Residents take action against apartment complex after being forced from homes

Posted at 8:40 PM, Oct 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-24 03:07:27-04

VIRGINIA BEACH, VA. - Cardboard boxes packed with Gatorade and granola bars fill the hotel rooms of Waypoint at Lynnhaven tenants.

Ronnie Hawkins and his two daughters were forced there after Hurricane Matthew flooded their home.

"It’s rough. It’s very rough," Hawkins said.

But next Sunday, his family along with 80 others have to be out - with nowhere to go.

The apartment complex terminated their leases Friday because of asbestos found during the hurricane cleanup.

"They came in and took my walls out, pulled my carpet up. We stayed there three days before they told us we had to leave.”

Most residents refused to sign a waiver because it would release the property owner from any liability for damages.

Without a signed waiver, the tenants are not allowed to get their belongings.

"You need the waivers for your safety," Johvanny Torres, another tenant, said. "That’s the only thing they stated. But what about all the years later they’ve got to deal with. Who’s gonna cover all those medical bills if there is asbestos?”

Torres  is taking action spearheading an effort to get answers and assistance for his neighbors.
The biggest thing, tomorrow, is going down to where the court house is." There’s an opportunity for people to get vouchers, A lot of complexes don’t want us in their cause and they don’t want cross contamination," Torres said.

They are also planning to take legal action.

Hawkins say he hopes the city can step in to keep all of these families off the street.

"You can’t get rid of stuff I can’t replace. So we need an injunction tomorrow," Hawkins said.

The property’s owners say they are following protocol.

News 3 spoke with Councilwoman Shannon Kane.

She says the city is meeting Monday morning to figure out what they can do to help these families.