GREENSBORO, N.C. -- The City of Greensboro plans to take over repairs at an apartment complex on Summit Avenue after the owners failed to meet the Feb. 6 repair deadline.
Five children died in a fire at one of the units back in May 2018. Investigators determined the fire was caused by unattended cooking, but the event sparked a conversation about the conditions at the complex.
In August, more than 40 units were condemned because of code violations.
Inspectors went back out to the complex on Feb. 14. Mark Wayman, the code compliance interim division manager, said six units were still not up to standard.
At a Minimum Housing Standards Commission meeting Thursday, Wayman announced the city would begin a process to accept bids for the repair work on the complex. Once complete, the owners, Arco Realty, would have to pay the bill.
“Once the city has expended funds to make repairs on the property a lien will be placed on the property,” Wayman said.
“I think they have a new message that has been sent them,” Mayor Nancy Vaughan said. “If they are not going to fix the building the way it should be in a quick time then we're going take that over.”
Vaughan previously vowed to keep problem landlords accountable.
“I think they are used to getting extension after extension and playing the system,” Vaughan said.
Irene Agapion, the property manager, said on Thursday that her crews should have everything up to code before the city even picks a company to make the repairs.
Even if Arco Realty doesn’t have to pay the city to do the work, the company will still need to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines for wrongdoing at their properties around the city.
“They owe $650,000 and I think we need to go after them full force to collect that money,” Vaughan said.
Vaughan says none of those fines have been paid. She said before 2015, fines would go to the schools system so there wasn’t as much effort to collect them because they were going to a different entity. She says now that’s going to change.
Agapion said she knew nothing about the $650,000 owed to the city.