Apartment complex owner seeking temporary restraining order to keep complex open

Jason Bolden, owner of Alexander Apartments filed a motion for a temporary restraining order on Monday to delay a move-out date for residents being forced out due to code violations.

Residents now have six days to vacate the Alexander Apartment complex in southwest Little Rock, while the complex's owner and volunteer attorneys try to seek a temporary restraining order to push back the Monday-after-Christmas move-out date.

Melody Branch, her three children and her husband were desperately looking for a place to go on Tuesday, upset the move comes right during the holiday season.

"I pay $650 a month," said Branch. "These apartments are supposed to be worth something, even though were not in a good neighborhood like Chenal. I would love to live at Chenal but I don't have that type of money."

Branch said she and her family also don't have the money to move, and although they have family to stay with, they don't know exactly where they will go because they don't know where they'll store their belongings.

Several city and state agencies, including the Metropolitan Housing Alliance, Arkansas Community Organizations, City of Little Rock Housing & Neighborhoods program - were all at the apartment complex on Tuesday, trying to find tenants temporary housing or possibly help them to relocate altogether.

Volunteer attorneys with UALR Bowen School of Law Consumer Protection Division, along with Legal Aid of Arkansas spoke with residents on Tuesday, trying to get an idea of the problems facing tenants.

According to Amy Pritchard, director of the Bowen's Consumer Protection Division, attorneys plan on filing a motion to delay the move-out date for residents, but not to allow the complex's owner to remedy the issues - rather to allow residents enough time to find a new place to stay.

"It's a very known fact that in terms of Arkansas landlord/tenant laws, the law are not in the tenant's favor," said Megan Dauksch, AmeriCorps attorney with Legal Aid of Arkansas. "That's why we are out here, doing everything we can to have justice allow us to help them further their rights."

Jason Bolden, owner of Alexander Apartments, met with tenants on Tuesday to try and reassure them that everything would work out. Late Monday, Bolden's attorney filed a motion for a temporary restraining order to delay the closing of the complex.

According to the motion, the City of Little Rock issued several citations to the complex nearly three months after it had been bought by Bolden in June 2014. Bolden plead "no contest" to those 2014 citations, and has continued to make updates and renovations to the complex to bring occupied apartments up to code, according to the motion.

The motion alleges that the city didn't, "satisfy certain notice requirements implemented to ensure a property owner has the opportunity to remedy any violations that could subject their property to the order of abatement."

The motion also states that the letter posted by the fire department on resident's doors earlier this week, "did not state in detail what the problems were that required remediation but instead informed Alexander Apartments that it would 'be provided with a detail [sic] list of violations' at an unspecified future date.

No action has been taken yet on the motion for a temporary restraining order and Bolden would not comment on camera about anything related to the possible injunction.

But residents like Lacy Leach said the other problems, on top of the fire code violations at Alexander Apartments have them convinced that moving day is eminent.

"I kind of expect the worst now," said Leach. "I don't expect the best because of all of this."

In a statement released by Jennifer Godwin, director of communications for the City of Little Rock, the city said they plan to move forward with a December 28th move out date, saying the risk to residents is simply too great.

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