Saturday, November 12, 2016

Over 300 Residents Get The Boot After Condo Association's Failure To Pay $1+ Million In Utility Bills Results In Power & Gas Shut-Off; Local Officials Declare Premises Uninhabitable, Give Tenants 24 Hours Notice

In Temple Hills, Maryland, WTTG/WDCA-TV Channel 5 reports:
  • As temperatures continue to drop, hundreds of Temple Hills residents remain in the cold after a condo association failed to pay more than $1 million in utility bills. Because of this, power and gas have been shut off and are forcing these tenants to find other places to live.

    In all, 77 families and more than 300 people in all are being forced to leave as the building was declared inhabitable. Prince George’s County Fire Chief Marc Bashoor said the Lynnhill Condominiums has been placed under a fire watch. Bashoor said that emergency crews will conduct regular inspections of the premises until power is restored. On Wednesday night, firefighters headed inside because of a strong smell of gas and a possible gas leak. Eventually, an all-clear was given.

    Many residents remained in their homes at the complex overnight from Tuesday to Wednesday despite being told by authorities to vacate. Bashoor said that he is aware of the order to leave, but says his crews will be on the safe side.

    "We’re going to make sure, that as long as people are here, we're doing everything we can to keep them safe and make sure we're continuing that fire watch to make sure that if something happens, we're on top of it," he said.

    A letter of intent was given to tenants on Monday saying that service would be terminated Tuesday due to a lack of payment. At around 1 p.m. on Tuesday, the power was officially turned off.

    “It is sad because there are a lot of families with young kids live in this building, and I know everybody is not going to have the resources to just get up and move,” said Lynnhill resident Macobi Washington.

    Her family, which includes her 3-year-old and 8-month-old granddaughters, is one of many that have no place to go.

    “Who can just get up and move tomorrow and already have something planned?” said a frustrated Washington. “It’s only been two days when we found out that the electric was off.”

    Agencies such as the American Red Cross and churches are helping with temporary shelters. Prince George’s County’s Department of Social Services is also trying to help with short and long-term plans for the residents. The community has been trying to step up as well with food and clothing donations and free services from moving companies.

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