UPDATE: Inspections happening at Lansing apartments

 Neighbors at the Willowood Apartments in Lansing came home on Tuesday to find pink notices on their front doors.  (Source WILX)
Neighbors at the Willowood Apartments in Lansing came home on Tuesday to find pink notices on their front doors. (Source WILX) (WILX)
Published: Jan. 13, 2020 at 4:54 PM EST
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News 10 has an update to a story we've been following at Capitol Village Apartments.

Over the weekend, notices were given to the residents there, claiming inspections to take care of code compliance issues would take place on Monday, Jan. 13.

The company that manages Capitol Village and Autumn Ridge has been going back and forth with the City of Lansing after the city placed pink code violation tags throughout the complexes.

Last week, more residents came home to find pink notices on their doors and mixed messages from management.

Lansing code compliance posted notices at Autumn Ridge Apartments and Townhomes on Monday, Jan. 6, 2020, telling tenants they have to be out by the end of the month.

The owners claim it's a mistake.

So tenants don't know if they should be making plans to move out at the end of the month like the pink tags warn them to, or if it’s all a big misunderstanding like the owners claim.

Tenants including Rachel Clark aren't exactly sure what they can and can't do.

"We have one side of the story and we have another side of the story and we don't know who to believe or listen to," she said.

All Clark knows is she can't get out of her lease soon enough.

"I don't want to deal with this anymore. I've been dealing with it since I moved in. I thought it was a nice place to live, and it is, but I'm tired of being lied to."

Tuesday, a Capitol Village tenant got a letter demanding the rent be paid immediately under threat of eviction.

But he told us when he checked with the office that he was told he didn't owe any money.

News 10 hasn't heard of any rent demands over at Autumn Ridge and neither have the people living there.

Residents say they think it's weird they would even think to do that.

"That's a little surprising. If you can't keep it up to code, why should we pay you?" said Stephanie Temple, a resident at Autumn Ridge.

"They're legally not supposed to be charging people money right now because it's technically not legally safe to live in those buildings right now," said Clark.

The city says the same thing.

"Residents do not legally have to pay rent when the pink tag is there," said City Spokeswoman Valerie Marchand. "There is information on the tag about how they can seek outside council and learn more about their rights."

There are red tags at Autumn Ridge, according to tenants there, and that means that no one can live in those apartments.

The city said phones have been ringing off the hook from tenants wondering if they're going to lose their homes.

They say they've worked with both complexes for months now to get issues fixed.

"We've been working with these complexes now since as early as May, and they've still not complied with any of the outstanding issues that we've asked them to correct," said Scott Sanford, of Lansing's Code Enforcement Division.

Sanford said the last thing the city wants to do is displace people and their primary goal is to keep tenants safe.

"All of these are life-safety issues that need to be addressed and that's what we're trying to enforce," Sanford said.

Tags have been placed on over 800 apartments between Autumn Ridge and Capitol Village, and the first thing the city wants tenants of both complexes to know is that they won't have to vacate their apartments.

"When there's issues that come up that haven't been resolved in a timely matter they need to be out there ticketing - they need to be putting out the pink slips, they need to make sure that the property owners understand that the city is serious about this. We need to make sure that the residents of Lansing have safe adequate housing," Carol Wood, council member at large said.

Sanford said the pink slips are a legal notice warning apartment tenants that they are living in a property that is not up to code.

Mayor Schor said the slips also mean that the apartment complex cannot lease out any vacant units.

"It allows the tenants to have some rights such as paying into escrow, instead of paying rent, and is saying we are expecting these properties to be brought up to code," Schor said.

In most cases, an escrow account usually works with the court system. When you pay into escrow, there's a chance you can get your money back depending on how bad the problems are and how long it takes for the landlord to fix those problems.

This is a developing news story, WILX News 10 is working to get more details on this story, and will update the story as more information becomes available, Stay with News 10 and as we follow this situation. Refresh your page to make sure you are seeing the most current information.
Copyright 2020 WILX. All rights reserved.

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