CHARLOTTE (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — A Charlotte renter is left with nowhere to go after he claims his apartment complex refused to fix his uninhabitable living situation.
“I’ve been here 11 years…. 11 years,” Todd Miller said.
At 1700 Place Apartments in East Charlotte, Todd Miller is what some people call a staple in the community.
“He’s an amazing individual, I mean he needs help of course, he has MS and he’s an amazing friend, I am proud to call him my friend,” a former neighbor said.
The 51-year-old disabled veteran is confined to a wheelchair that is typically parked on his patio, rain or shine. Just feet from where he sits, is the door that leads to his living room and kitchen.
“I mean awful, awful, awful, awful,” Miller said.
Inside the dark apartment is what neighbors call an uninhabitable living situation, with exposed outlets, a broken smoke alarm, and an empty space where a microwave once was.
“You can see it is not functional, it’s not there to be functional,” a neighbor said.
Over the last six months, Todd says maintenance requests have been ignored. With an unusable kitchen, he says he has survived off help from neighbors who bring him food.
“My daughter comes over and she is a nurse, she comes over and she helps,” the neighbor said.
Todd’s lease expires at the end of July. In April, the apartment complex sent him a 60-day notice to vacate the property or pay what Todd says is nearly $700 more a month than what he is paying now.”
“Where the hell am I going to go?” Todd said. “I cannot afford to move, at all, at all.”
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Under state law, landlords can legally evict someone at the end of a lease or increase rent. Right now, it is happening to tenants all across the Queen City.
But when it comes to maintenance requests, Legal Aid of North Carolina attorney Isaac Sturgill says those are taken seriously.
“If a landlord tells a tenant about code violations, or about repairs that need to be made in the home, the landlord has a duty to make those repairs in a reasonable amount of time and that is something that a landlord cannot get out of,” Sturgill said.
Queen City news reached out the apartment complex.
“1700 Charleston Place Apartments seeks to provide a safe, clean and quality living condition for all residents. Unfortunately, a resident has allowed their apartment to deteriorate to such a manner in which it no longer meets safety codes and standards set by law.VP of Sandhurst Apartment Management
Due to the impact of the current living conditions, the resident’s lease was terminated in order to protect our surrounding residents. Our maintenance vendors have refused to enter the apartment in its current state in order to make necessary repairs. Thus, necessary steps were taken in order to ensure that the premise can be cared for properly.”
“It would seem to me that if the place is deteriorated to the point where it is unsafe than that’s the landlord’s fault, because it is the landlord’s responsibility to not let it get to that point,” Sturgill said.
He said landlords can bill a tenant for cleaning services before completing a maintenance request but cannot legally refuse to do them.
“It’s really hurtful what they are trying to do to me,” Todd said while wiping tears from his eyes.
Miller says that a code enforcement officer came out to investigate his apartment, the county claims they have no record of that. We reached out to the city for further comment, but haven’t heard back.
As for the apartment complex, our Queen City News crew did observe a help wanted sign advertising for a maintenance worker.