Tenants forced to leave apartment after leak makes building unlivable
ST. FRANCIS, Minn. (FOX 9) - About a dozen people were forced to leave their St. Francis, Minnesota apartment after work on the roof caused a major leak. The tenants say they were given just a little over 48 hours to pack up their belongings and go because the units were not safe to live in.
"That one was mine that got the worst of the damage,” said Colton Baskinski, a tenant. “The one below had it bad, too; the water was dripping into his walls."
Baskinski pointed out his now waterlogged apartment on the third floor where he had to leave abruptly over a week ago after excessive rain damaged nearly nine units.
“It’s pouring out of my light fixtures,” said Baskinski. “It’s pouring out of three different spots of our bedrooms—my living room, it’s going over my TV–it was coming out of at least 10 different places.”
Contractors were fixing a faulty roof when they apparently didn't secure a tarp well enough. After a severe downpour two weeks ago, water started flooding people's units. A restoration company deemed many of them uninhabitable, forcing the property owner to make everyone leave.
“We tried to assist, we did not stand there and demand them to be out at a particular time, we gave them a general time,” said David Magelssen, the property manager. “We worked with some people who could find places right away and those who did not find places right away. We worked to accommodate them the best we could.”
“This wasn’t my fault - I did nothing,” said Carol Berndt, a tenant.
Berndt was another tenant who received the notice asking her to vacate her home. She's temporarily living with family, but hasn't had any luck finding a new place. Berndt is one of the few residents who has renter's insurance, but she says the company is not covering relocation expenses.
“It just bothers me at 76 years old, being uprooted after six years of living here and no help from the owner basically for a relocation spot or anything and a two-year waiting list to get into a senior building,” said Berndt.
The owner says he will be giving everyone affected their security deposits back, but so far the tenants told FOX 9 say they have not received them yet.
City inspectors have been on site at the building. Due to the severe water damage, restoring all the units could take as long as three months.