Baton Rouge, Louisiana
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Neighbors feel duped by new rental community off O'Neal Lane

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BATON ROUGE - A single-family residential development has some people upset. They thought the new homes were going to be sold, but it turns out they are rental units.

The Villas at Oak Bend are located on South Harrell's Ferry Road east of O'Neal Lane in Baton Rouge. The development will be made up of 120 houses. Prices range from about $1,800-$2,600. Tenants have recently started to move in and more houses are being built. 

Kerry Kopcso lives down the street and says it wasn't until neighbors saw signs "for rent" that they learned about the plan for the development. He says he feels duped and wants to prevent this from happening elsewhere.

"It's basically an apartment complex with a rental office out front," Kopcso said.

At the front of the neighborhood entrance is a leasing office. The city-parish says that office is a violation of city code and has sent a letter to the developer. The developer's attorney has reached out seeking a resolution to the complaint.

Kopcso isn't the only one who thought the houses would be sold to families. His neighbor lives in the center of the development. The developer installed a tall fence around the property and addressed drainage concerns, but Kopcso says the rental plan wasn't shared with them.

"He's kind of freaked out," Kopcso said.

The city-parish says it does not regulate ownership. A developer does not have to disclose whether the property is for sale or for rent; it wasn't on the application.

"There's nothing on the books to stop this, nothing," Kopcso said.

Now he's worried about increased traffic, flooding concerns and property values.

"Shame on you, basically," he said. "It's not acceptable, and I wouldn't want this on anybody."

The developer did not return messages left for comment.


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