Dozens of Summit Avenue apartment units condemned after tenants said they are treated like animals

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Summit Avenue Apartments had a 30-day extension to get up to code. When time was up, code enforcement found only one apartment in compliance.

Another 41 units were not repaired and still non-compliant with city minimum housing code, according to a news release. An additional three units had violations on the building exterior.

Residents recently spoke out against what they called terrible living conditions at Summit Avenue Apartments on Cone Avenue.

One 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.

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.

Since the last inspection in May, 144 violations were resolved.

Nevertheless, 696 violations still remained.

ARCO Realty, which runs the property, asked for a 30-day extension on Aug. 13, but the city turned them down.

On Aug. 15, the city condemned the non-compliant units.

Code enforcement will also notify residents in non-compliant units that they will need to vacate their apartments within 30 days. In 30 days, officials will return to check if all condemned units have been vacated.

The city plans to assess a $200 civil penalty for every non-compliant unit and may add additional $10 penalties for each unit every day until all repairs are made.

Property manager Irene Agapion-Martinez previously told FOX8 the management addresses problems 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.

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.

Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughan said previously 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.