The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Local News

December 6, 2012

Problems mount at Arbor Village apartments

Evacuated residents may be entitled to compensation

ANDERSON, Ind. — The list of building code violations at Arbor Village Apartments is mounting, Anderson city officials said Thursday, and it may be weeks before the 96-unit complex is habitable again.

That was the preliminary estimate from a licensed plumber who assessed the work that will be required to bring gas lines at the complex up to code, said Building Commissioner Frank Owens.

Other problems have surfaced with the electrical wiring in some of the buildings as well, which may add to the time it will take to make repairs.

Displaced tenants, meanwhile, will likely be able to recover damages from the apartment owners for the inconvenience of being turned out of their homes and forced to find other housing because he failed to adequately, an expert on Indiana Landlord Tenant law said.

So far, city inspectors have identified electrical work that was performed in five occupied and eight unoccupied units where no plans, specifications, or permits were reviewed or issued by the city as required, Owens said.

The city’s electrical inspector will continue looking at units today.

City officials condemned the complex and issued a mandatory evacuation order on Wednesday after gas leaks were found in the basements of all five building units.

That decision came after a brief evacuation Tuesday night when Vectren Energy, which provides gas service here, found leaks in three buildings and cut the gas to those units.

“These were not major leaks,” said Vectren spokeswoman Chase Kelley, but they could have led to more serious problems if not properly addressed, which is why the utility shutoff the gas.

“I just think it’s been a slow reaction to an issue that been going,” said Owens, noting that problems first surfaced about three weeks ago.

As issues with providing adequate heat during that time increased because of problems with the gas service, so did the number of space heaters in use. Tuesday night, he was told the complex had issued 45 space heaters to residents, and an unknown number had obtained their own, raising concerns that an overloaded electric system could cause a fire.

Arbor Village residents continued to find housing alternatives Thursday.

Some residents found shelter with friends and relatives; others searched for new apartments at other area complexes.

About 12 families receiving Department of Housing and Urban Development assistance through the Housing Assistance Payment, or HAP program, contacted the Anderson Housing Authority for help, said Charles Weatherly, deputy director.

“We will do everything we can to make sure this is a smooth transition,” he said. The agency has already contacted managers of other complexes that handle the federal voucher program. Other apartment property managers have also reached out to Arbor Village residents.

Danielle Layne, assistant property manager at The Giant Oaks and Cross Lakes apartment complexes, said they are prepared to offer one month of free rent and waive application fees to Arbor Village residents.

Complex owner Tom Stanley told The Herald Bulletin on Wednesday that the city was overreacting to the gas leak problems and “paranoid” because of the recent explosion on the south side of Indianapolis, and was not giving him enough time to fix the problems.

Stanley, who bought the apartments about three years ago and invested nearly $1 million to rehabilitate them, said the gas pipe issue is the only problem that remains. He added that he wants his tenants properly cared for.

Regardless of how Anderson city officials chose to handle the situation, under Indiana Landlord Tenant Law, the responsibility for maintaining the habitability of the property is Stanley’s, said Stephen Byers, managing attorney for Indiana Legal Services in Indianapolis, which covers Madison County.

Because Stanley has apparently failed to maintain the habitability of the property, all of the tenant leases are considered broken because residents have lost the use of their property through no fault of their own, Byers said.

In addition, the landlord is required to find alternative housing for his tenants and compensate them for their costs, Byers added.

“He can’t hold them liable for rent and he can’t hold them liable for their lease,” Byers said, adding that they “have a right to recover damages.”

Stanley could not be reached for comment Thursday.

Find Stu Hirsch on Facebook and @StuHirsch on Twitter, or call 640-4861.

Text Only
Local News
  • NWS - HB0728 - Colts Camp - 006 Armed Forces Day at Colts camp pairs Girl Scout cookies with veterans

    Pair Girl Scouts and their world-famous cookies with Armed Forces Day at Indianapolis Colts training camp, and you've got a winning combination. Operation: Cookie Drop, as it's called, is a program where customers buy boxes of cookies for delivery to active and retired military throughout central Indiana.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • NWS - HB0728 - World War 1 local Nurse hoped for lasting peace after World War I Ella Hand’s grave marker in Elwood is simple and unadorned. A stone block, it marks that she was born Sept. 20, 1870, and died Oct. 28, 1937.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPT - HB0728 - Gordon art Rain doesn't dampen Brickyard fans' spirits

    Despite threatening skies and chances of rain, fans at the Brickyard 400 were not disheartened by the forecast Sunday. Fans expected the race to be completed and were anticipating an exciting race for the Sprint Cup event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • What's Where: July 28 Local meetings and activities are scheduled Monday, July 28.

    July 28, 2014

  • Markleville Jamboree begins July 31 Is your baby the prettiest? Does your pet do amazing tricks? Do you bake, sew, craft? Do you like tractors? If any of this sounds like you, you're invited to join in the contests at the Markleville Jamboree.

    July 28, 2014

  • Arrest Log: July 27 Arrests made by Madison County law enforcement on Friday and Saturday based on Madison County Jail records.

    July 27, 2014

  • SPT - HB0727 - Harvick art Harvick dominates qualifying SPEEDWAY — Kevin Harvick dominated the first ever knock-out qualifying for the Brickyard 400, easily capturing the pole position for Sunday’s race.Harvick in the Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet posted the quickest time in all three sessions and was the

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • NWS - HB0727 - Markleville honor Another golden hour: Couple gives thanks to rescuers On Saturday, the Smalls attended the Adams Markleville fire department’s annual ice cream social to personally thank those they say are responsible for saving Steve’s life.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • NWS - HB0727 - Teacher Blessing - 13 Church's donation a blessing for teachers Thirty teachers attended the second annual Blessings for Teachers on Saturday at Anderson First Baptist Church.

    July 26, 2014 2 Photos

  • nws - hb0725 - colts - jc - 4.jpg Colts camp's impact: pricey or priceless?

    Football fever is here and the city is flooded with fans eager to catch a glimpse of a favorite player. But officials say they are unclear what kind of economic impact the Indianapolis Colts training camp has on the area.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

July Staff Photos

Buy and browse more photos from The Herald Bulletin

More Resources from The Herald Bulletin
Auto Industry Book
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide