WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Raw sewage backing up, mold and bed bugs are just some of the many issues residents of Rolling Hills Apartment Complex say they continue to deal with.
“No air condition, we have sewage and mold underneath our apartment floor,” said Ricco Suave, who says his wife and 1-year-old daughter have been dealing with for weeks despite paying rent on time. “There is no reason my daughter should be waking up in the middle of the night crying because she’s so hot,” he said. “As older adults we can deal with it, but I have a baby in there.”
Thursday, city leaders said they do not believe the apartment complex owners, The Aspen Group out of New Jersey, are doing enough or working fast enough to fix the problems.
“If the owners don’t do what they are suppose to do, we are willing to take the legal action to do that,” said Mayor Allen Joines during a news conference with the Minister’s Conference on the complex Thursday.
The city went to court in February to start nuisance abatement proceedings against the complex which is now on hold due to the Aspen company currently under contract to sell the property. But city leaders say whoever owns the 110 units still need to comply with city code violations by next week or start facing fines.
“Morally [the Aspen Group] have failed, they had been instructed the duty to provide a type of service to individuals when it comes to housing,” said council member Derwin Montgomery. “They have failed to do that properly, fiduciary they have been paid by the federal government to provide subsided housing and to do so of quality.”
Late Thursday afternoon, the Aspen Group’s attorney said in a statement the company is working on the problems.
“We have hired an outside contractor, which has dispatched six workers to the complex,” said Amnon Wenger, an attorney for the Aspen Group. “Following today’s press conference, the City of Winston-Salem informed us that there are currently 87 apartments requiring remediation. Prior to today, we were informed of 37 apartments that needed work. The reason for this discrepancy is that inspection results are coming from the City in batches. As soon as we learn the exact nature of violations in the 40 additional apartments, we will make repairs immediately. The Aspen Companies is fully committed to working in partnership with the City to identify and rapidly abate all violations to the City’s satisfaction.”
Due to extreme emergency situations, the city says they have already paid to move two families and are working to move more. If any residents need help with items such as bedding they are asked to give the Minister’s Conference a call at (336) 422-6066.