INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett announced Tuesday the owners of Lakeside Pointe at Nora have until Jan. 31 — six days — to make "real progress" on living conditions at the troubled apartment complex or the City of Indianapolis will sue, using Indiana’s nuisance property law.
"There must be real consequences for charging Indianapolis residents to live in unacceptable and uninhabitable conditions," Hogsett said during a news conference. "That should not be the way of life in any city but especially not in our city."
City officials said tenants have dealt with collapsed ceilings, a lack of heat or water, and unanswered maintenance requests for more than a year.
"And fire after fire after fire," Hogsett said.
13News reported Indianapolis firefighters were called to the complex at least 21 times in 2021.
"This morning was really good news," said John Brent, who’s lived at the complex for 10 years. "It gives me more hope."
Since 2017, Hogsett said the City and Marion County have filed hundreds of violations against the property owners. The Marion County Public Health Department has devoted an inspector to visit the property daily.
Paul Babcock, CEO of the Marion County Health and Hospital Corporation, said a 2019 sweep of the property found more than 600 violations, some of which he said remain unresolved today.
"It is unacceptable that ownership has refused to resolve hundreds of health and safety violations that threaten tenants and jeopardize our community’s health," Babcock said.
Last year, Attorney General Todd Rokita filed a lawsuit against the owners and property managers of Lakeside Pointe, asking for a third party to step in. Aloft Mgt, LLC, which manages Lakeside Pointe, and Fox Lake AHF, Inc., which owns both Lakeside Pointe and Fox Club Apartments, were named in the suit.
Two days after the lawsuit was filed, the mortgage lender also filed a foreclosure action on the Lakeside Pointe and Fox Club properties. The two cases were consolidated.
But a Marion County judge denied the attorney general’s request to appoint a receiver and called for mediation.
RELATED: Neighbors, lawmakers step up to help residents of Nora apartment complex after another fire
When asked how the city’s announcement is any different from the other lawsuits and actions, city officials called it "another tool in the toolbox to push the envelope."
"We have a negligent property owner that’s not doing anything in response to years of suits," Deputy Mayor Jeff Bennett said.
Neighborhood groups and nonprofits have stepped in to help tenants who live in the complex, including the Nora Neighborhood Ambassadors and Patchwork Indy.
"At this moment in the middle of an Indiana winter, there are numerous families without hot water, units without sufficient heat, and homes with mold leaks and rotting ceilings," said Claire Holba, director of Patchwork Indy, who also said many residents came here from other countries through the U.S. Refugee Resettlement program.
"I have been in Zoom rooms of 35 people from the state, the city, county, community level," she said. "Why, why has it been so hard to achieve a solution for Lakeside Pointe?"
This story will be updated.