Saturday, September 1, 2012

City To Tenants: 'Everybody Out!' Sewage Leak/Backup Likely Cause For 36-Unit Apartment Building Shutdown; Renter Return Possible Upon Landlord Fix

In Hopewell, Virginia, The Progress-Index reports:

  • The City of Hopewell has shut down a local apartment complex, deeming it unfit for habitation. Residents of the Broadway East Apartments say that police knocked at their doors Tuesday morning, telling them to pack up and leave by midnight. The city has now extended the deadline until Friday.

    Assistant City Manager March Altman said that living conditions at the property on 600 E. Broadway are unsafe, unsanitary and pose a threat to the health, safety and welfare of the residents. "The city has taken the step of declaring the property unfit for habitation, and requested the tenants vacate the premises," Altman said.

    Human waste and sewage have created unlivable conditions at the apartment complex. "One of the residents called us to complain about the smell of sewer," Altman said. "We went out there last week and after we saw what was going on, we posted a note, ordering people to move," he said.

    Altman said that the it is likely that a sewage leak or backup has caused raw sewage to spread into the hallway and several apartments on the bottom of the 36-unit premises. He also said that black mold was found inside at least one unit.

    Anitra Garland, who has lived at the apartment complex for two years, said that the units on the bottom floor had been closed for quite some and that the sewage problem had never been fixed. "I could smell it in my bedroom, it was that strong," she said. "When I had people over, they would notice the smell as well and they would say that it stinks."
  • Altman said that the city regrets the discomfort that the evacuation causes for residents, but that it was necessary. "The city is acting in the best interests of the tenants of the apartment complex," he said. "While we are sympathetic to the residents' difficult situation, we cannot allow our citizens to live in the conditions that exist on the property."
  • Altman said that residents would be allowed to move back in once the owner has fixed the sewage leak and the affected units are cleaned up.

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