Tenants at Ellis Lakeview Apartments have filed a class-action lawsuit against owner Apex Chicago IL LLC and property manager Integra Affordable Management LLC for hazardous living conditions.
Hughes Socol Piers Resnick & Dym, Ltd. will be representing the plaintiffs. The lawsuit shows the apartment building in disrepair, with no heat, extreme flooding, and tenants unable to reach the property manager. Tenants have reported no hot water, rats, mold, and long periods of sewage backup into tubs and sinks during the first year of the pandemic.
Apex and Integra knew that the 105-unit building needed mold remediation since the Fall of 2020. Apex purchased Ellis Lakeview Apartments in 2019. Conditions of the building started to decline after the purchase. Apex removed a 24-hour security presence leading to trespassing, loitering, and people sleeping in building stairwells and elevators. Tenants formed the Ellis Lakeview Tenant Association in 2019 to improve living conditions.
Tenant Shalanda McCray, one of the plaintiffs in the class action lawsuit, has been living at Ellis Lakeview for five years with her four-year-old daughter. When McCray first moved in, the building was clean and secured and the elevators were working. When Apex purchased the building, the conditions began to decline. McCray has experienced in her fourth-floor apartment mold, mice, and many inhumane conditions. “The water pressure in the building is terrible. It would take 10 minutes to fill up the sink to wash dishes and 30 minutes for the water to drain out of the tub. When I put in a work order to have things fixed in my apartment, no one comes to fix it,” says McCray.
Crime has been another issue where several tenants do not feel safe. Because of the lack of security in the building, a male was recently shot to death at the building entrance just minutes after McCray and her daughter arrived in the apartment.
Another concern of McCray is for the elders that live in the building. “There is only one working elevator. The majority of the elders live on the top floors. When both elevators are not working, it is difficult for the elders, especially if they are wheelchair bound to come downstairs,” says McCray.
5T Management is the current property manager of Lakeview Ellis. While tenants are giving the new property manager a chance to fix all the issues in the building, McCray is looking to find another place to live. “5T is doing a good job, but I still want to move. The way the building is right now, I rather live in a shelter. I want to find a nice apartment that is liveable and safe for my daughter,” says McCray.
In a press release, Elizabeth Mazur of Hughes Socol Piers Resnick & Dym, Ltd., stated the City of Chicago has taken several actions against Apex and Integra. Government agencies have fined Apex and Integra more than $700,00 for management failures. “It’s time residents of this building get justice after personally living through years of well-documented neglect,” says Mazur.
The troubled building receives $145,000 monthly from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to provide affordable, safe, and secure housing to low-income families. Tenants pay more than $1,000 per month for rent despite years of unhabitable living conditions.
The Ellis Lakeview Apartments lawsuit comes a month after Pangea Properties was served a class-action lawsuit from tenants for unsafe living conditions, including rodent infestation, inoperable elevators, and lack of electricity and heat.
Attempts to contact Apex Chicago IL LLC and Integra Affordable Management LLC were unsuccessful.
To view the class action complaint, click here.