ATQ: Paying rent for an apartment you can't live in? - WNEM TV 5

ATQ: Paying rent for an apartment you can't live in?

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(Source: WNEM) (Source: WNEM)
MIDLAND, MI (WNEM) -

More than a week has passed since fire forced more than 100 people from their homes.

It remains unclear when they can return, if at all, to their fire damaged apartments.

Apparently that's not stopping the Greenhill Apartments from trying to collect rent.

A number of displaced residents have contacted TV5 outraged over being required to pay for an apartment they can't occupy and may not be allowed to return to.

"It doesn't make sense," said Lila Martin, Greenhill tenant.

Martin just paid rent for a place she can't live in. She is one of the residents who was displaced by the fire.

"They say they have expenses, which of course they do have expenses. But I have expenses also," Martin said.

Martin's granddaughter Emily Ribble can't understand why her grandmother should have to pay rent.

"It just doesn't feel right. I don't see how somebody could do that to 100 plus people and not feel bad," Ribble said.

Martin was able to find a place to live at Bay City Comfort Care.

Co-owner Shahan Sikander said what Greenhill does is their business, but he said he wouldn't charge residents rent in the case of fire or other mishap.

"If we were to ever see a situation like this, I think it would be unfair to ask residents to pay rent when they're not even living in the building," Sikander said.

Greenhill Apartments is owned by Altman Management. They released a statement saying they understand the fire has put their tenants in a difficult situation and they are trying to assist them.

The company said residents not living in accommodations provided by Greenhill are not being asked to pay August rent. If tenants are living in any type of housing provided by Greenhill, August rent needs to be paid.

After TV5 contacted Altman Management about Martin's rent payment, they said she will get a refund for her August rent payment.

One question that remains unanswered is when she will be able to return home.

"I don't know how long it's going to take for my apartment to be restored. And it's upsetting to just not know," Martin said.

Altman Management said they are working with the Department of Housing and Urban Development to maintain tenants' affordable housing status and their ability to move back in once restoration is complete.

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