Everett apartment complex residents deal with damage from leaks
By Warren Cornwall and Theresa Goffredo
Julie Fenner woke at 4 a.m. Thursday to the feeling of rain dripping on her leg. The problem was, she was in her bed at the time.
"I was drenched, the bed was drenched," said the 20-year-old Everett woman.
She and other residents at Everett’s Country Club Apartments are complaining that a facelift of the ailing complex is sending water dripping through ceilings and light fixtures and into their lives.
The problems are continuing weeks after they first surfaced, and some renters are growing impatient with the lack of help or are awaiting compensation for damaged belongings.
"I felt like everybody was just passing the buck," said Pauline Smith, a 27-year-old mother of three young children.
Her apartment sprang leaks in nearly every room in mid-October, drenching carpets, clothing and beds, killing a television and a stereo and forcing her and her husband, Travis Smith, to stay up in shifts to empty pots as they filled with water, she said.
While the flood has subsided, on Sunday afternoon their belongings remained in piles in each room, put there to avoid the worst leaks.
The Smiths said they welcomed the apartment renovations, but not the dousing that came with it.
A carpet cleaning service has been sent to their apartment twice in recent days. But they have yet to learn whether they will get money back for their damaged belongings, Travis Smith said. He said they were given $10 to cover the cost of cleaning 15 loads of clothing, sheets and blankets doused by the leaks.
"They told us to give them a list of what we say the damages were, and they’d report it to their insurance claim adjuster," Travis Smith said.
The complaints come as construction crews tear away siding and roofs on the sprawling 250-unit apartment complex tucked behind the Everett Mall. The $20 million overhaul and acquisition is being touted as a way to improve conditions at the apartments.
In mid-October, one official involved in the financial arrangements around the acquisition said contractors are working quickly to beat the weather, and that managers would work to address renters’ problems.
The developer of the Country Club Apartment renovation project is William Szymczak, president of Preservation Partners LP. He did not return a phone call Friday.
An apartment security guard contacted Sunday said the apartment’s manager could not be reached until today.
Leaks, however, continue to pop up weeks after the earlier complaints.
Fenner said the water destroyed her bed and box spring. An official told her to find out the replacement cost so she could get another bed, she said. But she said that person has not returned her calls since then.
Others suffered smaller damage. Tracey Nelson, who lives downstairs from Fenner, said water dripped through the ceiling fan fixture and soaked her college homework. Melissa Obina had water dripping from the ceiling above her bathtub, and from a bathroom light fixture.
More damage occurred when she had to move out of the apartment for three days while workers replaced flooring and a sink as part of the renovation, she said. During her time away, someone broke into the apartment and stole televisions, VCR’s and stereo equipment, said Dan Elliott, a friend helping her clean the apartment Sunday.
You can call Herald Writer Warren Cornwall at 425-339-3463 or send e-mail to email@example.com.