Apartment complex says repairs were made
Students living inside The Lofts at USC, an apartment complex located near the surging Rocky Branch Creek, say Sunday's storm proves the complex has serious flooding issues.
"We moved into this new one bedroom apartment to get away from the mold and the bad situation in our previous apartment because it flooded in May," said fourth year psychology major Britny Hannah. "So we moved here and it seemed to be going fine, and then last month the roof started leaking when it rains really hard. We told the office about it and they got the people to come in and clean up the carpet and suck out the water. At that time, the people underneath us said that it started leaking down there, because when they were taking the water out of our apartment some went down into theirs."
Hannah, who lives in the South Annex or the smaller of two buildings that make up the complex, said the previous tenants of her apartment put a plastic tarp along the ceiling over the bedroom area. Hannah said that the tarp is the only thing currently keeping the water from getting on their belongings. The tarp is full of large puddles of brown water.
Officials at The Lofts at USC say they've worked to fix the problems. Property Manager Linda Gorry said Centimark, the company that has done all of the roofing work for the Lofts, fixed three spots on the roof of the South Annex building that needed repair and secured a drainpipe.
"With all of the major weather, which was all on the front page news, the torrential rains, and the wind, [the Centimark employee] said that he had never seen anything like it, and the drain pipe flew back up onto the roof, messed up his repair and caused it to leak in that place again," Gorry said. "He said, undoubtedly, that area was like a sponge with water trapped in it. And when the drainpipe hit it, and then we had all that torrential rain, [the water] came back through again. Which it may have done eventually if water was trapped in those layers. So he did a re-repair, he re-secured the drainpipe and of course they're at our disposal if we need them again."
But Hannah said a maintenance worker there told her the roof of the South Annex was never fixed.
"Apparently they only fixed the roof of the larger building," Hannah said.
It's not a situation that's isolated to one apartment at The Lofts. Fourth year womens studies student Shannon Minick confirmed problems in her Annex apartment as well.
"It literally started raining in our apartment," Minick said. "The amount of rain that was outside was flowing steadily into our apartment. When you would look up, it was raining on your face. We didn't have enough pots and bowls to catch how much water was coming down from the ceiling. So we called and got really upset and some guys came out and just dried off the ceiling. They didn't seal anything. They didn't fix the roof which was really the problem."
Eventually, maintenance came to seal Minick's ceiling, but the rain these past few days caused the seal to the ceiling to break and everything in the apartment got wet again.
"We're afraid when it does leak that if the carpet stays wet long enough then mold will grow," Minick said. "We're really scared of the residual moisture building up because the apartment above us has mold all over the carpet. The carpet has black spots all over it and it's from spores."
First year graduate student and Lofts resident Sean Smith said that the rain caused him to move some of this stuff into the hallway to keep it dry.
"I would love to air out my apartment because it smells like mildew now, but they screwed my windows shut so I can't open them," Smith said. "So I'm kind of just stuck down here in the basement."
Minick said that her father is considering getting a lawyer to file a class action law suit against the Lofts.
"Honestly if I think we were to go to court with it, there's money to be had," Minick said. "It's not fair for them to charge us rent. It's not livable. When it's raining outside and in your apartment that is unacceptable."
Gorry said The Lofts has responded to every student complaint.