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Tenants say they are treated like animals in Summit Avenue apartments in Greensboro

GREENSBORO, N.C. — The City of Greensboro held a special meeting Saturday to discuss the conditions at the Summit Apartments on Cone Avenue, where residents said they live in terrible conditions.

It’s the same apartment complex where five children died in a fire back in May. Just a few weeks later, neighbors signed a petition, asking code enforcement to come and look at their homes, saying the living conditions were terrible. Since then, code enforcement and city leaders have gone out to the apartments to inspect them.

Now residents are concerned after their rent was raised again.

Mayor Nancy Vaughn held the meeting Saturday to talk to people who live at the property and how the city can help.

Vaughn and other council members attended, along with a number of departments in the city to discuss the property, which is run by Arco Realty.

Mayor Vaughn said part of the problem is neighbors did not know where to turn to address their problems.

"Well they passed the minimum standard years ago. But the problems have been reported by the residents to the landlord and not directly to us so we have not been able to go in and reinspect," the mayor said.

Property manager Irene Agapion-Martinez told FOX8 the management addresses problem as soon as they learn about them.

"We're not cutting any costs, we're not cutting any corners. We're making sure that all of these things that are quote unquote violations are being corrected, even if they are caused by tenant damage, even if we are being treated to 2018 code even though the building was built fifty years ago," she said on a phone interview with FOX8.

She said licensed crews are on site almost everyday, handling complaints and also making sure the property is in line with city code.

Franca Jalloh with the International Advisory Committee spoke about what they have done since the Summit Avenue Fire. She said they work to advocate for the international community and help bridge the gap with law enforcement.

Some residents shared their concerns, including a man who is a refugee and said he feels like he has nowhere to turn.

Another man said they are treated like animals by the apartment complex and after months of complaining, nothing is being solved and the rent is being raised.

Latasha Walker with North Carolina African Services Coalition said she helped resettle a number of these people. She said they inspect the apartments before they place them.

Walker said they go by the federal check list before they place people and they trust the city of Greensboro to do the code inspections.

Mayor Vaughn said it's time for the city to step in and end the cycle.

"We need to hold problem landlords accountable. And we need to stop saying we need to work with you, we need to work with you, because they're not working with us. And more importantly they're not working with their residents," Mayor Vaughn said.