Maintenance issues at River Glen Apartments forced Augusta’s code enforcement department to issue warnings to the property manager this week.
Mold, broken windows and damaged floor tiles were discovered at the Section 8 housing complex on Telfair Street after dozens of complaints from residents.
River Glen tenants began contacting the code enforcement division this month. Inspectors spent several days inspecting 23 units, said Pam Costabile, the code enforcement division manager.
“There are some mold issues, most of which are along the (air-conditioner) vents,” she said.
Cheryl Bryant, who was evicted from River Glen in May, started a petition that was submitted to the Augusta Commission this month. She lived in the complex for 10 years, and in the past three years dealt with broken kitchen cabinets and mold underneath the kitchen sink.
A code enforcement officer inspected her unit at the end of May, Bryant said.
“She went in and saw all the mold and took pictures,” she said. “I would have rather left on a better note.”
The complex is managed by PK Management. Calls to the company’s corporate office in Greenville, S.C., were not returned Friday.
“The (property’s) district manager, was down and they said they’re going to be taking immediate action,” Costabile said.
The inspected units averaged five to seven code violations, Costabile said. Water was entering broken and loose windows, caulking was missing around bathtubs and floor tiles needed repairs.
“Some didn’t have working smoke detectors, and that’s a big deal that they are going to have to fix immediately,” Costabile said.
Other issues were caused by tenants. In one unit, the resident was throwing grease out of a second-floor window. Liquor bottles and debris were found in hallways and common areas, Costabile said.
She said warning notices were mailed to the property manager, with more coming as inspections continue. Normally, property managers are given 30 days to correct violations or show they have hired a contractor to begin repairs that can take longer than 30 days.
After visiting some tenants Thursday, Commissioner Bill Fennoy said many units are not suitable for habitation.
He fears that people are living with health hazards because they are afraid to
voice concerns to management.
“I don’t want the residents to be intimidated, but I want to do whatever I can to improve the quality of life down there,” Fennoy said.
The apartment complex has long been plagued by crime, too, with three homicides since 2011.
The Augusta Housing Authority reviews Section 8 applications and sends eligible applicants to PK Management.
Executive Director Jacob Oglesby said the authority inspects units at least once a year.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development sets minimum housing standards that properties must maintain in order
to receive payment from the housing authority, Oglesby said.