaces thus causing a violent and uncontrollable fall." 

Camden Property Trust is pretty litigious itself. A search of the company's civil court records shows that Camden has sued the Dallas Central Appraisal District 28 times since 1997. The most recent suit, filed last year, contests a $37,942,290 evaluation the district gave a Camden property in Richardson. That amount of money, Camden argued, "is excessive and unequal and will cause injury to the Plaintiff." In January 2015, the company and county came to an agreement — the value of the property would be lowered to the much more modest sum of $36,081,000. A spokesman at the company's corporate office in Houston hasn't yet returned our voicemail. 

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