City investigates Ashley Creek Apartments in Greensboro

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GREENSBORO, N.C.--- The horrible living conditions at Ashley Creek Apartments in Greensboro have caught the attention of the Greensboro City Council.

Greensboro Housing Coalition Grant Manager Michelle Kennedy said complaints of bug infestation, cracked walls, faulty floors and balconies are just some of the examples of deplorable conditions that have increased in the last few months from renters.

There are about 200 units in the complex, but many of them are vacant and unlocked.

"This is a good example of slum housing at its finest," Kennedy said. "The question becomes how do we move people out of here and into housing that's more stable and more safe for them instead of  throwing them from the frying pan to the fire."

Resident Lavorice Blyther is moving out after three years of living a the complex.

"My wife works third shift and she has to worry about when she comes if somebody is going to grab her and touch her out in the hallway, because they [management] chose not to lock the door of vacant units," Blyther said.

Council Member Nancy Hoffman described the conditions as "disturbing" when she saw pictures at the post-RUCO committee meeting Tuesday.

Hoffman said the committee is in the process of tightening the current city ordinance to shorten the time limit for when landlords have to have reported repairs and issues fixed.

"It doesn't mean that it gets fixed and cured overnight but we are really shining a light on it," Hoffman said.

Hoffman said "fear is factor" for many of the tenants at the complex and other poor apartment conditions, who may not complain for fear of eviction.

Hoffman said regardless of ordinance changes, renters have the right the call the city, complain and have a inspectors look at the property.

Ashley Creeks Apartment Property Manager Terry Smith said "no comment" when asked about the living conditions.

According to county tax records, the owners of the apartments are Tommie and Rodney Smith with Smith Rentals, Inc., in Burlington. Representatives at the office declined to comment over the phone.

Hoffman said city inspectors are scheduled to look at the Ashley Creek property on May 20.