New hurdle for some victims of massive fire at Charlotte apartment complex

New hurdle for some victims of massive fire at Charlotte apartment complex

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Some families who were victims of an arson are being asked to leave their apartments. It's a hurdle some say they weren't expecting.

Back in July, police said an arsonist set the fire at the Woodscape Apartments. Seven people were hurt. More than a hundred had to find a place to stay. The Red Cross opened a shelter at a nearby school that gave those families a place to rest.

Eventually, the owner of the complex was able to make some units available and families moved back in.

Some residents received letters this month telling them they have to move out by the end of the month. They say they were surprised because they thought housing had been secured after the fire forced them out.

Now, they're trying to figure out where to go to find rents comparable to the $500 a month they pay at Woodscape.

Managers of the complex say they had plans to renovate the units even before the fire. But because the fire caused such dire emergencies for dozens of families, they agreed to let people move in during renovations.

They say the families knew they were on month-to-month leases. According to management, ten families were given notices to vacate.

Managers say the families have options, including staying and paying higher rents for renovated apartments.

In a statement to WBTV, property managers say "We have and continue to make every best effort to provide tenants with the best housing option in the immediate area. Given damage from an unfortunate act of arson, we are making the necessary improvements to the building to bring it back online as soon as possible at the highest quality."

The statement continues, "Any tenant notices have and will always be processed in accordance with existing tenant leases, and municipal ordinance for the City of Charlotte."

Some of the residents say they don't understand what's going on.

Guadalupe Hernandez says she was getting back to a normal routine. She says now - once again - there's uncertainty of where she'll live.

"We have no idea. We've been looking around for apartment and we just can't find anything now. We have no idea where we're going to go" she told WBTV.

Hernandez and five others, including four children, live in her apartment. She didn't know the unit was temporary. She thought she had time.

"During that time they would be fixing up the apartments so that after the six month period they would be offered another rate at a different rent" she said.

Complex managers say residents can sign a lease for a renovated apartment and pay a higher rent, or move into any other available property that the owners have, or move out.

"We live in this area. We want to be able to stay in this area," Hernandez said. "The children go to the school in this area and now we're going to have to just pick up and move around."

She added, "We don't know where we're going to go. This is just scary."

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