Resident keeps sheet over entrance to abide by closed door rule
Residents enjoy being outdoors before 8 p.m. curfew
COLUMBUS, Ga. -
Eagles Trace Apartments tenants are not happy, and a lawyer says the complex manager might be crossing the legal line.
In March Eagles Trace got a new landlady, and residents say that's when many of their problems began. They range from health problems related to mold to an 8 p.m. curfew.
Gennifer Truitt has lived in Eagles Trace for almost a year and says, "We can't be on the porch then she's gunna say we've got to be in the house by 8:00. We grown."
For the past three weeks her air conditioner has been broken and no maintenance people have come to fix it. And she says when security and police officers harass her family for the 8:00 curfew, she's forced to go inside and keep her door closed.
Neighbor Donna Elias says, "It makes it harder for you to live somewhere and be happy when you have little privileges like that taken away from you."
The property's regional corporate office in Atlanta confirms that the community rules identify quiet hours from 10 p.m. to 8 a.m. The lease agreement and rules say nothing about having to be inside during quiet hours, and nothing is said about doors being kept closed.
The corporate representative says open doors aren't appealing to prospective renters.
Attorney Mark Post says that's not right. "They would have to give notice and the people would have to agree to the change, one would think," he says, "because a lease is a contract."
Residents say the landlady won't talk to anyone about the changes being made, and all the notice they got for curfew was a letter.
"She put them on the porch," says Truitt about the letters. "She don't put them in nobody's hand, she don't knock on the door, she doesn't ask nobody what's going on, and when you go up there to talk to her she is so rude."
Jackie Cloird says, "All the other rent ladies we've had, they was good. She don't want to buy no supplies for the apartment, she don't want to do nothing for the kids. She just want to sit up there and take all the money."
"Somebody can't just arbitrarily make you keep your door closed or come into your house," says Post. "You've got 4th Amendment issues there, and everybody has a right to privacy in your home."
And at least two residents this year have been hospitalized for health problems stemming from mildew and mold infestation, like Donista Williams' son Trayvon, who lives with a liver transplant and heart monitor.
"It took the doctors to say there was not going to release my baby from the hospital until my apartment was straight," says Williams of the lack of maintenance to her home. "They put in new carpet, they call themselves doing the mildew and everything, but the mildew came back."
Trayvon recently returned to the hospital and photos show mucus developing in his lungs and air pipe. Another resident says his mother has been in the hospital for three months for mold-related complications.
Eagles Trace Apartments provide affordable housing for low income families.