A resident’s recent complaint about plumbing at the Village Crossing apartment complex could point to larger issues of enforcing law and lease agreements at properties.
Last week, Commissioner Yvonne Hinson-Rawls responded to a complaint from a resident at the complex. The resident said he was spoken to in an “undignified manner” and that management was “using profanity” toward him, Hinson-Rawls said.
Property manager Nicole Larson said the complaint came from a resident whose plumbing issues required him to be without a restroom for about three hours. He became upset when she could not provide him with monetary compensation.
“(The resident) told Commissioner Rawls that we were denying him access to his toilet and not being compliant with code enforcement,” Larson said. “Code enforcement came out and found nothing wrong.”
Larson said the two plumbers she called could not fix the problem, so she had to call a hydro-rooter service to unclog the plumbing. But the resident was still unhappy he wasn’t compensated otherwise.
“I can’t give him a concession,” she said. “A business can’t pay out unless it’s to another business.”
Larson said the resident had made a statement that she had been oppressive toward him.
Hinson-Rawls said other complaints against the complex have added up, citing resident concerns about management changing rules, using profanity and threatening eviction to residents who accrue citations.
Larson attributes the complaints and the resistance to her strict enforcement of lease agreements. The location of the complex contributes to the “high level of criminal activity,” and despite efforts to try to enforce rules to deter the criminal element, Larson has been met with resistance from residents, she wrote in an email.
“The overall feeling of the property is negative,” she said. “All I have done is enforce these rules … but I have been met with a huge amount of resistance here. ”
Larson said because she is proactive, crimes such as aggravated assault and robbery have gone down, but trespassing charges have gone up.
“I’m proactive for trespassing, so there’s a higher call volume,” she said. “But we are seeing a decline in the level of crime.”
Gainesville Police spokesman Officer Ben Tobias said of the 20 incident reports written since Aug. 1, most have been for trespassing, with only a few other charges including domestic disturbances.
Hinson-Rawls said Larson, who has managed other low-income properties before, may simply be overwhelmed with requests at Village Crossing.
“I do believe the constituent was correct, and they shouldn’t have to live in a police state or an oppressed state,” she said. “I think she’s (Larson) having a lot of issues there and is finding herself in a Catch-22.”
A version of this story ran on page 8 on 10/15/2013 under the headline "Village Crossing resident’s complaint could point to trend"