Leader Blues

Friday, December 19, 2008

TOP STORY > >City to help renters after foreclosure

By RICK KRON
Leader staff writer

The Jacksonville City Council voted Thursday night to help out about 14 tenants who have been told they need to be out of Manor House Apartments by the first of the year.

The apartment complex at 1705 S. Redmond Road is in foreclosure and receivership because the owners haven’t been paying bills the tenants have endured water shut-offs, heat turned off and no electricity.

City Administrator Jay Whisker has been working with Fannie Mae officials and others to keep the utilities on and try to make an arrangement to let the remaining tenants stay on after Jan. 1.

Mayor Tommy Swaim said many of the apartment residents have already moved and found other places, but many of the ones remaining are financially strapped, and have been told they have no chance of getting any of their security deposits back from the apartment management to help them pay deposits on new places.

Theresa Watson, director of the city’s community development block grant, told the city council that about 10 of the 14 tenants qualify under CDBG requirements for some assistance.

“We’ve not done this before,” the mayor said, and at the urging of Alderman Gary Fletcher, made it clear that this was a one time deal.

Whisker told the council that the owners of the apartment complex are deployed and turned over the complex to another individual who turned it over to a third party. Water is included in the rent, but no one connected with the apartment ownership has been paying the water bill, which forced the Jacksonville Water Department to turn it off recently.

“We got it back on, but it looks like it will be turned off again the first of January,” Whisker said.

The council authorized Watson to work with the remaining tenants to try and help them find new places and to assist them with deposits.

The council told Watson she could spend up to $4,000 in emergency funds to aid the tenants.