CHARLOTTE, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) - A class action lawsuit has been filed against Lake Arbor Apartments that could be worth millions of dollars over reports of "slumlord" conditions.
The lawsuit, filed on Thursday, is "an action to address the unlawful conduct, unfair and deceptive trade practices and unfair debt collection practices arising out of Defendants' collection of rent and related fees, and attempts to collect such rent and fees," according to the complaint.
The North Carolina Justice Center, a non-profit organization, is representing tenants, both past and present, who have lived in Lake Arbor over the past four years. The lawsuit reads, The Freeman Law Group, Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy and Robinson Bradshaw are also representing the tenants.
A series of FOX 46 Charlotte investigations led City of Charlotte Code Enforcement to inspect every unit on the property in 2018. There are nearly 300 units and code violations were found in every unit.
There are still units at Lake Arbor that are out of compliance. Lake Arbor has brought in Wellington Advisors as a management group and said it plans to fix all units of violations.
The lawsuit says it's looking for plaintiffs to be awarded compensatory damages in an amount to be determined at trial, rent abatement for each month during which tenants paid rent while their respective unit was not in "fit and habitable condition," and civil penalties ranging from $500 to $4,000 for each violation.
Hundreds, if not thousands of violations were found at Lake Arbor.
Tenants Serita Russell and Doretha Johnson are listed on the lawsuit. Russell did not reply with comment to FOX 46.
Lake Arbor's attorney had no heard of the lawsuit until FOX 46 reached out to him on Friday.
"I will say it is disappointing that whoever filed did so at this point," attorney Erik Rosenwood said. "We have been working closely with CMPD and with the City and felt like with the new management things were really improving. We have had some very positive feedback from some of the residents recently. Obviously a class action would be a big setback and distraction that would pull time and resources away from more constructive efforts."
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