Family moves out of flooded apartment complex, management says they owe
BATON ROUGE - A family is at odds with their landlord since they don't feel it's safe to live in their second floor apartment after the ones below flooded.
Right now, the Ole London Town Apartments off O'Neal near I-12 is holding the family to the lease agreement, which could cost them thousands of dollars.
"I just don't want my family living there, it's unsafe," said John Gaines.
The apartment complex flooded, taking on three to six feet of water in areas. Dozens of units took on water, forcing many to find another place to live. Gaines says conditions at the place he called home for five years quickly changed. People began tossing out their belongings leaving debris everywhere.
"Belongings, possessions, they were just stacking them outside the door, up the walkways," said Gaines.
Gaines has since moved out. He and his family lived on the second floor at Ole London Towne. After coming back almost daily to assess the damage, he became concerned for his family's health. Gaines described debris, mold and exposed nails as some of the factors.
"It was a big concern for the safety of my kids," he said. "My apartment had lights and running water, but the premises were not habitable."
Ole London Towne sent a series of emails to tenants throughout the flood clean-up. Including ones from Aug. 16 and 19 advising second floor tenants to "stay at your own risk."
Gaines and his family moved out after a 30 day notice, citing health reasons and concerns. They turned in the keys Sept. 21. They were sent a bill, which included a lease break fee, rent and late charges totaling nearly $3,500. He has 30 days to settle the bill.
"They were trying to hold us liable at the upper level, to still reside there, at our own risk," said Gaines.
News 2 asked Ole London Towne management company Patricia Management if it was going to pursue legal action against tenants who left because they thought it was an unsafe environment.
Patricia Management responded with a statement. "Our company sustained serious damage from the flood and we, like many, are doing our best to recover and repair the damage as quickly as possible. We were advised not to comment further on this unfortunate situation which has been very challenging for all those affected by the flood."
Gaines has a place to stay for now but is eager to rebuild his life.
"A blemish of this $3,500 being on our credit report, it could be a hindrance to us and we just wanted a resolution of the lease and to move on," he said.
Now he's stuck in limbo and management is holding him accountable to pay to live in a place Gaines calls unsafe.
The Attorney General says the landlord and the tenant have rights here, but it's unclear who the law favors.