Dozens of families get the boot after City deems housing unsafe

Just days after paying rent, dozens of Valley families are getting the boot. The City of Phoenix said their apartment...

Posted: Feb. 7, 2018 9:47 PM
Updated: Feb. 7, 2018 9:47 PM

Just days after paying rent, dozens of Valley families are getting the boot. The City of Phoenix said their apartment complex is not safe to live in.

"Ms. Chen doesn't care, she doesn't care. All I am asking is the City to do something fair," said Gary Voiles, resident.

Gary Voiles is mad and wants answers from his landlord, Amy Chen, who owns the apartment complex near 29th Street and Van Buren Street the City is shutting down.

"We don't believe it's safe for people to be living here," said Angie Holdsworth with the City of Phoenix Planning and Development Department.

Last week, city inspectors came out to the property after police alerted them to safety concerns.

Multiple building code life safety violations were found.

The City said that "action was needed to abate the imminent, unsafe electrical violations throughout the property that affected all habitable structures" and that inspectors found "exposed electric wiring and an ungrounded electrical system within all structures on the property, creating a major shock and fire hazard."

"What they found was electrical wiring that was exposed, pretty much on all of these buildings and a series of other problems at the complex as well," said Holdsworth.

The City of Phoenix gave Chen 48 hours to do the repairs but when they returned, nothing had been done, forcing the City to shut off the power and not allow residents to live in the apartments.

"No one has money and no one has anywhere to go. Many of us don't have family to help us. We are all alone here and don't know what to do," said Linda Voiles, a resident.

We tried to talk with Chen and her daughter but they told us they had nothing to say. The City served their notice to them and now residents are on the street.

"Things are bad all over but you shouldn't treat the poor poorly!" said Voiles.

We asked if the residents were able to get back any of their rent money and they said no. The only action the residents can take is to take Chen to civil court.

The City of Phoenix has been reaching out to assist the displaced residents.

The City's Neighborhood Services and Human Services Department and their outreach have been making efforts to help the tenants.

City staff relayed to the property owner's attorney, and had returned calls from him, about their obligations to find temporary accommodations for the tenants once power was disconnected.

The City also sent its four-person landlord-tenant counseling to the apartments to go door-to-door to educate tenants about their rights. In addition, Human Services outreach teams were on hand also engaging tenants and looking at solutions with assistance and services.

City officials say they will continue to engage and help these residents as the Planning and Development Department (PDD) works with the property owner to address the multiple building code life safety violations.

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