Home News Local News Summit Apartments tenants: Gas leak forcing them out

Summit Apartments tenants: Gas leak forcing them out

A gas leak or line rupture at Roswell Summit Apartments at West Summit Street and South Wyoming Avenue has meant no gas service for days for the elderly and disabled tenants of the housing units. Two tenants say written notices have been given notifying residents they have 24 hours to move out for two or three weeks while repairs are made. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

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Two tenants at a Roswell apartment complex serving the elderly and the disabled say they have been given less than 24 hours to move, at least temporarily, after a leak or line rupture, which has left the housing units without gas for five days.

Chris Clemenza, who said he has lived at the housing complex at 1600 W. Summit St. for 10 years, said that gas was turned off about 10 a.m. Saturday. Without gas, tenants have been unable to operate stoves and ovens, heating units or water heaters, he said.

It was only in the last couple of days that the property managers and owners responded to needs by offering hotel rooms and community meals to those who wanted them, Clemenza and fellow tenant LaQuita Pierce said.

Then, they said, the on-site property managers provided written notices at 3 p.m. Thursday that said all tenants must leave by 4 p.m. today for two to three weeks while repairs are occurring.

“You can choose between staying with a family or going to a motel room,” the notice read, according to Clemenza. “If you choose staying with family, you will receive $51 a day dating back to the 8th of October. If you choose a motel room, you will receive the motel room free of charge and $35 per day dating back from the 8th of October. Checks will be issued at a later date.”

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On-site staff would not answer questions and neither the property owner nor the management company discussed a move-out when responding by email and voicemail to questions posed by the Daily Record prior to 3 p.m.

A representative with the apartment owner, YES Housing Inc. of Albuquerque, said in a 4:08 p.m. voicemail Thursday that the owners are doing what they can to help tenants and fix the gas line.

“We realize that this is a very unfortunate event, and the owners of the property are obviously very concerned and doing everything they can to restore gas,” said Josie Warren. “They are working with the management there and the contractors and the gas company. … We are working to make sure that our residents’ needs are met.”

A representative with the property management firm, J.L. Gray Co., said in an 4:37 p.m. email Thursday that the owners and management have taken steps to help residents.

“I understand that we’ve been offering hotel vouchers since last night,” said Jeff Curry. “Anyone requesting space heaters have been provided one. Meals are being cooked for residents in the community room. Stipends are also being paid to help residents buy meals while their kitchens are out of order. The community has provided discounts on meals and groceries for displaced tenants, too.”

Curry also explained during an earlier phone call that crews were working on the original gas leak or line rupture then found other leaks throughout the complex.

Both Pierce and Clemenza have complaints about how the situation has been handled and said the short move-out notice is putting a strain on the elderly and disabled. They also have other concerns.

Pierce said she asked on-site management if tenants will be relocated to another YES Housing property if they are unable to move back after three weeks, but was told tenants probably would have to go on waiting lists.

Clemenza said he asked about the safekeeping of items in his unit that he would not be able to pack or move in 24 hours and was told no assurances could be given for any items left behind. He also said that others have complained about the groceries they will lose that will not last weeks in the refrigerator.

“When I went over to talk to them (on-site staff) about protecting my apartment and stuff and getting a security system,” he said, “I got just (angry) enough at them that I just about said some things to them that I am glad I did not say.”

Neither Warren nor Curry immediately returned calls or emails asking specifically about the move-out notices.

Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 310, or at reporter02@rdrnews.com.

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Lisa Dunlap is a general assignment reporter for the Roswell Daily Record.