HUNDREDS of residents have had just weeks to leave their homes or face legal action after homeowners moved to renovate their homes.
Tenants at the Forest at Columbia Apartments in DeKalb County, Georgia were shocked by Meridian Management’s sudden termination of their lease.
The notice informed the 200 tenants in August 2022 that they only had 30 days to find a new apartment, but that period was extended to 60 days.
The property management said tenants would go to court if they didn’t move out by the specified date.
Resident Terrie Redding said WSBTV: “It is wrong. It needs to be improved, from bottom to top, inside and out, but I don’t feel like they should force us to leave.”
Several tenants told the outlet that their homes were infested with rats and insects, while other areas were covered in mold and had leaks.
The property manager told the news agency that the necessary work could not be carried out on the site because the residents were still living there.
Sherri Keys, who also lives in the apartment complex, criticized the lack of time given to them to leave.
“How can you get us out in two months?” she asked.
“Not everyone will be able to find anything out here in two months.
“You can’t just kick us out [of] We have children in our houses. We have no places to go, we have no money.”
Fellow neighbor Marquita Jackson added, “All they’re saying is you all have to get out on August 31st.”
Instead, some residents suggested that the company first renovate the vacant building and move in before starting work on their apartments.
Management also claimed that it wanted to reduce the crime problem in the area, which WSBTV news reporters observed firsthand when their cameras captured the sound of gunfire.
Just days before the tenants were set to leave, DeKalb County Commissioner Larry Johnson, who represents their district, said: “I need to get the tenants some help,” he told residents.
He added: “My goal is to get you help so you don’t get out.”
On August 15, the county held a meeting to evaluate municipal services and housing placements for tenants.
According to one To update As WSBTV reported last month, some tenants were allowed to remain in their homes during renovations.
Meanwhile, tenants claim they are still being forced to live in rodent-infested homes while renovated units sit empty.
Tenant Aretta Hutchinson told the news outlet: “I just want to be treated fairly.”
Meanwhile, a fellow resident said: “In my place I have rats, bite rats.”
Many residents remained in their units in hopes of moving to the newly renovated units.
Hutchinson said: “I wanted to free my children from these harsh conditions.”
The mother showed the news agency several bite marks on her arms and legs from bed bugs and fleas.
“Me and my children have numerous spots on our skin,” she said.
Tenant Isaiah Keys said he expects to move to a new unit once the work is completed.
According to the property management, there is a process by which they transfer tenants from old apartments to new apartments.
The US Sun has reached out to Meridian Management and Florida-based property owners 4373 Glenwood LLC for comment.