Roanoke apartment building issued notice of violation after apartments flood with raw sewage

Published: Jun. 30, 2022 at 6:28 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - After residents whose homes were flooded with raw sewage, the city of Roanoke’s office of code enforcement has issued a notice of violations to the Ashton Heights Apartments owner. The residents are now relocated in safer apartments.

The Ashton Heights property manager told WDBJ7 the raw sewage flooded apartments over the weekend, but nobody was working in the office to answer maintenance calls. The apartment building received the notice of violation at 2:30 p.m. Thursday.

Dan Webb with Roanoke’s Code Enforcement explained what the notice of violation meant for the apartment.

“This is serious,” Webb said. “I want to let you know this is serious.”

City officials marked the apartments that flooded with raw sewage as unsafe. Apartment management first addressed the issue Monday when staff got into the office.

“We did have multiple messages on our phone letting us know of the concern,” property manager Cheyenne Altice said.

Ashton Heights Apartments management agreed to speak with WDBJ7, but declined for an on-camera interview.

The notice of violation means management will now work with the city code enforcement to repair the apartment damage.

“We knew we were going to issue a notice of violation on the property,” Webb said. “Because in an emergency, we were working with the management and the maintenance staff to make sure they were moving forward with doing what we would say is the right thing.”

Ashton Heights did not receive the violation until Thursday afternoon.

“When I spoke with the city yesterday, there were no violations or citations that have been cited,” Altice said. “We are just working as a team.”

While resident say there was a delay in management communication, Altice explained staff took action after they learned about the raw sewage Monday.

“We had started working on transferring [the residents] on Tuesday,” Altice said. “So we had worked diligently, making phone calls knocking on doors.”

Management explained the sewage didn’t get cleaned up because of delays with contractors.

“We have done everything we could on our end to try and get it unclogged,” Altice said.

With residents in the building applying for reduced rent rates under Housing and Urban Development, the apartment does not require renters’ insurance.

“It’s hard for me to get renters’ insurance when I already can’t afford to pay rent,” resident Taniah Ferguson said.

The property manager also explained because many of the affected residents lost their belongings, management will offer monetary relief for residents to replace things that were destroyed from the raw sewage.

The city inspector said management has made progress with getting the apartments cleaned up, but code enforcement will have to inspect those units before residents can move back in.

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