Salisbury woman asks WBTV for help after she says apartment owner avoided making repairs

Woman fights for apartment repairs

SALISBURY, N.C. (WBTV) - We’ve all been stuck at home during the coronavirus pandemic, but one woman called WBTV for help because her home was literally falling apart—and her apartment owner wouldn’t do anything about it.

Cathy Stephens, a Salisbury woman, says the hole in her bathroom started as a water leak in the ceiling, but it has turned into a massive hole with liquid dripping all over the floor.

The pictures of Stephens’ apartment, at Westview Court Apartments in Salisbury, says it all.

I’ve had issues since I moved in here back in December that have yet to be resolved," Stephens said.

Stephens showed WBTV the text messages where she told management about a bathroom leak back in March.

The apartment owner replied, “He is on his way.”

“This leak, which is unsanitary and most important, it started March 26,” Stephens told WBTV.

Stephens said a maintenance worker came out, but instead of fixing the problem, it became worse.

For the next several weeks, she has been hearing what sounded like drops of water and seeing some type of fluid on the floor.

“And hear the drops of whatever is coming from up here," Stephens said. "Sometimes it’s yellow. Sometimes it’s brown. There’s mold in here. I’ve been coughing like crazy.”

Stephens also said, "I have wood about to fall, plaster about to fall. This is how they left my bathroom.”

That’s when Stephens decided to call WBTV for help.

WBTV’s Dee Dee Gatton called the apartment owner to see if we could get Stephens’ apartment fixed.

The apartment owner wouldn’t commit to fixing anything in WBTV’s first call with him.

However, the apartment owner and Stephens later talked on the phone, in a conversation she recorded and later shared with WBTV.

The apartment owner said, “You seem to be wanting to get me in a lot of trouble. You’re doing everything you can to make my life hell.”

Stephens told the apartment owner, “I’m not trying to make your life hell, I just want my apartment to be properly liveable.”

The apartment owner, John Bergin, wouldn’t answer WBTV’s questions on-camera but sent a statement:

“We inherited a property that was in heavy disrepair and had a large number of tenants that were involved with drugs/prostitution. In the last 15 month, 95% of the tenant base has been removed and the property has had a significant rehab which has included new roofs, completely landscaped, gut remodels of 75% of the units, new laundry facility (free), hallways and building repainted, security cameras installed and an office was placed on-premise. We are now experiencing extensive plumbing repairs on a 70-year-old building at the same time that we, as a country, are being asked to shelter in place and not go to work. The services of tradesmen, plumbers, and construction workers have been difficult to ascertain while our own maintenance staff has dealt with their own private family issues. We greatly appreciate the patience that our tenants have granted us during this worldwide pandemic and we have assured them that we are eagerly and actively addressing their situations. We pray for everyone’s safety during this time.”

For Stephens, it comes down to this.

“I’m a paying customer, I just want what I paid for," she said.

If you have a problem we can help you fix, contact our tip line at 704-374-3511 or email investigates@wbtv.com.

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