Little Rock apartments deemed unsafe, health threat

(KATV) The City of Little Rock has started an aggressive push to hold rental property owners accountable for the safety of their tenants. Stonecrest Apartments on Baseline has violated multiple codes since 2011 and it's considered in deplorable shape. Some residents agree, but say they need more notice to move.

Tenants recently paid their rent. Families Channel Seven spoke with say they were given pink slips from management Wednesday, January 16, to be out by January 25th.

Karen Brown says, "It's time to go."

Broken windows, trash, beer cans, it's what families say they walk past everyday to get to their apartment. Brown adds, "I have been here for a year and the conditions are fairly poor and it's getting to be unsafe out here."

Boarded doors signify families who have already moved, taking all that can fit in a car, leaving clothing, toys and furniture behind. But some renters say they just got the letter from management to move. Brown and her sister are neighbors in the complex. She says, "It's unfair, a week is not long enough. If we had a little bit more time, then we wouldn't be out on the street."

Andre Bernard is the City of Little Rock Housing and Neighborhood Director. He says, "It is not the city's intent to get in the rental unit business. Our job is compliance and that's our main concern is that this property is brought into compliance and safe."

Bernard says once they were called to the apartments to check on complaints, they started issuing notices for everything from railing and stairway dangers, to missing locks, jammed doors and problems with electrical boxes, meters and fuse boxes.

He explains, "They have a variety of options that will allow them to reopen once they bring those units, each and every unit into compliance."

Until then, everyone must move out for their safety. Jackie Cooper has lived at Stonecrest Apartments for 7 years. He says, "I'm disabled and a veteran. I get paid once a month."

Cooper says he is not packing. "I'm not going. The police can come and get me because I am not going."

It was the city environmental judge who ordered the apartments to be vacated. To be clear, the city did not impose the date to move by.

G & K Solutions owns Stonecrest Apartments. The attorney for the apartment owners has not returned calls from Channel Seven. They are scheduled in environmental court next week. City inspectors will continue to monitor if the owners are working to bring the 41 units up to code.