When I moved into the Qualman I was happy to find really cheap rent, even though the building was kind of shabby. A few years later the building is even shabbier but the rent is no longer cheap. I'll be moving out at the end of my lease.
To be fair to the current owner, the Qualman has clearly suffered many years of neglect and it would take some serious investment in repairs and improvements to turn the building around. However, in the time I've been here very little progress has been made.
We hear a lot of tales about what repairs are in the works but not much happens. I've attached a list of the building's problems at the bottom of this review - take a good look before you consider moving in.
Also consider the rent. Yes, it's still a little below your average capital hill rent. But the quality of the building is way under average. Keep in mind too that this isn't the safest or quietest area of capital hill. Also, the smaller, cheaper one bedrooms are about 500 square feet - closer in size to a studio than your average one bedroom. All in all, you are not getting a bargain.
Another knock against the Qualman is Gibraltar management. The resident manager is nice but powerless. The rest of Gibraltar management isn't so nice. They don't respond promptly to requests. They've entered my apartment without giving proper notice (I'm not even sure why they entered - nothing was repaired). And they did not give me proper notice for the last rent raise. I would not recommend living in a building managed by Gibraltar.
Qualman Problem LIst
*The wiring is so bad that blackouts and lights dimming are common.
*The plumbing gets clogged up regularly - both in individual units and in the laundry room.
*Water pressure is low and hot water is inconsistent.
*The floors are squeaky and soft in places.
*The hardwoods desperately need refinishing - in my apartment they are stained in places, splintering in other places and are very difficult to keep clean.
*The old sash-style windows are falling apart – the panes are loose in their frames. You have to be very careful when opening or closing them and they're scary during a windstorm.
*The heating is incredibly inconsistent - Some apartments are chilly all winter. Mine will hit about 85 degrees if I don't open my windows and cover the radiators.
*The heating also fails completely on a pretty regular basis leaving everyone without heat for several hours at a time.
*The building has an exhaust system with fans built into the kitchens and baths but it's luck of the draw whether the ones in your unit will work or not and management won't repair them.
*Many of the appliances are older and don't function well. My refrigerator is a relic from the 70s that sounds like an airplane taking off when it runs. It isn't even frost free.
*The washers and dryers break down regularly and are often out of service for more than a week. There are only 3 of each to begin with so it's a big problem when one is out.