CHICAGO (CBS) — Dozens of people in Aurora will be homeless Monday afternoon, once their hotel stay runs out, after their apartment complex manager forced them out with barely any notice.
Their two-week stay at the Rodeway Inn on their landlord’s dime is up at noon on Monday. Some families said that leaves them only two options: sleep in their cars, or go to a homeless shelter where their families will be split up.
“Today is our last day here, and a lot of people don’t have nowhere to go,” tenant Travis Battle said.
The families had been living in an apartment building at 480 Garfield Ave. in Aurora, which had been converted from an old YMCA, but it has been racked with problems: flood damage, broken door locks, non-working elevators, inoperative fire alarms and smoke detectors, and more.
The last straw came on June 12, when a basement flood damaged electrical gear, causing a fire.
According to documents provided by the city, building inspectors ordered the building to be vacated on July 1, due to a laundry list of code violations.
However, city documents indicate building management told tenants they could stay in the building without fixing the code violations, or obtaining an occupancy permit from the city.
The owner tried to repair the damage, but it was not enough. The Aurora Building Department said on Aug. 2, fire officials posted the building as unsafe. Days later, there was a sign posted saying the building was unlawfully occupied, and on Aug. 29, the fire alarm and some smoke detectors were not working.
The City of Aurora added that no one should have been living in the 480 Garfield Ave. building from mid-June through the present, but tenants said they only learned last week that they had to move out.
“The thing is that they knew what was going on the whole time. They never informed us about anything. We just got blindsided,” Battle said. “I’ve never been late on my rent. I didn’t break the lease, they broke the lease.”
Their property manager only agreed to pay for families to stay at the Rodeway Inn through Sunday night, and check-out time is noon, so unless the landlord agrees to keep paying for a hotel, dozens will be left homeless.
A notice sent to the tenants told them “please seek new living arrangements as soon as possible.”
“So what do we do?” tenant Gordon Mims said.
Now they’re asking for city officials to do something, because many can’t afford the rent anywhere else. However, the mayor hasn’t returned the tenants’ calls, or calls from CBS 2.
“I have $80. If they put me out of here, I’m out on the street,” Mims said.
Tenants are hoping for one saving grace. Renters have been told the apartment complex’s owner will show up at the hotel between noon and 1 p.m. with $1,000 checks for each family to help them pay for somewhere else to stay.