By John Schaffner
After months of granting one continuance after another, Atlanta Municipal Court Judge Gary E. Jackson on Oct. 29 ordered a mid-November trial in the case the city brought against the management of the Arborgate condominiums in Buckhead for non-compliance with city code relating to mandated repairs to at least four of the condos which suffered structural damage two years ago.
The four condos, all in one building at Arborgate and all owned by single professional women, were damaged as the result of a ruptured water main. The extensive damages resulted in sunken and unsafe foundations at the condos, as well as cracked walls and ceilings.
The damages rendered two of the units totally uninhabitable and the other two virtually unlivable for the past two years, while the condo management stalled over making the repairs claiming there was no clear indication it was their responsibility to have the repairs made.
The city of Atlanta finally got involved and last spring filed suit against the Arborgate management to force the repairs to be done.
An attorney representing the Arborgate management, the four condo owners and their attorney, and representatives of the city’s Bureau of Code Compliance were in court again on Oct. 29 at which time the judge, who had granted at least two continuances to Arborgate, ordered the case to go to trial on Nov. 16.
Though the foundation work has been completed, Debra Conner, with the Atlanta Bureau of Code Compliance stated that Arborgate remains in non-compliance due to non-receipt of an engineer’s report certifying repair work performed on the foundation.
Actually, the scope of foundation repairs ended up including the addition of two additional condos, increasing the total units impacted by the ground water leak from four to six.
One of the homeowners, who was a single mother at the time she purchased her condo, has been forced into foreclosure and lost her home due to the nearly two years of the ongoing delays by the association.
Because the ground water leak occurred shortly after she purchased her unit, she was never able to move in and had to purchase another home to live in. Carrying two mortgages for nearly two years has been a financial struggle for her.
Three of the other homeowners remain homeless and fear the same fate as they continue to pay their monthly association fees and special assessments while bearing the financial burden of additional housing expenses themselves. Their condos remain uninhabitable due to interior damage from the foundation movement and repairs.
Jason LoMonaco, attorney for Aborgate’s Association has entered a plea of not guilty to the building code violations.
In separate actions, the owners of the condominiums are seeking financial settlements from the Arborgate management and homeowners’ association for damages and the inconveniences they have had to deal with during the past two years of their units being virtually uninhabitable.