Lafayette Apartment Complex Management Responds After Tenants Complain About Bugs, Mold, No A/C For Years
A Lafayette apartment complex is responding after a local report shined a light on the horrendous living conditions that some tenants say they are fed up with.
Pinhook South Apartments was at the center of a story from Megan Wyatt at The Advocate earlier this week and readers were appalled when they learned what residents were dealing with.
One frustrated resident who spoke with The Advocate said he lived in a 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom unit with his mother, his wife, and his daughter. Hot air was blowing into his apartment as the central A/C unit was running, but not blowing cool. In addition to his air-conditioning being out, there were bigger issues like bugs and mold that made him concerned for the safety of his family.
His central air-conditioning unit was running, but it was blowing warm air into his apartment. And that wasn't even the greatest of his concerns. The ceiling of one of his bathrooms had fallen into the tub below two weeks earlier, revealing black mold that had formed from a water leak in the apartment above his. His kitchen sink was stopped up, and bugs crawled on the walls.
Even in this condition, rent for his apartment was $810 per month. He said he eventually made the decision to stop making rent payments until management addressed the issues.
Now, his family is moving to another apartment in River Ranch.
Another tenant who was moving out while Wyatt was at the apartment complex said he was "getting out" for the same reasons. In addition to bugs and issues with cooling and heating, he cited power outages that would randomly occur over the past two years.
A female resident said that she has also had similar issues over the past two years including no air conditioning for that entire duration. She told KLFY that problems either "got swept under the rug" or ignored completely. This has led her to make use of multiple box fans to circulate the air and sometimes sit in her car for air conditioning.
So, how does something this go unresolved for so long?
Well, one major contributing factor could be that Pinhook South Apartments has reportedly swapped ownership between at least four different companies in just the last two years.
Residents complain that they can't get in touch with anyone for help or to request service when it comes to the numerous issues that plague their day-to-day living conditions.
A sign on the management office door read "closed until further notice." But Wyatt knocked, and someone answered.
The person who opened the door identified herself as the regional manager but told The Advocate that the terrible conditions stem from issues that were neglected and never addressed by previous owners.
They had multiple issues with previous owners. We take ownership of the issues that we took over and we are in the process of getting everything fixed, but we just have our hands tied in this industry. There is a lack of staff and obviously, supply issues.
The Advocate report showed photos of multiple apartments (nearly a third of the 240 units) that were boarded up with wires exposed from electrical boxes that lacked covers. Alton Trahan with the Lafayette Fire Department confirmed that this was indeed a hazard.
While inside the manager's office (which was also blowing hot air) Wyatt noted seeing multiple air conditioning units and fire extinguishers in boxes throughout the room. The Lafayette-based manager hoped to have at least 30 of them installed this week to get temporary relief to tenants while they looked into getting the central units repaired but admitted she wasn't even sure how many Pinhook South residents were without A/C at the moment.
The heat has been an issue as temperatures have been warmer than normal and will only rise as we continue into the summer months. Oh, and I haven't even mentioned hurricane season yet.
While many people suggested that the tenants should just leave (regardless of their lease), this situation is far more complicated than that.
"Getting out" isn't as easy as picking up and moving to a better apartment across town. As absurd as paying $810 per month to live in such debilitating conditions may seem, it's still much cheaper than other properties that charge close to double that amount on average—sometimes for less space.
This is actually a topic that was covered in a recent viral video from Last Week with John Oliver.
Regardless of the amount that anyone pays for their cost of living, at the bare minimum, amenities like air conditioning, heating, and steady electric and water supply should be provided. As a matter of fact, I shouldn't even be using the word "amenities" to describe these things.
These are literally basic essential utilities that are necessary when it comes to the health of any given tenant.