‘Blindsided:’ 200 neighbors have months to get out of their DeKalb County apartments

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — Tenants living at the Forest at Columbia Apartments on Columbia Drive in DeKalb County will have to find a new place to live.

Soon.

This comes after they say their property management blindsided each tenant with a lease termination notice, Channel 2′s Ashli Lincoln learned.

Residents were initially given a 30-day notice. Now, the owner has agreed to giving residents 60 days to find somewhere else to live and if people don’t move out, management says they’ll have no choice other than taking renters to court.

“It’s wrong,” neighbor Terrie Redding said.

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“You’re just saying on the 31st of August, y’all got to be out,” neighbor Marquita Jackson said.

“How can you put us out in two months?” another frustrated neighbor Sherri Keys said.

It’s a notice of termination residents living at the Forrest at Columbia Apartments in South Dekalb say they weren’t prepared for.

“Everybody out here is not going to be able to find something in two months,” Keys said. “You can’t just put us out our homes we have children.”

Tuesday night, every single resident living at this complex was slapped with this notice of the owner announcing termination of all leases by the end of August.

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It just did not allow us enough time,” neighbors said.

Keys, Jackson and Redding echo the sentiments of virtually every neighbor who lives at the apartments; they felt blindsided by this move and many can’t afford to move in such a short amount of time.

“I was pissed,” Keys said. Redding agrees.

“It just doesn’t make sense,” she said.

Channel 2 spoke with the property manager who said the termination is due to an extensive construction overhaul needed for the property.

Residents say for years they’ve been dealing with rodents’ mold and insects. The property manager says there is just no way to make necessary repairs with nearly 200 people currently living on site.

“It does need improvement, a lot from bottom to top, to inside and out, but I don’t feel like they should have to make us have to go,” Redding said.

Many residents say instead of the company forcing them off this property, they say instead, they wish that the company would renovate vacant buildings like this one and move them in once the construction is complete.

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Along with a needed renovation, management says there’s also the issue of crime. Our cameras caught the sound of gun fire after a person opened fire at a nearby unit.

Cash strapped tenants say there must be another safe option toward improvement without having to move out.

“We don’t have places to go, we don’t have money,” Keys said.

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