INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita filed a lawsuit Tuesday against two companies over dangerous and unlawful living conditions at two Indianapolis apartment complexes.
Aloft Mgt, LLC, which manages Lakeside Pointe Apartments, and Fox Lake AHF, Inc., which owns both Lakeside Pointe and Fox Club Apartments, are named in the suit. Rokita argues the companies allowed the apartments to fall into “egregious disrepair that endangers the lives of thousands of residents.”
After a yearlong investigation, Rokita is asking for a third-party receiver to take control over the companies' finances, remove their board of directors and try to correct the various issues residents have faced.
“This has really been a good day. It really has,” said John Brent who has lived at Lakeside Pointe Apartments for nearly 10 years.
While he’s lived there, Brent says he’s seen several fires, sometimes gone without heat and air conditioning and had a ceiling that’s caved in several times.
He’s not alone.
“People living here, the residents here, deserve a clean, healthy and safe place to live,” said Brent.
It would appear Rokita thinks so, too, according to the allegations laid out in the lawsuit.
The investigation found residents at Lakeside Pointe have had to deal with multiple fires, lack of heat and air conditioning, mold, and other issues making the apartments inhabitable. The lawsuit also claims Aloft has been illegally operating without the appropriate real estate license.
The Marion County Public Health Department has issued more than 600 violations to Fox Lake since 2017 for problems including mold, lack of hot water, and plumbing and sewage issues.
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In June, residents at the two complexes were at risk of having their water disconnected after Citizens Energy Group notified property managers of a large unpaid balance. According to Rokita's office, the bill was for $1 million.
"When landlords and property managers fail to meet their basic obligation to provide tenants with safe and secure housing, my office won't hesitate to take action to hold them accountable and seek justice for Hoosiers who've been wronged," Rokita said in a news release.
Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett also issued a statement on the AG's lawsuit:
We welcome today’s news of the Attorney General’s office seeking a receivership over the Fox Club and Lakeside Pointe apartment complexes. This move will help protect residents while offering hope for improved management of the property. Making sure tenants remain stably housed will continue to be our top priority, and we’re thankful to community stakeholders for their longtime advocacy on behalf of their neighbors.
Fox Club is a low-income housing complex. The lawsuit claims its owner, Fox Lake AHF, is unable to provide appropriate housing for tenants. Marion County recently revoked tax exemption privileges from Fox Lake for allegedly not maintaining safe living conditions for tenants, and not providing services they legally committed to provide.
“There’s still a long road ahead but this is a huge win and it shows that his team and the attorney general take the experiences of these residents seriously,” said Claire Holba with Patchwork Indy, the non-profit that’s been advocating for residents like Brent for the past year.
Holba is hopeful change is around the corner.
“Somebody a lot wiser than me said, ‘The squeaky wheel gets the grease,’” Brent recalled.
“And he also said, ‘Don’t give up before the miracle happens because they usually do,’” he added.
Brent feels like that miracle could happen any day, now that those in positions of power have heard the plight of residents.
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