By JILL SHERIDAN WFYI
Indianapolis landlords who refuse to pay water and energy bills face litigation through three separate lawsuits.
The city of Indianapolis, Citizens Energy and the Indiana Attorney General’s office each filed against landlords who manage three apartment properties across the city. The suits seek to make landlords pay for back utilities owed.
Tenants at these properties pay utilities through their rent agreement. Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett said the landlords’ failure to pay puts people at risk of losing housing.
“And if that unit as a residence has no water, the health department has no choice but to close it down,” Hogsett said.
The city seeks repayment of $850,000 it paid earlier this year to have utilities restored at one complex. Citizens Energy is owed $1.3 million.
The properties at Berkley Commons, Woods at Oak Crossing Apartment and Capital Place Apartments have other citations for negligence.
The state suit seeks to repeal nonprofit status for out-of-state owner JPC Charities; the group gets tax breaks with its status. Scott Barnhart, chief counsel and director of consumer protection in the Office of the Indiana Attorney General, said these owners have allowed apartments to fall into disrepair.
“We maintain that low income Hoosiers in these complexes have had their lives severely disrupted by the chaos of mismanagement,” Barnhart said.
JPC Charities sold Lakeside Pointe property in Nora earlier this year after years of complaints. The new owners have committed to performing significant repairs and resolving existing emergency health department cases.
Tenants who have experienced problems are encouraged to file a consumer complaint with the Attorney General’s office.
Contact WFYI city government and policy reporter Jill Sheridan at email@example.com. Follow on Twitter: @JillASheridan.