Hopewell shuts down apartment complex - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Hopewell shuts down apartment complex

HOPEWELL, VA (WWBT) - Dozens of people at a Hopewell apartment complex are furious after they received notices they have to move out.

Hopewell Code Enforcement says living conditions are unsafe at the Prince George Terrace apartments, so it's telling people they need to move by Wednesday.

Tiffany Howard says her health has gotten worse and blames the basement apartments which have sitting water, sewage, and some say even mold inside. She lives right above a condemned unit and says the stench inside has crept up through her apartment creating health problems for her.

"The smell is horrible as soon as you walk through the door," said Howard. "I got asthma and bronchitis since I moved here, so it's bad."

Other neighbors like Leona Bland have the same problem. Her apartment has signs of water damage. She even says the water tastes so bad, she has to drink bottled water. Code enforcement says these conditions are not livable, but many people here say they have nowhere to go.

" I felt like I was going to die -- like I was homeless," said Bland. "I'm homeless. I don't have anywhere to go."

Neighbors say they complained to the property manager, but the only advice they've received is to bleach down the walls. Bland says for the past several years the property conditions have gotten worse.

"It's been a bad six or eight years, because people don't want to fix anything," said Bland. 'Now we are getting put out. The owners are hiding. We don't know want to do."

This isn't the first time police say property owner Steven Whitlow has violated city code. He has a record dating back to 2007. Documents from the Colonial Heights Police Department show he was cited for serious maintenance problems at Colonial Court Apartments - the same place where a fire started from a water heater Monday morning. Some violations include not following fire code, improper wiring, and not keeping vacant property secure - unlocked doors and broken windows. In many cases, raw sewage was exposed through bad piping. We saw many of the same scenarios at Prince George Terrace Apartments.

"We need somebody to come to our aid and give us a place to live and vouchers," Bland added.

City code enforcement posted Wednesday as the move out date, but if people need more time they say they'll be lenient. They just want to get residents out of these conditions as soon as possible. We tried contacting the property manager late Monday morning, but have not heard back.

Copyright 2012 WWBT NBC12.  All rights reserved.

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