Officers Inspect Apartments for Code Violations

Following our coverage of tenants' complaints, code inspections are underway at a Little Rock apartment complex.
"Hey Tony, bathroom," he said to the officer holding a clipboard.

Little Rock Code Enforcement officers began inspecting Towne Oaks Apartments on Wednesday, making a list of the problems tenants have been showing us.

"I pointed out the major problems and things that needed fixed," said tenant Rosemary Uwobar. "I pointed out the mold, the mildew, the cabinets."

Uwobar said she's been playing the waiting game for someone to take her complaints seriously.

"I do wonder why it took so long. I still have questions," she said.

Carl Corbitt, another tenant, is hopeful this marks a turnaround in his home being taken care of by management. Corbitt and Uwobar both told us that the staff has been reduced to one maintenance worker and a part-time manager, with the office often closed. They also say complaints have appeared to fall on deaf ears regarding issues inside the apartment complex.

"I just hope they're not playing games," he said. "I hope something actually gets done."

Ron Goss is the president of RPM Management, the company that manages the property. Goss said that issues with maintenance and a small staff have resulted from financial troubles of the property owner who resides out of state. According to RPM, they were told by the owner that reductions in staff were necessary and that some maintenance would have to be deferred.

However, Goss said a former employee's accusations that work orders were never completed were untrue.

"Those work orders were never turned in," he said. "We went back and reviewed the work order books and they are not there. She never filled them out."

Goss added that the workflow for maintenance should be a complaint by a tenant is made to the in-office manager, who then fills-out a work order for the maintenance personnel to respond to in a timely manner. According to Goss, all on-site work, aside from excessively expensive repairs, are approved by the apartment's office manager and would not need central management's approval.

Goss also added that he was not aware of any complaints of mold being made to RPM within the last two years.

"About two years ago we had a tenant who complained about mold in the apartment," Goss said. "We brought someone in, had that tested, and it turned out it wasn't mold, but dirt."

Tenants living in Towne Oaks, like Uwobar and Corbitt, are simply happy to see someone taking a look behind what have always been closed doors.

"Now they see what the problems are, and hopefully they'll fix them," Uwobar said. "I was very glad to see them. Glad they're here."

The Code Enforcement inspections will continue through Thursday. The officers will then determine what, if any, code violations exist and give the apartment complex management and owners a timeline for fixing those issues.
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