CHARLOTTE, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) - Lake Arbor Apartments is kicking its residents out of their homes, according to a letter they sent to tenants on July 30.
The complex says their goal is to have all of the 177 occupied units cleared out by December 31. They say 78 of these households have leases that are expired or no longer valid. No leases will be renewed, and those residents must leave within 30 days.
The action comes after some residents found themselves locked out of their apartments, a just over two weeks ago. The owners of the apartments say they are having the residents leave, so they can "rehabilitate the entire complex."
Beginning in September 2018, Code Enforcement inspected each unit at the complex and found violations in every unit. FOX 46 was at an October City Council meeting where leaders spent much of the time reviewing the findings and discussing the disgusting conditions residents were reporting.
Neighbors showed us mold, rats and roaches infesting their homes. They reported have nonfunctioning utilities around the house, and at one point couldn't even receive mail because their boxes were not in acceptable condition, according to the USPS.
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The property owners say they've been working to bring each unit up to code, and Code Enforcement teams have remained to scene to monitor the progress they've made, but on July 22, the decision to vacate the housing units was made in order to " minimize displacement impacts for current residents."
Lake Arbor says each tenant will receive a free household assessment from partner agencies. That provider will evaluate the tenant’s household budget and help determine their eligibility for relocation and financial assistance.
The complex is also offering incentives for neighbors who leave their units without damage and return their keys voluntarily. Those residents will receive more flexibility in their move-out schedule, have any past-due balances removed from their accounts and will be eligible to have their security deposits refunded after they leave.
Those tenants who chose not to participate in the assessment process, or who try to stay at their apartment past the notice period could be subject to legal action.
"The city remains committed to protecting the quality of life of all residents. This effort between the city and Lake Arbor property owners is intended to ensure that tenants are not subject to undue hardship due to abrupt displacement, and are aware of their rights and resources as they seek to secure new housing," a notice to city staff and elected officials read.
FOX 46 has been reporting on this troubled complex for more than a year. Thanks to our investigation, a NC lawmaker is looking to address mold problems in housing with new legislation, getting results for tenants suffering under gross conditions.
The property owners have been notoriously difficult to reach, not only for tenants trying to let them know about issues, but also with FOX 46. They failed to address several of the code enforcement violations by a deadline set by the city, and even appealed some of those violations. They did not win that appeal, and are still required to make the necessary changes within the units.
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FOX 46 and is working to obtain more information on this move from the city, apartment complex and residents.
Below is a copy of the letter distributed to Lake Arbor tenants on Tuesday. [MOBILE USERS CLICK HERE]
Editor's Note: This story was changed to reflect the fact that the City of Charlotte's statement was directed toward city staff and elected officials, not Lake Arbor tenants.