Apartment residents left with contractor water damage

by Chanel Davis

Would you want to pay for an apartment that was damaged due to the property management company’s negligence? How about paying for a unit in which you can’t live in because management is taking their time “handling” the situation? What would you do if they damaged your property and refused to replace it? How would you like to live in a building with mold and mildew or fear the ceiling falling in on your head?

These are all questions that residents housed in the 1280 Burton Avenue building of Laurelwood Park Apartments in High Point are faced with right now due to the property management company’s lack of due diligence, gross negligence and violation of laws that they allowed their subcontractors to break.

On Sept. 10, the 1280 building received moderate to extreme water damage resulting in residents having to be moved for the night, property destroyed and four units being damaged or having some type of impact on their living conditions. On that day at least three families had to be moved. The property is managed by Hammond Residential Group.

The fire report states that the construction workers were working on the roof of the building during a thunderstorm and failed to put the ridge vents back on the roof before it began raining, allowing water to enter the units through electrical outlets, smoke detectors, sprinklers, light fixtures and fans. The workers had previously re-roofed two other buildings and continued working on another building after the incident happened.

All this construction was done without permits from the City of High Point. City records indicate that the construction company, Stone Way Builders out of Georgia, didn’t even file for the permits until Sept. 21, more than 10 days AFTER the incident. It’s now Oct. 9 and they’ve yet to be approved. Since then it has been a downhill spiral of cutting corners and trying to cover up the damage to the building. A city complaint has been filed, complaints with the housing authority (since at least three out of the four units were damaged) have been filed and yet management continues to hope it will go away while collecting money from residents and the City of High Point Housing Authority. Resident’s complaints include:

“¢ Leaving a disabled woman in her 60’s with a ceiling in her laundry room looking like it will collapse and with mold growing on the ceiling in that room;

“¢ A single mother of two who hasn’t slept in her unit in almost 30 days forced to pony up more than $600 dollars;

“¢ A single mother of one who can’t seem to use half of her 1,100 sq. ft. unit due to mold and sleeping on the floor due to damaged bedding;

“¢ And a single mother of one who has water damage that has bubbled underneath the paint and could leak, and smell, at any given moment causing more water damage.

The subcontractors who created the mess were also responsible for fixing i t, which has led to water damage being poorly painted over, insulation that was wet is still in the ceiling (although after almost a month it probably is dry) allowing mold to grow on the ceiling and other places in the unit, there are water bubbles in other units and one contractor hooked up a water-logged smoke detector to live wires.

What can the residents do to continue to fight for their right and safety?

Even if they moved away today, management would probably wipe down the walls of the units and paint over them, leasing them to another unsuspecting family. !