DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Residents of Lakeside Village Apartment Homes in Daytona Beach reached out to FOX 35 News on October 1 after Hurricane Ian flooded their apartments. Their main complaint was a lack of communication from apartment managers.
FOX 35 News reached out by phone and email to the property manager, Picerne Realty. Finally, we got some answers.
One of the questions we heard a lot was, ‘If conditions are like this, why aren’t people living here being offered anywhere else to stay?’
It turns out, legally, the property managers and owners don’t have to offer that. They just have to let you break your lease and get your deposit back. People living here were pretty dissatisfied about that. But we did get plenty of other answers they were a lot happier about."
"People are just so afraid. They don’t want to say nothing," said Shawnette Miles, one of the women who asked FOX 35 News for help. "But at least a lot of people are saying now, other things will get fixed that didn’t get fixed before."
A lot of people living at the complex didn’t want to go on camera for FOX 35’s reports – they said they were worried about retribution.
But they all had basically the same complaints – confusion about the work being done, dissatisfaction with the level of assistance, lack of communication.
"What are you going to be doing and how long is it going to take?" asked Miles.
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"We’re trying to do the best we can," replied Greg McGinnis, the Regional Vice President of Picerne Realty. "We don’t own the property. That kind of limits us to what we can do. We’re doing what we can."
From the property managers’ view, they’ve been moving exceptionally fast. Hurricane Ian hit on a Wednesday, and it took a couple days for the flooding to clear out.
"By Tuesday, every unit was assessed, everything was walked, and the remediation had already begun," said Mike Collins, Picerne Realty’s maintenance director.
Another issue is that there are a lot of hands in the pot here.
The property managers have to wait on the property owner; the owner’s waiting on the insurance adjuster; and everyone is beholden to financial institutions.
"What we did, because the relationship we have with these vendors through Picerene, they took it on faith that we could pay them, so they went out there and started doing the work," explained McGinnis.
The biggest win after our reporting, people at the apartments told us, is that communication has improved.
The morning after our second report, the property managers posted an update on each resident’s door, explaining what was going on.
The property managers say they plan to start posting updates on the door of the office every Friday.
The next steps for renovation work are the drywall and insulation. The baseboards and floor will come next.